Ordinary People

An ordinary people… that’s what I am.

*WARNING: transparent post ahead*

Todd and I were talking this morning, about many things … well, about everything, really. It is one of my most favorite things to do… to just sit in the stillness of the morning and spend time with one another discussing life.

One of the things that has been on my mind lately is my little side hustle with Young Living. To be honest, I truly don’t like referring to it as ‘my side hustle’ because it has become a lifestyle for me. Actually, it’s not even a lifestyle but rather a large part of my life. I have incorporated this wellness lifestyle into my life journey so much so that it is just the ‘norm’ for me and my hubby.

Having said that, one of the thoughts that has plagued me recently is that there are so many ‘oilers’ I’m connect to or follow that are doing so well building their businesses, and it just seems effortless for them. (‘Seems’ being the key word.) Many are already well-known bloggers or influencers who already have such a large following that it appears to be so easy for them to reach so many people and be able to touch and educate a vast group about the benefits of these natural, 100% pure products. That is truly wonderful, seriously, because I feel that as many people as possible SHOULD be informed about these God-given remedies.

However, this is an area of discouragement for me because I can’t reach that many people. I feel like I am stuck in my own little IG community with an open door that leads to nowhere.

I am one person.

I don’t have a vast following.

I am not an influencer, per say.

I am a blogger (part-time) but I am not successful, per say.

Do you know what ‘per say’ means?

It means ‘by itself.’

I am not these things I mentioned above, per say, but with God, I am. Todd reminded me of that this morning.

When I mentioned my discouragement, he immediately responded without hesitation, “God used ordinary people to be His disciples and do great things.”

*drop the mic 🎤

Let’s face it… these successful bloggers and influencers that I speak of are most likely those ordinary people whom Todd spoke of that God is using for His glory!!

How quickly I have forgotten why I wear my mustard seed bracelet 24/7… I never take it off! (Purchased from Marianne at Gracefully Wrapped.) My ‘faith as a mustard seed’ should not be compartmentalized and practiced only in certain areas but it should consume every area of concern in my life.

No… I am not all these things, but with God, I am.

I am what HE calls me to be for such a time as this.

I absolutely CANNOT take my eyes off of Him for one minute, because when I do, I make it all about me.

It’s not about me but rather about the God I serve.

I am not… but I know ‘I Am.’

Thank you, Todd, for that reminder.

Go out today and be ordinary, but allow yourself to be open to God and do great things for His glory.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Passion in a Picture

He wanted me to ride out to the baseball field with him.

“But, of course I will!”

I couldn’t help but snap these pics of his silhouette as the sprays of water collided with the rays of sun, making for a very “My life in a square” moment, and one that was very quintessentially Todd!

This picture captures him to the core showing his passion, not in the throws of a heated battle nor in the excitement of a victorious win, but rather in the quiet stillness of a solemn golden hour.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” -Anthony J. D’Angelo

His passion runs deep.

He still continues to grow… because he is still excited about learning.

And he still makes my heart go puh, puh, puh…

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

It’s been a minute since I’ve had the time to sit down and blog, and boy, how I have missed it so!

Today’s struggle brings me here…. the Mother’s Day perfect gift.

Do you struggle as much as I do with knowing the perfect gift to give? I want my gifts to be thoughtful and to not only be something the receiver loves in the moment but will also know the thought and love behind it.

Well…I looked to Amazon to help me out, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite finds on here!  If I love these items, I thought you might too! And there is still time to get it in time for Mother’s Day, especially if you are an Amazon Prime member!  So let’s see how Amazon is going to help us out this Mother’s Day…

The Echo Dot — I thought this would be a nice thing to have!

  • Amazon’s most popular smart speaker, improved for richer and louder sound. 
  • Voice control your music – Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and others. You can also listen to audiobooks from Audible. 
  • Ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices, and more.
  • Connect with others – Call almost anyone hands-free. Instantly drop in on other rooms in your home or make an announcement to every room with a compatible Echo device.
  • Voice control your smart home – Turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more with compatible connected devices
  • More!


