Beautiful!

The concept of beauty has been in my mind for a while now. What our world sees as beauty and what it promotes as beauty is not necessarily beautiful. Women are bombarded all the time to look the part: young, fit, sexy. There is pressure to look a certain way and it hurts women everywhere from all ages. My daughter told me not long ago that one of her little friends at school told her she is fat because she has a little tummy! She is adorable and she is only 6! She is not fat at all but in her little mind that word is playing now time after time. She keeps looking at herself in the mirror and my heart aches when I think she may not like what she sees. This beauty that the world longs for is ugly. It hurts people and it robs them of their self-esteem.

This beauty for show is not what the Bible teaches. From the beginning God created man and women in His image.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

How wonderful and liberating is that? To know we were made in God’s image! Of course we forget that and we listen to what the world tells us all the time about our appearance and that is yet another consequence of a fallen world. A world that rejects God and His love. We do not have to listen to that – as Christian women we must stand firm and tell other women, our daughters, granddaughters, sisters, mothers, cousins that what God is after is a heart that loves Him.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

We all know that no matter how much we avoid it or try to delay the appearance of old age, for most of us it will come. Our body shape will change and wrinkles will appear. What will be left? Will we be feeling sad when it happens or will we be rejoicing because of the many years God has given us and the wonderful things we have seen and done for His glory? Will we be spending our years trying to impress other people or gain their attention because of the way we look or will we be seeking the Lord with all our hearts and fill our lives with things that are pleasing to Him?

My heart desires to see my daughter living her life to the full, for God, Knowing she was made perfect in His image and that beauty, true beauty, is in seeking His face and worshipping Him. My prayer is that I can be a good example for her and teach her how much God loves her and what a beautiful person she is!

God bless.

P.S.: I do not have anything against women looking after themselves. I have written another post called Mirror, Mirror on the wall you might like to read.

https://thingsoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall/

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One million pounds!

“What would you do if you had one million pounds?” That was the question my friend asked me while we waited for our children in the school playground a few days ago. We were chatting about financial difficulties and she asked me that and proceeded to tell me what she would do with the money. I must confess it was not hard to answer that question. I found myself saying: I would buy a house up front, perhaps a new car, some clothes for all the family, a nice holiday, a boat for my husband, a pony for the children (maybe one each), and I went on and on. I did not even realize that by the time I finished I had spent all the money and some more!

As I drove home all those things kept playing in my mind. I found myself thinking: if only I had those things, life would be so much better! We would have no worries and we would be happy. The more I thought about it the more convinced I was those things would definitely be the solution to all our problems!

What is wrong with this picture you might be wondering! I had let the desire for material things take hold of my heart! When that happened, I took my eyes off God and His faithfulness. I stopped thanking Him for what He gives us everyday. I began to think that those things would be the end of my problems and would make me happy! We do not own a house or a new car. We cannot afford to go on a nice holiday, have a boat or ponies. What we do have is much more valuable than that! We have Jesus. We have His forgiveness and His love. In His great mercy He keeps us healthy and helps us everyday with what we need. God gave my husband and I the love we have for each other and He gave us two beautiful and healthy children.  We have been married for 10 years and are very happy! What more could one want?

When we are busy occupying our minds with the desire for more material things, it is very easy to forget that God, in His grace and mercy, gives us everything and we forget to praise Him. God knows our needs and He promised we would lack nothing.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 not to worry about material things but to seek His kingdom.

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?28 ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

May God help me be thankful for what He has given me. May I always trust in His promise!

God bless!

Happy New Year!

I have been thinking about the New Year and how we are encouraged by the media to make our New Year’s resolutions. Some people will decide to stop smoking, or drinking. Some will decide to loose some weight. Some will decide to spend more time with their family and not so much time at work. These are all good things! I just wonder how often we are encouraged to look back and thank God for the year that is just ending?!  I like to look back and see how God was present in every moment of the year that is about to finish. How blessed are those who put their trust in Him and can find comfort and peace in Him!

Off course I think about 2014 and think of things I would like to do differently, but I guess, the most import thing I wish for the New Year is to know Jesus better and walk closer to Him. I know if that happens, I will be a better wife, a better mummy, a better friend, a better colleague a better wittiness and over all a better person.

As the year draws to an end my prayer for all of us is that God would surround us with His love and help us all to seek Him more and trust Him more with our lives.

Happy New Year! God bless!

The Christmas story – in the beginning

Most people think that the Christmas story begins with the Angel Gabriel telling Mary she had been favoured by God to carry in her womb the Son of God. Then people very often recognise the events that happen between that moment and the actual birth of the Child, as we are all too familiar with the Nativity scenes that so many try to portray, either by performing them or illustrating them.

