No Dreams Tonight

A black blanket wraps itself around me
No hint of light
A starless night
The breeze carries a cold kiss
My eyes wide open
I see nothing
I hear nothing
No dreams tonight

This was me last night. Tired and exhausted but still could not sleep. This is a difficult time for me, because when alone and no one to talk to I find my mind likes to focus on the things that are either depressing, hopeless, painful, frustrating etc… You can’t exactly pick up the phone at 3 or 4 in them morning and call a friend just because you are not able to sleep. Well at least you shouldn’t. Just because I cannot sleep does not give me the right to keep another from it. Yet with my battle with depression and suicidal thoughts, the sleepless nights cause fear in me. I know I should not be afraid and should think upon more positive and life giving things. Yet As I lay awake and my mind refuses to shut down, it is the negative thoughts that I find overwhelming. I pray to God and ask Jesus for help but lately my prayers have lost their zeal. I know it is not God’s fault, and yes things haven’t been going well in the job hunt arena( I have officially unemployed for 6 months) and that is a lot of rejection to deal with but God has gotten me this far and I know I should not give up but right now I don’t feel like I have the strength to keep going. Yet to hope I will cling and not fight the sleepless night and face each day as it comes. Never give up, never surrender!

Self Portraits Bible Lesson

drowning

Self Portraits / Julie Sheppard

A lesson on how we view ourselves and how God in His Love and Word can transform us. How we see ourselves, and how others see us can be completely different. Then there is how God our Heavenly Father and our Creator sees us. How do these views reflect the other is what this is part of what this lesson teaches.

Taking a good luck at ourselves is not easy for most of us. We can look into a mirror and see our reflection but this is not all that we are. God created each one of us individually and He knows our hearts, our thoughts, and everything else about us. He created each of us with a purpose. We are beautifully and wonderfully made. Each one of us is His masterpiece. Most of us do not see this though. I admit that I do not see what God sees, but through this study, I hope we will have our eyes opened, and that we see who and what were created to be. We are His daughters. We are His chosen, and we are His bride.  Not forgetting the men, they are His too. But this study is especially for us women, because we do not usually see ourselves in the best light. It is time that we see ourselves in the Light of Jesus, which He shines favorably upon us.

The worlds view of women has taught us that we to fit a mold to be seen as beautiful. TV shows, movies, magazines, and fashion has reinforced this view into our own way of thinking. We are not only of putting each other’s down, we also put ourselves down. If a person doesn’t fit our view of what we think they should be or act, we often criticize gossip and make jokes at the others expense. We may be nice to their face, but slander them behind their back. Let us break this terrible behavior. We are called to love each other. The Word even tells us to go a step further, and to love our enemy! But how can we love, if we do not love ourselves? It is okay to love yourself, because God created us in His love, to be loved.

Now take the time and see who you are created to be. In the first part of this four part lesson, we will make a self portrait of ourselves. You do not have to be an artist to do this. This exercise is to be fun and an opportunity to be creative. This is not a pass or fail exercise. Paints, pens, pencils and crayons are usual art supplies, there is also pictures from magazines etc… that you can make a collage. This is an opportunity to show off your creativity, and to take a look at ourselves in a new way. When you have completed your portrait take some thought and think of a scripture(s) or a person in the Bible you can relate your portrait to. You can write as many scriptures as you would like. One thing if you want to get something more than an art lesson be honest with yourself as you do these lessons

Lesson two The second lesson is not going to be much different than the first lesson except this portrait will be one to portray how we think the world sees us as. We may say we do not care about what others think of us, but if we are honest with ourselves we do care. Sometimes this can cause  our view of ourselves to diminish. This can keep us from doing what God has called us to do, because we are afraid of being judged, this can also cause us to harshly judge others out of this fear. (Strike first) So this lesson is to get us beyond that fear of being judged and criticized. Once your portrait for this lesson is done, think of someone in the Bibles who makes you think of this portrait. Then ask yourself does their story reflect how you feel you are seen by others? Discuss with another if they see you as this portrait or not.

Lesson three The third part of our lesson is to do a portrait of one of your sisters. Names will be put into a bag and each one of us will pick a name from this bag. This is not an easy exercise, because of how we may feel that we are viewed.  Yet one rule to this lesson is we will not be tearing each other down. This is a lesson in how we can build each other up. To show your sister the beauty she may not see in herself.  Here we will also learn some truth about ourselves we didn’t know about before. This will also reinforce that we do not need to fear judgment and criticism. Just as in the previous lessons choose a scripture or person in the Bible who reflects this portrait of your sister. If you are not sure of what this portrait should look like pray and let God’s Holy Spirit guide you. You may even choose you scripture or biblical person first. Remember to build your sister up. Make sure to stay away from all things negative.  Remember the saying a picture can speak a thousand words? So let us watch our words. Speak LIFE! When you have completed this portrait and added the scriptures or person from the Bible present it to your sister. In this you will both be blessed. Discuss the reason for your choices in making this portrait.