Ring Video Doorbell 2 with Echo Dot 
– I’ve wanted one of these for a while now!

  • This bundle contains the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and the Echo Dot (3rd Generation).
  • Works with Alexa to illuminate and send announcements to Echo devices when your doorbell is pressed or motion is detected. You can also see, hear, and talk to visitors through Echo Show or Echo Spot.
  • Get next-level security and convenience with the all-new Video Doorbell 2. Armed with motion-activated alerts, 1080HD video and two-way talk, Ring lets you watch over your home and answer the door from anywhere. Day or night, rain or shine – you’re always home.
  • Monitor your property in HD video, and check-in on your home at anytime with Live View on-demand video and audio.
  • Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device with a small built-in speaker. Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly.

Isn’t this the neatest little thing?? And it’s much less expensive than I would have thought it would be!

 

Olive / Avocado Oil Sprayer

Mistro Brushed Aluminum Olive Oil Sprayer –  Okay….this may seem like a strange gift, but I saw this the other day and thought it was genius!  One thing I’ve been trying to do is eliminate as many toxins from my life as possible, and those non-stick sprays that you can buy at your local grocery are FULL of chemicals! Those chemicals get on your food and then you ingest them!  This sprayer is exactly what I need!

  • MISTO is a reusable oil spray and mister bottle that gives you the convenience and health benefits of typical aerosol sprayers but in a more healthy, economical and environmental way
  • Fill MISTO with your favorite oils, vinegars, lemon and lime juice and other liquids. Great for dressing salads, breads, or cooking
  • Easy-to-use pump style cap features a 2-step operation: simply pump the container, then and press the valve on the pressurized sprayer for an even mist
  • Environmentally friendly, the non-aerosol sprayer doesn’t use chemical propellants, and it’s refillable, so no more throwing cans away to end up in landfills.
  • MISTO is BPA-free – threading the cap on incorrectly allows air to escape and in turn does not allow the bottle to build up pressure to spray

This is PERFECT for EVERY kitchen!

 

Lifaith Microfiber Makeup Remover Cloths
Lifaith Microfiber Cloths

Lifaith Microfiber Makeup Remover Cloths – Every girl needs one of these in their life!  I do not own this exact one, but I remove my makeup with a microfiber cloth every night, and it is AWESOME!  Removing your makeup is almost effortless, especially when using the Young Living Mirah Cleansing Oil.

 

 

 

 

Mirah Cleaning Oil

Young Living Mirah Cleansing Oil – This cleansing oil is another good gift choice! I have used nothing else to remove my makeup every single night for the last couple of months! It leaves your skin much more moisturized than using regular makeup removers, and it is non-toxic and great for your skin! (If you order, use enroller/sponsor #16228899).

 

hair bands for washing face  Sweet Super Soft Caroset Wash Cosmetic Headband

For when she is washing her face with  the Mirah Cleansing Oil and needs to keep her hair dry, or when she is putting on her makeup in the morning, or if she just wants to keep her hair off her face … this is perfect! I use mine daily!

Anne Klein has a TON of gorgeous watches for women that are so affordable, you might could even grab two!  Here is a list of just a few of my favorites that I found (and saved on my wish list for future reference for myself!)

Can you tell I’m drawn to the same color tones?  They are just so pretty!!

This is a great bag for any mom, as we all know that every mom, no matter if you are a mom of littles or a mom of biggies, needs a carry-all bag that fits all the extras in there for the whole fam!   (snacks, kleenex, lotion, brush, dental floss, etc. etc.) Ammiright??

Personalized Charm Necklace – Perfect for moms of new littles, older littles or even biggies… this perfect charm necklace will hold the names of her children close to her heart.

Does the mom in your life love the farmhouse decor like I do? Here are a few ideas to help her add to her farmhouse collection!