The story does not begin like that at all. It begins like all true stories do: in the beginning! That is right. Jesus was there in the beginning – He is the Creator. The Bible tells in John 1:1-4:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

Also in Colossians 1:15-17:

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

In Genesis 1:26 we read:

Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”

In the above verse Let us make mankind in our image… God is using the pronouns in the plural (we and our) because Jesus was there, present during the entire creation of the worlds and the universe.

That is where we first see Jesus – in the beginning. In fact He is present throughout the whole history of the greatest rescue plan ever.  The womb was necessary so God in his amazing, infinite love would be made one of us and the manger was just a place to rest that night, while He waited silently to fulfill what had been decided before time began.

Will you look at Jesus this Christmas as a little fragile, dependant, powerless baby or will you worship Him as the Creator?

God bless.

Finding encouragement

Have you ever felt discouraged? Have you ever lost your motivation? Have you ever felt so tired that you don’t want to do anything and don’t really care about it either? I have had a few days like that recently. I felt like every day was a huge struggle. Life is just too busy at the moment!

Last week when I was putting a few things away I found a little shoe box in the bottom of my wardrobe! It was like finding a treasure! I set down on the floor like an excited little kid that had been given all the Christmas presents she had put on her list! The box was just an old brown shoe box, nothing special about it, except the word letters written on it!

I opened it and saw the envelopes there and immediately a smile was drawn on my face! Those were the letters I received from dear friends encouraging me to keep on going when I first moved to this country nearly 11 years ago. I was having a difficult time adjusting to the culture and I missed my family terribly! I picked one letter from the pile and started reading it! It brought tears to my eyes as I read the verses my friend wrote so beautifully:

‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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.’ Joshua 1:7-9

And she wrote: “don’t get distracted with things that are taking your attention away from the Cross. Be brave! God is with you always! He has a purpose for you there – trust and throw yourself in His arms!”

God is amazing! He knew I needed encouragement there and then! What an amazing thing it is to know that my God will always be with me and has commanded me to be strong and courageous! It was almost as if God himself was telling me to focus my eyes on Him!

I am also very thankful for how HE used my dear friends that so graciously have encouraged me then and how He uses His word to encourage me time and time again.

God bless!

Rainbows!

We went on holiday to a beautiful part of England – Cumbria – during the October half term. Wow! Breath taking views and friendly people everywhere! We really enjoyed ourselves. One of the things we did, despite the weather, was walk up some hills and while we did that we saw big rainbows and small ones, double rainbows, half rainbows and full ones! It was amazing! We also saw rainbows from the boat when we were exploring lake Windermere! (Photo above)

All the time while we were admiring the arch painted beautifully in the sky we were also being reminded of God’s love and his promises!

After God told Noah to build the ark and take the animals and his family in He closed the doors and His judgement came down on his creation as a big flood. When God told Noah it was safe to leave the ark HE made a promise – a new covenant with all living creature. This is what the Bible tells us in Genesis 9:8-17:

“8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you – the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ 12 And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.’ 17 So God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.’”

How amazing is that! In his unfailing, never stopping love God put a sign in the sky to remind Himself of the covenant He made with his creation! We had plenty of opportunities to talk about Noah, his faithfulness to God, his obedience, his faith and trust in God. We spoke about the sin in the world that made people turn away time and time again from God. We talked about how God  decided to make his world clean and He rescued/saved Noah and his family and all the animals. It was really amazing to have so many opportunities to teach our children about God’s love.

It is the season of rainbows now! Well, there is plenty of rain around and some days we might get a little glimpse of the sun, so, when you next see a rainbow, why not tell the person next to you about God’s promises and his love?

God bless.

Learning every day!

Have you ever felt sorry for yourself? Or maybe you were just having one of those days when every little thing seems so big and nothing seems to be right?! Well, I have had many of those lately. I think perhaps I have lost my focus. Somewhere, somehow I have stopped putting my thoughts, my hopes, my entire being into Jesus’s hands and started worrying too much about everything else that is going on around me.

I was checking my Facebook and on my news feed page there was a post from a friend. It hit me right on the heart! My friend is fighting cancer at the moment and God is still using this amazing teacher/preacher to inspire me to put all my trust in HIM. God moves in mysterious ways!

So, I have copied below what I read on his post. May it be an encouragement to you!

God bless.

During my hospital meditations I remembered William Cowper’s masterpiece. Let me share it with you.

 

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

In His grace and grip