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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on May 13, 2017, 08:38:03 pm »
Friday, January 20, 2017   

When the Answer is No
Vaneetha Rendall Risner

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”  - Proverbs 3:5

Jesus finally relinquishes his will to God’s. When denied his desire, Jesus accepts the decision completely. He stumbles to his execution without murmur or complaint.  This kind of relinquishment isn’t easy for me. When I keep God at a distance, I can stay detached, without expectations. But if I draw near to him, even when I truly believe he can change the situation, I may nevertheless start to clutch at the outcome I want. I might verbalize “Your will be done,” but I’m white-knuckling my own will. God often has to pry my fingers off my desired outcome. I’ve often been devastated when he tells me no, but as I submit to his will in those situations even with disappointment and tears he assures me he’s working for my good.  I see only part of the picture. He has a purpose in his denials.  The Father said no to the Son. And that no brought about the greatest good in all of history. God is not capricious. If he says no to our requests, he has a reason perhaps 10,000. We may never know the reasons in this life, but one day we’ll see them all. For now, we must trust that his refusals are always his mercies to us.  And now as we wait, still struggling to make sense of the storms in our lives, let us pray as our Savior did. Let us draw near to God, believe he can change our situation, boldly ask him for what we need, and submit our will to his.  Our Father’s plans are always perfect. They will always be for our good and his glory.
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Faith / 11 Ways to Inspire and Encourage Your Spouse
« Last post by Philippa on May 13, 2017, 08:31:11 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/relationships/11-ways-to-inspire-and-encourage-your-spouse.html

11 Ways to Inspire and Encourage Your Spouse
2017 Jan 19

Have you ever noticed your spouse struggle with something and you couldn’t find the words to encourage them no matter how you tried?

Sometimes the close connections we have in our marriages prevent us from being intentional about how we hold each other up. We take our spouses needs and desires for granted. Sometimes we think we won’t be taken seriously when we try to encourage them, or they’ll never take our advice until someone else tells them the same thing.  These should not stop us from fulfilling our responsibilities to each other; to uplift, encourage and inspire one another.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 says “Two people are better than one, for they can help each other succeed.” New Living Translation

This is such a beautiful picture of our roles as husbands and wives helping each other succeed.  Here are 11 simple ways you can begin to do that for your spouse today.

1. Pay Attention to Their Dreams and Aspirations

Do you know your spouse’s deepest desires?

Besides wanting the best for your family and loving you above all else, do you know what other things are tugging at their heartstrings?

You stand a better chance of helping them succeed when you know what they’re aiming for. Why not find out today?

2. Follow Their Progress on The Things That Matter to Them

If they can’t stop talking about that project at work or the new idea they want to pursue, it’s time you paid attention. Ask them what they need, how far they’ve gone and how you can help. Showing them you’re interested in their world will inspire them to go for their best.

3. Encourage Them with Words

Sometimes we take for granted how much impact our words can have on our loved ones. We let moments pass that could inspire and uplift them in ways we may not understand. The next time you look at your spouse and think what a brave, conscientious man he is, tell him. Let your wife know she’s a great mom and a thoroughbred professional. I’ll bet the next time she faces a challenging project; she’ll tackle it with as much enthusiasm as anyone can have because your words fueled her confidence.

4. Support Them with Time and Space When It Matters

Sometimes giving our spouses the time and space they need is enough to show them how much we want them to succeed. We live in a complex world. There are demands on our time both at home and out there. Giving each other that opportunity to be what we have to be is an excellent way to inspire.

5. Pray for Them

Prayer is our greatest weapon. Pray for your spouse whether they can hear you or not. They’ve been times when my husband walked out of the house in low spirits and came back bursting at the seams with joy. What happened? 

I covered him in prayer with an earnest heart and prayed for the Lord to intervene in his day. Prayer works.

6. Pray with Them

Praying together draws spouses closer. It’s a three cord strand that cannot be broken. It’s you, your spouse and a loving God who knows who you are and what you need. There’s no better way to strengthen your relationship.

7. Don’t Belittle/Gloss Over Their Pain

Your spouse’s problems may seem little or their fears unfounded but don’t be tempted to wave them off. This does not mean that you should call a pity party; find the balance. Acknowledge the issue on hand then pray for the right words to encourage them to let go of their fear and hand it over to the Lord. Iron sharpens iron.