Farmhouse wreathBoxwood Wreath

Rustic Wall SconcesRustic Wall Sconces

Crazy family pillowLittle Bit of Crazy, Lot of Love Pillow

Farmhouse Tin Plants CanFarmhouse Tin Plants Can

Farmhouse Striped Kitchen Towels Striped Kitchen Towels

Artificial Lavender Plant Artificial Lavender Plant

Buffalo Checkers Plaid Cotton Linen Pillow Buffalo Checkers Plaid Cotton Linen Pillow

3-Tier Galvanized Serving Tray3-Tier Galvanized Serving Tray

Farmhouse scaleAntiqued Farmhouse Scale

Distressed Metal ChairsDistressed Metal Chairs

Vintage Floral Wood PlaqueVintage Botanical Wood Plaque

Well… there are few ideas, and especially for the farmhouse decor lover like me!

I hope this might give you even a little bit of help in the little bit of time we have left until that special day!!

Blessings,

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A.S.A.P.

I got a very late start to my quiet time this morning.

I hate that!

It makes my day ‘off’ for the rest of the day. Anybody feelin me??

The thing is…hubby is out of town, and I don’t sleep very well when he is gone. It was almost 2:30 before my mind would allow me to settle in for the night, and only after I rubbed myself down with Lavender and Stress Away.

I would have grabbed those oils earlier but, truthfully, I didn’t want to. I’m a scaredy cat when he is gone and I imagine all kinds of noises and burglars and fires and all kinds of crazy stuff that could happen, and I wanted to be awake should any of it happen so I could RUN!! lol

Ludicrous, I know. 😑🤦🏻‍♀️

But as my mind was running 100 miles an hour this morning thinking of the million things I had to do, I walked by this tiny wooden plaque that was gifted to me reminding me that there is ALWAYS time to stop and pray.

I will not rush through my quiet time, and I will savor it.

It is THE most important priority of EVERY day.

Afterwards, I’ll prioritize my list making sure to tackle the most important first and leave the rest for another day.

I’m glad hubby was only gone one day, but had he not, the little plaque that stopped my thoughts reminded me that “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

Fear is a liar.

And I shall not be afraid.

Now… on to diffusing some Frankincense and Lavendar as I soak up God’s word!

Sixteen Years…

16 years ago, on January 7, my Mom went to her eternal home.
Oh, how I miss her, but oh, how happy am I for her to be where she is!
 
I penned a little poem in her memory… just simple little questions that I’ve often asked her in my mind, and longings that never die.
—-
Sixteen years in heaven…
what does that feel like, mama?
Does it look or smell any different there;
Is it pretty with a sweet aroma?
 
Sixteen years with Jesus…
Were you greeted with embrace?
Does He look you in the eye,
Does He talk to you face to face?
 
Is there a chair for you to sit in…
Or do you float upon a cloud?
Does music play nonstop?
Is it soft, or is it loud?
 
Do you tell Him all about us…
The ones you left on earth?
Your friends and your dear sweetheart,
and of those you’ve given birth?
 
Sixteen years without you
seems to be a long, long time.
I miss all things about you…
your laugh, your love, your time.
 
Time, they’ve said over and o’er,
Should help to ease the pain.
That may be true, alas,
but it’s more loss to me than gain.
 
But, Oh, how I would not call you down
from the life of bliss you’re in
To ease my life of selfishness
just to have you back again.
 
I’ll see you once again, dear mom,
and our other loved ones too
Who share that side of heaven…
all those we’ve bid adieu.
 
I’ll keep your legacy alive
by doing what you’ve taught.
And teach your words on down the line
and doing what I aught
 
By seeking God in everything,
to trust Him and obey.
And when I’ve finished my final race,
I’ll see you again someday.