Lesson four; The best lesson is for last. This portrait is how God our Father sees us. His view of us is so much better than what we see ourselves as.  It is time to see ourselves through His loving eyes. Allowing Him to open up our eyes to see the beauty of His creation. Now in this lesson you should have no trouble finding scriptures detailing how He sees us. Not only should this lesson help us to see the beauty in ourselves but in each other. Then we can learn to be more encouraging, lest critical, and to let go of our fears. Learning to see ourselves through His loving eyes. Now complete your last portrait. Once you are done let us discuss how has your view of yourself changed through these lessons? Do you see yourself as being loved? Do you see how beautiful you are? Do you see your value? Do you see how important you are?

If you choose to do this study please let me know. I would love to see your portraits  and read what you have learned and if there are any lessons you learned that you would share to help another.

Forgive me

My prayer.

For anyone I have hurt with my words or actions, I am sorry, please forgive me.

For anyone I have judged in anger I am sorry Please forgive me.

For anyone I tried to control, boss or try to manipulate to get my own way, I am sorry please forgive me

For those I did not help when I was able to I am sorry please forgive me.

For those I refused to listen to who needed to talk I am sorry please forgive me.

Father in Heaven I am sorry for every time I have withheld the love you gave me from another and refused to forgive, help me to forgive and please forgive me

For anyone I had not forgiven I am sorry I forgive you and hope you can forgive me. I ask God to bless you with His love and mercy.

 

Forgiveness is a two way street. You cannot expect of be forgiven if you are not willing to forgive. Jesus taught us that forgiveness is love. We need to be accountable for our own actions. My sin is not greater or less than any other persons. Our sins nailed Jesus to the cross. He paid the debt so we could be forgiven. So as we have been forgiven we need to forgive.

Where Do I Go From Here

My life has been like a river.
Breaking free from my mother”s womb,
I came into this world with a quite a splash.
At times the river was calm, smooth as glass, and crystal clear.
Yet once around the bend,
it became violent and out of control with rage.
I feel as if life”s rapids will drown me.
Its rough and icy grip pulls me deep into a watery hell.
No escape from the river”s rage.
Yet as quickly as the river had grabbed hold,
it released me into a body of water much larger than the river.
I feel myself tremble with fear of the unknown
yet still I proceed to float without effort for the moment.
Where do I go from here?
Unsure of the answer I take a breath and surrender myself
to this water of life and continue on this journey.

Do you listen?

When your children do not listen to you and disobey you do you get upset? Of course you do. I do not know of any parents that does not care when their child does something wrong. As a parent you have rules you expect your children to follow those rules. There are the things you want them to do, and the things you do not want them to do. When they break your rules you discipline them. So why is it that when God tells us to do something or not do something we like to argue with Him, or we go ahead and do the thing He has told us not to do? He is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children. As we want our children to listen to us we need to listen to God our Father and not argue with Him and do what we know pleases Him.
Exodus 20:12 ESV “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 7:1-3 ESV My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; (2) keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; (3) bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Psalms 112:1-2 ESV Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! (2) His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Cracked Pots Bible Study

God uses cracked pots / A study in imperfections made perfect
Julie Sheppard

To the world a cracked pot is useless. It is broken and has no purpose. If you were to pour water into it, the water would flow through the cracks. So we can ask how can God use a cracked pot? We look at ourselves and we become our own worst critique. We see all that is wrong. We look at our past and see all of our mistakes. Yet God sees more.
God uses our imperfections and makes us perfect because He is perfect.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
These 2 verses make me think that being a cracked pot is a good thing. Why? Because that I am cracked all that was wrong within me is released and poured out at the feet of my Savior Jesus. It also means that because I am empty He can use this broken vessel to let His love and grace flow not only into me but through me so that what He gives me pours into the lives of those I come in contact with.

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman Matthew 7:37-39Ref — Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8 7:41,42Ref — Mt 18:23-34
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,1 he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,a and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,2 but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss,3 but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head,4 but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”5
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;6 go in peace.”7

Here in Matthew you see a woman who had a poor reputation that humbles herself at the feet of Jesus. The tears pouring from her eyes cleansing the feet of Jesus.

Mark 14:3-9
3 And being * in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat , there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenarda very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said , Why * was this waste of the ointment made ?
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6 And Jesus said , Let her alone ; why trouble ye * her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8 She hath done what she * could : she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever * this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she * hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark writes that she broke the box of oil and poured it on the head of Jesus.
Both scriptures mention being poured, but do you see the importance of the box being broken?
It took breaking the box to release the oil it contained.
Now for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He lives in us. It is His Light that shines through us. So He uses our imperfections to shine His Light of love through us to reach others who are lost and broken.

Can you think of ways that God uses your flaws to do something for His good?Cracked Pot

No Problems Here

No Problems Here
No loud neighbors
No bills to pay
No more worries
I am in no hurry
No problems here
No I am not cold
No more growing old
No problems here
No tears to shed
No hiding in my bed
Nothing to fear
No problems here
For I am dead
The earth my
Final bed
No problems here

© By sheppaja On 6/13/2009 4:02:24 PM