8. Be A Sounding Board

Be available. Can your spouse truth you with their ideas and insights no matter how simple they may be?

Listen, examine and analyze their thoughts with them, not just for them. Sometimes all we need is someone to recognize the dream in us, especially when we can’t see it in ourselves.

9. Help Them Keep Track of Their Goals in A Non-Threatening Manner

Does your spouse have goals or resolutions they are struggling to meet?

Don’t be the nagging voice reminding them of what a bad job they’re doing. Find a gentle and loving way to inspire them to action and also keep them accountable.

10. Celebrate All Successes, Major or Minor

Celebrate their wins even when they don’t think it’s a big deal. Small wins keep us energized and enthusiastic. Inspire your spouse to reach higher in everything they do.

11. Be Real and Authentic. Practice What You Preach

Nothing causes discouragement and disillusionment than someone who encourages you to do something they’ll never try. If you’re inspiring your spouse to be better at work, at home, and in their faith, make sure you’re actively doing the same. Together you can reach for all God has prepared for you.
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on May 13, 2017, 08:22:35 pm »
Monday, January 23, 2017   

His Creation
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  - Ephesians 2:8–10

I used to love it when my kids created something how they stood, back erect, reciting their stories or sharing their masterpieces. There is beauty in the way they reveled in their creation.  Just like my kids (and maybe just like you), I rejoice in what I create. It’s an inbred trait, imparted when God breathed life into us. He is creative and his children are too. We enjoy showing off what we’ve made.  So is it any surprise that God is proud of his creation us?

That he looks from heaven, happy that he fashioned us just so?

We are his works of art, sent to a world that is dying and needy and artless. God rejoices over us and celebrates his creation.  It’s also important to remember that your worth is not based on what you create. Instead, the work you do on this earth is the direct result of your worth found in the God who created you. Not only that, but the Spirit of the living God has adopted you into his family through the finished work of Jesus Christ. You are God’s child, dearly loved, fully settled in your worth. Just as parents are proud of their children, God is proud of you.
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on May 13, 2017, 06:32:46 pm »
Tuesday, January 24, 2017   

Chosen Anyway
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”  - 1 Corinthians 1:27–28

My father was a literary genius, and that genius ultimately led to his demise. At ten years old, I didn’t know how to sort through the abandonment, bewilderment, or the loneliness that came with an enigmatic father’s death. Adolescence came sooner than I knew how to cope, so my journals became my confidant, the place I shared my angst and how desperately I wanted to take my life.  I’m grateful Jesus read those journals of a girl hell bent on leaving earth. I’m grateful that he chose to reveal himself to me in the tenth grade. My writing, after meeting Jesus, reflected something my words reflect today: complete bewilderment that Jesus would pursue the likes of me.  I resonate with today’s passage. I was unwise, weak, despised. But God chose me anyway and he chooses you, too. He transformed me from a fatherless girl who felt utterly worthless into a woman whose soul felt its worth. When I think of how close I came to death, to giving in to my unsettling upbringing, to becoming someone I didn't want to become, I shudder. Any beauty, joy, healing, anything worthy tucked deep inside me is the handiwork of God Almighty the true genius in my life, my good Father.  I am thankful I'm no genius. But in a strange way, I feel something of beauty coming out of the ashes of my father's death. In a way, I represent the redemption of his writing. By God's grace, I've become a word artist for the sake of helping others understand the God who chooses us, and that has made all the difference.
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Faith / Words of Encouragement for Men 45 Powerful Affirmation and Support
« Last post by Philippa on April 26, 2017, 05:59:15 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/relationships/words-of-encouragement-for-men-powerful-affirmation-and-support.html

Words of Encouragement for Men 45 Powerful Affirmation and Support
iBelieve Contributors
2017 Jan 23

“Words spoken at the right time are like gold apples in silver settings”. Proverbs 25:11. 

You have the power to change someone’s day and outlook on life simply by offering encouraging words that lift spirits! If you have men in your life who are facing hard times such as a job layoff, overcoming grief, faced with depression or sickness, or simply want to speak life into every day, these words of encouragement will bring hope and joy!  The following quotes, Bible passages, and short words of affirmation can be used daily to remind others (and yourself!) of the full life God wants us to enjoy. It’s our hope that you would boldly use these words in notecards, on post-its or by text to inspire your husband, father, son or friend and to remind them of who God has created them to be!