A Little Bit of Mustard Goes A Long Way

I pxfgvqatjsfvipybkfrzwas reminded this morning that a little bit of mustard goes a long way.  Just a Lil dab ‘il do ya!  Now, I love mustard, A LOT, and I can use quite a bit on a hot dog or a burger and never miss a beat — it’s soooo good! But have you ever just put mustard on your food of choice and it ends up getting everywhere unnoticed?!?

 

Our staff prepared lunch for our church members one day this week – burgers and hot dogs – and as I was eating mine, it seemed like the mustard just multiplied like the bread and the fish!!  I mean….it was oozing out the side of my sandwich, was all over my fingers – on both hands, mind you – was on the palms of my hands, it covered my napkin – front and back – and STILL had the promise of landing in places I wouldn’t find until later that day!  I love mustard, but puh-lease!! Somehow it always seems to find a way to multiply!

Yes…mustard does seem to multiply, but I’m not actually talking about the kind you spread on your food.

Mustard seedAs much as this is the case for yellow mustard, so is the case for the simple mustard seed.  I wasn’t just blowing smoke when I said I was reminded this morning that a little mustard goes a long way.

 

My Bible reading this morning took me back to the lunch this week and reinforced the promise that a little mustard (seed) goes a long way.

IMG_4157-03-11-18-10-10This is just one of the Bibles I use during my quiet time, and it has been my favorite for years. You may not can tell, but the Bible cover is basically what is holding it together. It is the New Century Version with devotions by Max Lucado.

As I picked it up to read out of Matthew this morning, I found Matthew 17:20 underlined with a name and a date written beside it.

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This took me back to February 2007 when we were praying for a dear lady who was every bit on the brink of death, but the faith of those who steadily prayed for her on this tough journey was enough for God to let us know that He still had plans for her on this earth! Praise God, she is alive and well today and a daily walking testimony of His healing!

Jesus began this verse in Matthew by saying “Your faith is too small,” but in verse 17 above it, he says “You people have no faith…how long must I be patient with you?”

Did you get that? —>>  “...NO faith…”

He then continues in verse 20 by saying that “if your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. All things will be possible for you.”

I’m no theologian, but my take on this scripture that claims ‘your faith is too small’ means ‘you have no faith at all’!  If all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed, as small as it is, then having too little faith means we don’t have any faith at all.

Why don’t we trust God more?

I’m guilty as charged.

There are many things in which I’ve been trusting God for a while now, and there will continue to be those things that only He can make come to fruition. After all, it is Him who is in ultimate control, but I confess that my faith waivers at times. When things don’t happen soon enough, I tend to let my flesh take over and fail to be “… joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” as we are commanded to do in Romans 12:12.  Allowing your flesh to take over is dangerous, for then you are not working in God’s power but your own…and you have no power.  This can only end up one way:  disastrous.

About a year ago, I purchased a couple of items from Marianne at ‘Gracefully Wrapped‘, a site that I happened upon around that time on Instagram.  I made the purchase, a mustard seed necklace, for a friend who found out that there were multiple complications with her unborn child.  I bought it for her as a reminder that we would be praying for her child and her family during this difficult season of life.  I am a visual person, so I bought that to serve as a visual reminder to give her a bit of hope every time she looked at it.  I am happy to say that a year later, this little miracle is at home and doing well.  She still has to be under 24/7 medical care, but the fact that she is home with her family is nothing short of a miracle!  And, might I add, she is the most precious, adorable little miracle … with a face that brightens any room and a smile like a cup of sunshine!  We are praising God for what He has done in her life and the testimony she is speaking on a daily basis without even saying a word!

While I was making the purchase for my friend, I decided that I could always use a visual reminder for myself as well.  My item of choice was this mustard seed bracelet.

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I wanted something that I could see every moment of the day…not just when I put it around my neck.  I know the item itself has no powers at all, of course, but mine has served as a daily reminder of that little piece of faith that is required to please God, for ‘without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I use this bracelet DAILY as this specific reminder and have found it very useful in grounding me for the moment and bringing me back to God’s promise that all things are possible with Him.

I never take this bracelet off.  I even shower with it on, but I don’t suggest that for everyone! (haha)  I do put coconut oil on it afterward to help keep it conditioned, but I keep anticipating the day it will fall off my arm! Hopefully, Marianne will have plenty in stock for me to replace it!  I love Marianne’s products so much, I’d like to put in a little plug for her Gracefully Wrapped Etsy shop.  It isn’t just her products I love so much, I love what she stands for and her sweet, gentle spirit, and you can see that in every piece she makes.

So, with the help of Marianne and her mustard seed bracelet, I am reminded every day that I must have faith in God for those things which I petition in prayer daily.

Whether it be yellow mustard or a mustard seed … it doesn’t take much.

A little mustard goes a long way.

Do you find your faith waivers when it seems like an answer isn’t in the near future?

For what are you trusting God in your life today?

Blessings to you today,

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Purpose over Profit

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” 

Proverbs 31:8-9

I mentioned last week about being a part of a teaching on Wednesday nights at church called ‘Counter Culture’ by David Platt.

This past week was a teaching/discussion on ‘human life’ which covered abortion, sex trafficking and the like.  Todd, my husband, facilitates the class so he is reading more material than that required of the participants.

After viewing the video and reading the material covered in this particular session, he was overwhelmed at the statistics and facts he discovered, especially in regards to sex trafficking.  Not only was he overwhelmed at the statistics, but his heart was breaking for those children who were made slaves to this devastating practice.  I can’t remember the statistics, but most of the children made slaves to trafficking are around the age of 9 years old. This fact alone, not to mention all the other ugly details, was one of those things that was so devastating to Todd.  He is a PE teacher for classes Pre-K through 4th grade. His 3rd graders are around this age. To imagine this kind of debauchery forced upon these innocent children was just too much to bear.

Right before class on the evening of this particular lesson on human life, I was going through some Young Living materials.  If you know me, then you already know I’ve recently fallen in love with essential oils and Young Living is the brand I chose.  I chose YL based on the longevity of their company as well as the purity of their oils and their ‘seed to seal’ promise.  In reading this material, however, I found even more reasons to love Young Living. The Young Living Foundation provides “wellness and education opportunities to underserved communities” through seven different projects, one of which is the ‘Hope for Justice’ project.  The mission of ‘Hope for Justice’ is “to end human trafficking and slavery, in our generation.”

Now, I do not think it is a coincidence that I found this material on the same night that we were to discuss this very issue, and this is just one more reason to love Young Living even more.

I try to do as much research as I can when taking a plunge as big as the one I took when I became a part of the Young Living family of essential oils.  I felt as though I did enough research to justify choosing Young Living over other reputable companies, but having learned of their projects to help empower underserved communities has now made me even more sure of my decision.

Of course, anyone who is in business HAS to make a profit in order to survive, but Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, says this: “I don’t make a product for a profit, I make it for a purpose.”

Young Living - purpose over profit
photo shared from onebreathatathyme.com

Dory from onebreathatathyme.com breaks down the YLF purpose beautifully by giving insight to each of its projects.  Click here to read not only about the YLF purpose but also her backstory leading her passion for it as well.

I’ve shared one of my favorite Bible verses with you before, but I deem it fitting to share it again now:

  ” … he who waters will himself be watered.”

(Proverbs 11:25)

Pic for 'Purpose over Profit' blogIf you’ve been interested in essential oils but aren’t quite sure about pulling the trigger at this point, click here to learn more about them.  You can also ask me any questions and I will help you any way I can.  If I don’t know the answer, I will find out!

If you know you are ready to get started with essential oils, click here!

 

Blessings to you today,

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You Are Not Alone

How is your life going lately?

Have you taken a look around you and noticed how the lives of others are going?

So many times I get so caught up in my own schedules, my own agenda, my own wants and desires that are, what I feel, in line with God’s desire for my life. But even those desires that seem to be in line with God can become idols if not balanced properly.