25 Encouraging Words of Affirmation for Men

    I am so proud of who you are.
    Thank you for loving me, even when I’m not that loveable.
    I love you more today than any day before.
    I can’t wait to experience the rest of life with you.
    Your decisions, hard work, and loving heart make me so proud to be your wife.
    You understand me more than anyone. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you.
    I can’t wait till you get home from work!
    I missed you so much today!
    How can I make you feel more loved?
    How can I try to understand you better?
    I’m praying for you today. You’ve got this!
    I feel so safe with your protection.
    I will always respect and honor you.
    I can’t wait to tell my friends how you helped me!
    You provide so much for us.
    You arms are the only place I want to be.
    You can always make me laugh. I’m so happy I have you!
    You can trust me.
    If that’s where you want to lead us, I will follow your decision.
    I love knowing that you want me.
    I only want you.
    I love doing projects together. Hard work and laughter is the best with you!
    I admire your integrity and I know others do too.
    I still have moments where I am speechlessly thankful for our marriage.
    I know we don’t always see eye to eye, but it’s reassuring to know we are always on the same team.

Encouraging Quotes for Men

1. “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up.” - Anne Lamott

2. “What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” - Rick Warren

3. “True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God's fidelity to His Promises.” - Francis Chan

4. “Jesus gives us hope because He keeps us company, has a vision and knows the way we should go.” - Max Lucado

5. “Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” - Corrie ten Boom

6. “If you can’t fly, then run, If you can’t run, then walk, If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

7. “Continuous effort not strength nor intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.” - Winston Churchill

8. “Remember, A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.” – Unbroken Movie

9. “I mean, any fool can have courage. But honor, that’s the real reason you do something or you don’t. Its’ who you are and maybe who you want to be.” - The Blind Side Movie

10. “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham

Isaiah 40:31 - “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Joshua 1:9 - “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 - “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

James 1:2-4 - "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Ephesians 6:11-18 - "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

1 Peter 5:5-7 - “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Mark 10:45 - “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Micah 6:8 - “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 - “This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight."
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on April 26, 2017, 05:51:57 pm »
Tuesday, January 24, 2017   

Chosen Anyway
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”  - 1 Corinthians 1:27–28

My father was a literary genius, and that genius ultimately led to his demise. At ten years old, I didn’t know how to sort through the abandonment, bewilderment, or the loneliness that came with an enigmatic father’s death. Adolescence came sooner than I knew how to cope, so my journals became my confidant, the place I shared my angst and how desperately I wanted to take my life.  I’m grateful Jesus read those journals of a girl hell bent on leaving earth. I’m grateful that he chose to reveal himself to me in the tenth grade. My writing, after meeting Jesus, reflected something my words reflect today: complete bewilderment that Jesus would pursue the likes of me.  I resonate with today’s passage. I was unwise, weak, despised. But God chose me anyway and he chooses you, too. He transformed me from a fatherless girl who felt utterly worthless into a woman whose soul felt its worth. When I think of how close I came to death, to giving in to my unsettling upbringing, to becoming someone I didn't want to become, I shudder. Any beauty, joy, healing, anything worthy tucked deep inside me is the handiwork of God Almighty the true genius in my life, my good Father.  I am thankful I'm no genius. But in a strange way, I feel something of beauty coming out of the ashes of my father's death. In a way, I represent the redemption of his writing. By God's grace, I've become a word artist for the sake of helping others understand the God who chooses us, and that has made all the difference.
7
Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on April 26, 2017, 05:45:59 pm »
Monday, January 23, 2017   

His Creation
Mary DeMuth

Today’s Verse Powered by the New Living Translation
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  - Ephesians 2:8–10

I used to love it when my kids created something how they stood, back erect, reciting their stories or sharing their masterpieces. There is beauty in the way they reveled in their creation.  Just like my kids (and maybe just like you), I rejoice in what I create. It’s an inbred trait, imparted when God breathed life into us. He is creative and his children are too. We enjoy showing off what we’ve made.  So is it any surprise that God is proud of his creation us?