Over the past few weeks, I have taken a step back, removed myself, and have just taken a good look around. There are people all around me going through their own story of heartbreak, health setbacks, disappointment, discouragement, feelings of hopelessness and despair, and even unspoken needs… the list goes on and on.

Friends, I am a bit overwhelmed when I truly sit down and think about the many needs all around me.

It makes me reevaluate my priorities in prayer and snaps me out of my tunnel vision of self. I pray for my family every day, and I pray that my life represents my God in every way and in every aspect of this life here on earth, but I get so caught up in that one desire that I feel, at times, it becomes ‘the thing’ rather than having intentional awareness for the needs of others.

I’ve said it before, there is no greater gift we can give someone than the gift of prayer. We may say “It’s the least I can do” when actually, it’s the BEST we can do.

There is no feeling quite like interceding on another’s behalf. It is a feeling that cannot be explained. When you pray for others, your desires don’t seem so dire. Although my desires for myself and my family are not wrong in any way when in alignment with God’s word, I know those desires can become idols when they become the sole thing on which I focus.

Take the time today to just notice those around you. Turn on your awareness radar and just take note of how many people you know are hurting or are going through a thing. Then, just take a moment to lift them up in prayer.

If you are awakened in the middle of the night and a person’s face comes to mind, that’s your cue to say a prayer for that person. Even if you don’t know what to pray, just pray however the Holy Spirit leads.

There is power in prayer. And let me attest to the fact that if you keep a journal of your prayer requests, you will be blown away at how God works in your life and in the lives of those you pray for over the years. It is a great way to help nurture your faith and trust in God, and it will remind you that you are never alone.

If you ask for prayer, please know that I will be praying for you.  You are not alone.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

You Are Not Alone

 

Focus

I have a habit of starting a book before I’ve finished reading my most current selection, leaving me to read multiple books at one time.  I’m not exactly sure why I do that; it’s not that I get bored, it’s just what I do and have always done. I do admit that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to think of all of my unfinished ‘projects’, but nonetheless, I still have this way about me.  I have found myself in the middle of 3 or more books before, and notice a new book on the market that looks really good, and I think to myself “I HAVE to have that book!”  Do I feel like I’m gonna ‘miss the boat’ on something good if I don’t get it right away?  Truthfully, sometimes I do feel that way.  Maybe I have a little attention deficit disorder,  I don’t really know, but I DO know this:  #1) I just love books, specifically those that help nurture and deepen my relationship with Christ, and  #2) My time to read is very limited. These both are definitely contributing factors to this little habit of mine.  So, I would say it’s just a good thing I haven’t ordered any new books in over a year!
This morning I picked up a reading I’d put down for a while called ‘Momentum’ by  Colin Smith. I reread the last chapter I’d already completed in order to ‘get back in the swing of things’ and help reacquaint myself with that chapter so I can continue forward with ‘momentum’.  (Get it?  ha)
My reading today dealt with mercy and forgiveness with the scripture reading from Ephesians 4:30-32.
The title of this chapter is ‘I Care About Others: The Joy of Complete Forgiveness’.
You know, I’ve never thought of myself as one who is not willing to forgive, but introspection has found me guilty. It usually does, every time.  It’s not that I hold on to bitterness, per say, but rather hold on to the hurt.  Holding on to either one is dangerous, for both represent unforgiveness.
One thing about this book is that it is chock-full of richness, so much so that I usually read fractions of a chapter at a time, highlighting those areas that resonate with me and writing them in my journal along with my thoughts and revelations. Since there is no way I can convey all the goodness from this chapter in one sitting, the following are just mere fractionated adaptations of the gleanings I took from today’s reading:
Most people want to forgive, but some don’t know how to get there. If a great wrong has been done to you, you may feel that forgiveness is impossible. However desirable forgiveness might be, it towers over you like a mountain that you cannot climb.  In this chapter, we will explore how you can pursue mercy and forgiveness.  These twin virtues belong together, and it is important to understand the relationship between them:

Mercy is broader than forgiveness, but forgiveness goes further than mercy.”

The whole point of the Christian life is that the character of Jesus is reproduced in the lives of His people, and that means a community of brothers and sisters who have compassionate hearts and act for the good of others. This is central to our calling. What God requires of us is “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:8). That is why, to some leaders who misunderstood what God requires of us, Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice'” (Matthew 9:13).
 
Wow.  This really spoke to me.
When I think of the Christian life, I automatically think ‘sacrifice’:
– dying to self
– sacrificing for others
– sacrificing your time
– sacrificing everything you know (comfort, money, possessions, etc.) for the good of the Kingdom
Although sacrifice and dying to self IS a part of the Christian life, a very important part, mercy is greater.
I’ve never concentrated on these 6 words from Matthew before today: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”.  And just think about it…..if you master mercy in your life, then sacrifice comes easy.
Smith goes on to give us opportunities where mercy can be shown in our lives:
  1. When you cross paths with someone who has a material need (i.e. The Good Samaritan)
  2. When you encounter a fellow Christian who is struggling in his or her walk with God. (“When a brother or sister in Christ is plagued with unanswered questions, their greatest need is the kindness and compassion of a believing friend who will come alongside and strengthen them in their faith… Your usefulness to Christ will increase as you become more tender toward others and sensitive to the needs they bear.”)
  3. When someone fails in a way that might bring them shame and embarrassment. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8), and a merciful person will look for ways to spare the blushes of the one who has failed.
  4. When we encounter gossip. (“A merciful person will close his or her ears to anything that would diminish their view of someone else…”)
  5. Have reasonable expectations. (“Always remember that if you were carrying your brother’s burden or facing your sister’s temptation, you might struggle and fail more than they do.”)
  6. When someone hurts or wrongs you. (If you have been wounded by another person, don’t be surprised if, at some point, God puts you in a position where you have the opportunity to pay them back. If that happens, what you do at that moment will reveal a great deal to you.”)
  7. Presenting the gospel to someone who is not yet a believer in Christ.
This next segment was the most resonating to me:
Imagine standing next to a hurdle on a race track. You are right up against it, and you can’t jump over it from a standing position. You have to back up and take a run at the hurdle.
Think about this picture in relation to your spiritual life. It is easy to get focused on one sin or problem that you want to overcome. ‘How do I get over my fear? How can I prevail over this lust, etc.?’ There you are, standing right next to the hurdle, and you can’t move forward from that position. You have to begin further back. You have to take a run at it and get some momentum.
 
I’ve found that in trying to help a person who is struggling with one particular battle, it is important to look not only at the problem but also at their general spiritual health. Is this person regularly engaged in worship? Do they pray? Is there a pattern of regularly feeding on the Word of God?  Is this person part of a small group where they are able to walk with and encourage others?  Cultivating your general spiritual health will enable you to take a run at the hurdle and to overcome the particular battle that has become so troublesome for you.
 
EPHESIANS 4:30-32
 
Six strides that will get you to forgiveness are presented in these verses:
  1. Remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you
  2. Don’t dwell on the injury (My personal struggle)
  3. Don’t fight and quarrel
  4. Have compassion toward the one who has hurt you
  5. Realize that you will need the forgiveness of others (Absolutely! This is a GREAT reminder!)
  6. Savor your forgiveness in Christ
Even when a person has hurt you badly, and is completely unaware of what he or she has done, if you practice these six strides, you will be ready at any moment to forgive.  Forgiveness will be in your heart and you will be ready to place it in the hands of the one who has wronged you, whenever he or she is ready to receive the gift.
When hurtful times happen in my life, I pray my focus not be on the injury but rather on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent. May I be one who has the utmost of integrity and compassion for others, practicing mercy and forgiveness at all times, and may I be known for my gentleness. Most of all, may the love of Christ be shown in all ways and in all things.