That he looks from heaven, happy that he fashioned us just so?

We are his works of art, sent to a world that is dying and needy and artless. God rejoices over us and celebrates his creation.  It’s also important to remember that your worth is not based on what you create. Instead, the work you do on this earth is the direct result of your worth found in the God who created you. Not only that, but the Spirit of the living God has adopted you into his family through the finished work of Jesus Christ. You are God’s child, dearly loved, fully settled in your worth. Just as parents are proud of their children, God is proud of you.
8
England / Education Secretary unveils plans to change adoption law
« Last post by Philippa on April 12, 2017, 12:22:33 pm »
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/education-secretary-unveils-plans-to-change-adoption-law

Education Secretary unveils plans to change adoption law

From:  Department for Education and The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP
Part of:  Looked-after children and adoption
First published:  14 January 2016

Important and urgent changes in legislation will mean courts and councils always pursue adoption when it’s in a child’s interest.  A fundamental change to the law will make prioritising lifelong stability for vulnerable children with a loving family a legal requirement, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has confirmed today (14 January 2016).  Over the last 2 years, the number of decisions for adoption made by courts and councils has fallen by around 50% - almost half. The government has issued important guidance to make clear that where adoption is in the best interests of the child, they must be placed with their new family as soon as possible.  In November, the Prime Minister announced a radical step change to increase the number of children adopted including the news that the government was considering changing the adoption law to make sure the right decisions are being made as well as plans to boost regional adoption agencies, allowing councils to merge and cutting the amount of time children spend in care.  Today, the government can confirm that it will seek to change legislation as soon as possible to make crystal clear that councils and courts must place children with the person best able to care for them right up until their 18th birthday rather than with carers who can’t provide the support they need over the long term.  The move is part of delivering on government’s commitment to extend opportunity to everyone and make sure every single child gets the best start in life.  Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "Every single day a child spends waiting in care is a further delay to a life full of love and stability  and this simply isn’t good enough. We have a responsibility to transform the lives of our most vulnerable children, making sure they get the opportunities they deserve.  That’s why we are changing the law on adoption to make sure decisions rightly prioritise children’s long term stability and happiness, so that children are placed with their new family as quickly as possible, helping them fulfil their potential and get the very best start in life."

This follows concerns that life long stability and high quality care that adoptive families can bring is not always given sufficient weight by councils and courts when they make decisions about where children should live sometimes focusing on just who can support the child in the short term.  For the first time ever, the law will explicitly state that councils and courts must prioritise the quality of reparative care the child will need in order to recover from episodes of devastating abuse and neglect, and whether the placement will last through the child’s adolescence.  Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, who grew up with 90 fostered brothers and sisters including 2 adopted siblings, said: "Every child deserves a loving home and the chance to thrive, and I have seen first hand the benefits adoption can provide, where it is in a young person’s best interests.  Where adoption is in the best interests of the child, we must make sure they are matched quickly with carers who are right for them those who can provide love and care for a vulnerable young person until their 18th birthday and into adulthood."

Increased government funding totalling £200 million will also be made available redoubling efforts to break down bureaucratic barriers in the adoption system which can lead to children waiting in care for months longer than necessary.

The money will:
- see the speeding up of adoptions of harder to place children
- support the creation of new regional adoption agencies to improve the recruitment of adopters and the matching with children
- strengthen voluntary adoption agencies
- ensure social workers have the right knowledge and skills to make robust decisions about the best placements for children

In addition, the government’s successful Adoption Support Fund will be extended for the next 4 years, so adoptive families can access funding for crucial therapy services from day one of caring for their child, rather than waiting months for the adoption order to be finalised.  Today’s announcement builds on a direct intervention by the Prime Minister at the end of last year, where he announced new measures to increase the number of children adopted and speed up the process so children are found the right homes sooner.  The government has also announced plans to change regulations so councils have to carry out more thorough assessments of special guardians to make sure children are in the right home and with the right relatives, rather than distant family members they’ve never met.

Notes to editors

The government will invest £200m over this Parliament to:
- support the development of new regional adoption agencies and strengthen voluntary adoption agencies to improve and accelerate recruitment, matching and adoption support
- increase the number of adoptions for harder to place children by continuing to pay the ‘inter agency fee’ the fee charged by local authorities and adoption agencies when placing a child with a family from another agency with over 300 children placed as a result of the scheme in the last 3 months
-  increase funding for the Adoption Support Fund every year, including widening scope so families can receive support from the moment children are placed with them, rather than having to wait until the adoption order is finalised
- develop the workforce to ensure all social workers have the skills and knowledge to make swift and robust decisions about the best placements for children that meet their short and long term needs

    Read more about the regional adoption agencies programme.
    Read more about the Adoption Support Fund.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk 020 7783 8300

General enquiries 0370 000 2288
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on April 12, 2017, 11:39:18 am »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/the-spiritual-fixer-upper-girlfriends-in-god-january-12-2017.html

January 12, 2017
The Spiritual Fixer-Upper
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I promised myself that I would never buy a house that was a “fixer upper.” I don’t like fixing things. I want everything to be fixed before I move in. But there I was buying a town house that needed so much work even the realtor couldn’t believe my husband and I wanted to buy it. Why didn’t someone stop me?

No one did, so the sale was made and we went to work. Actually, my son and husband went to work while I went crazy.  I had no idea how horrible the process of remodeling could be. Layer after layer of dirt, grime, stains and ugliness was stripped away. Rotten kitchen cabinets were torn from the walls and rusty appliances were replaced. We basically gutted the whole place and rebuilt it while living in it. I was not happy!  I will never forget the day I woke up to see a toilet sitting at the foot of our bed. That was the moment I resolved to never set foot in another house that required so much work. I am so thankful God does not feel that way about me.  Honestly, I often wonder why God doesn’t just demolish the old me and build a new one. Then He did just that through a two year battle with clinical depression. While sitting at the bottom of that dark and slimy pit, the Father lovingly stripped away old fears and insecurities. From the walls of my heart, He tore the rotten attitudes, undisciplined thoughts and unholy desires that had walked me to the edge of my pit then pushed me in. He replaced rusty old dreams with new ones and basically gutted my life to build a new one, a better one, and a stronger one. Part of that new life was forgiveness. God taught me how to forgive myself so I could then forgive others.  Because forgiveness is so important, it only stands to reason there are roadblocks that can hinder our willingness to forgive. We must make the commitment to identify and remove each one.

Selfishness

Selfishness shouts, “I have been hurt. It is so unfair. I have rights!”

What I am really saying is that how I feel about the hurt is more important than forgiving the hurt.

Pride

Pride cries, “Look at what they have done to me. Don’t they realize who I am?”

To receive or give forgiveness requires humility.

Low self-esteem

Some of us have built an entire identity around a hurt. The attention we gain from the wrong we have suffered defines who we are. We cherish the pain and refuse to relinquish it for the sake of forgiveness.

Blindness

We may be blind to the fact that we have not forgiven a hurt. We have convinced ourselves that we really have forgiven the one who hurt us by going through the motions and saying the right words without really dealing with the pain. All we have done is dig a hole and bury the pain. As long as hurt is buried alive, it will keep resurrecting itself in our life, but when the hurt is dealt with and forgiveness is given, the pain is buried dead and it stays dead.

Pain

Forgiveness is spiritual surgery. It exposes old hurts that have never completely healed. We can move, change jobs, change churches, change friends or even change families, but until we yank up the root of bitterness and kill it with forgiveness, we will live with unresolved pain.

Ignorance

Maybe we don’t know how to forgive someone because are under the impression that forgiveness is an emotion or feeling. True forgiveness is a choice a deliberate choice to release the person who has hurt us from the pain they have caused. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us.   

We need to identify and eliminate the roadblocks to forgiveness so God can set us free, heal our pain, and make us more like Him. Now that is a remodeling job I would welcome.
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Philippa on March 26, 2017, 11:05:07 pm »
http://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-january-2-2017.html

January 2, 2017
Sweet Mercy
Logan Wolfram

Today’s Truth

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him’ (Lamentations 3:22-24).

Friend to Friend

So we did sort of a crazy thing recently. You know though when sometimes the crazy thing somehow feels like it just might be the most right and necessary thing?

In our home we have been in the thick of some intentional and hard parenting lately. We had to clear a bedroom of all its contents twice in a week. One of our boys in particular has thrown some pretty nuclear fits here lately, and this momma is slap worn out! And even though my husband and I have thankfully been on the same page with it all, it can still be so easy to get worn out and defeated.  We have sought wise counsel, begun reading some good books, and prayed, and cried, and ALL. THE. THINGS.  After one particularly hard day though, the very next morning the Lord gave us new mercies as He is so graciously in the habit of doing! (Lamentations 3:23) We decided that some one on one quality time was in order to be hyper intentional with loving on our little guy and reaching his heart.  We spent family time together in the morning and then my husband and I split up to each take a boy on a date. I got our littlest because we agreed he needed alone time with me the most. After grabbing a burger and meandering through a bookstore, we were on our way home to play Legos. In an effort to avoid holiday traffic, we went a back way home and came to a stop sign right across the street from the Humane Society.  "Hey, wanna go pet puppies?" I asked him, thinking he would say no since he was pretty focused on the Lego plan, but instead I got an enthusiastic YES!

In we went. We held every puppy there and were happily leaving when my tender-hearted little fella suddenly said "Let's go see the grown up dogs, they probably need love since no one wants them."

Because our agenda was his for the deciding, we turned around and went to the adult dog section. The loud barking and jumping dogs in a row of kennels set my heart racing into the fat burn zone on my Fitbit, but we started at one end and made our way down the long row. Just as we reached the end, we looked down to see a sweet little white dog with brown spots on her face and a pink nose just sitting there not barking or jumping. As soon as my son went over to her kennel she rubbed up against his hand and began to lick him. He stayed there squatted down and petting her for probably five minutes or so. There was something about her and something about him with her.  "Ok let's go" I said after awhile.

"Mom, we should take her outside so she can get some fresh air and she doesn't have anyone to pet on her, and she is so sweet."

Of course you know now what we did.  The moment we went outside, this little dog crawled into my son’s lap and didn’t move for no less than 20 minutes. After awhile, a family with three kids came out and pointed at this cuddly little white dog curled up on my boy. "If you're adopting today please consider her. She is super sweet," I said as I motioned the mother to take the leash.

My son looked at me and reluctantly let them lead her away to play. He wouldn't leave though. He kept watching her and she kept walking back towards him. "You guys need this dog,” I said in an effort to convince the other mom. “We already have 2 dogs and hadn’t planned on another one until our old one passes on.”

Hudson looked up at me and fat tears welled up behind the frames of his glasses. "Whatcha thinking Buddy?" I asked.

"I'm afraid they will want her, but I feel like she is supposed to be my dog and I just feel really super sad about that."

He was calm but sad. No fit, no frustration, no entitlement or trying to get his way like we’d been dealing with before just sure and sad.  The other mom handed him back the leash and said, "Oh, we just started looking and have a lot to do before we get a dog this will be our first one ever. Besides, for some reason I think maybe she is supposed to be yours."

Something in my spirit said she was right. It was as if the heart of the Father for my son was being exhibited to him in this snuggly little dog. I called my husband, who brought our other son to meet her, and all the while this little dog followed Hudson and sat in his lap and licked his face.  “Lord, I wasn't planning this today! But it feels like it has your hand all over it.”

I prayed in my heart as I watched my kids with the dog. I didn't want another puppy to train, and while Hudson has been asking for a "little snuggly dog" for probably a year, this wasn’t the plan for now.  We couldn’t ignore the fact that this dog was 7 months old, already sits on command, is maybe 15 pounds, and white with brown spots. She was kind of everything we all wanted eventually. His timing is so often different than ours though.  "Well, we need to find a new name," I told my son.

He didn't even pause to think about it. My normally contemplative kid just had a name immediately. "Her name is Sugar mom because she is white like sugar and also super sweet."

And that was that. We brought her home. And I keep having this feeling that something about this little dog is just what this little boy might need. Something in my heart keeps saying that this part of this particular day was about new mercies for all of us and seeing the Lord loving us all in the ways only He knows.  So maybe we aren't so crazy. I'd like to think maybe we are just learning to look and listen to what the Lord could have even in the unexpected and unplanned pieces of life.  Perhaps when the Lord says that His mercies are new each morning, He means that His methods are too if we will be open enough to see them.
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