Appearances Don’t Matter… It’s All About Your Heart!

Many of us worry a bit too much about our appearance… and many of us make judgements and conclusions based on another’s. Sometimes these assumptions are right, but this shouldn’t cause us to treat others any differently than we ourselves would want to be treated.

Sometimes in the Bible you will find a passage that stands out. A cluster of verses that reach out, grab your heart, convict it, squeeze it, and cause you to think about how you are. A passage that forces you to look at your life and how you behave… and challenge
you to see things differently. Through this God speaks directly to your heart. This is one of those:

James 2:1-4
“My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and find clothes comes to your meeting, and a poor man in ragged clothes also comes. If you show more respect to the well dressed man and say to him “Have this best seat here,” but sake of the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet,” then you are guilty of creating distinctions among yourselves and of making judgments based on evil motives.”

May we each stop judging each other and start loving each other no matter what we look like: poor or rich, fat or thin, gay or straight, homely or pretty, smart or simple-minded, acceptable or questionable.

Our hearts were created to love one another as God loves each and every one of us. Our hearts and how we love others are what truly matter to God.

❤️Ann
20140716-231835-83915262.jpg

The Glory of Good-Enough

I am not consistently witty nor well-spoken. I struggle with plucking out the best words to use to get my thoughts across in conversation and on the computer screen. Instead, I am stuck with writing things the best I can to produce an essay or a blog post that expresses my thoughts good-enough. I am not being humble, I’m just keeping it real.

Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m doing just fine! I will continue to type away my hearts content for all who care to pause and read. I’m good-enough, and being good-enough will do.

I just have to be good-enough to get my message out. I just have to be good-enough to hold someone’s attention momentarily until my thoughts are shared. I just have to be good-enough to resonate with one the one person God has intended me to touch.

I don’t have to be great… and neither do you. Well, unless of course it is God’s will for us to be. Yes, if that is the case I am convinced He would provide us with the talent and resources for greatness… and that actually there is very little we can do on own to obtain it, besides giving a good effort and hoping it was indeed: good-enough.

Sure we can obsess and work hard and sacrifice time, food, sleep, and relationships chasing greatness just to find it wasn’t in the plan… His Plan, the whole time. Greatness is truly an earthy treasure, and holds little value in God’s heart.

Yes, I believe for some of us God may pave our way to greatness, if with our greatness we will touch the people God intends us to.

The accomplishment of greatness is nothing more that the affirmation from the world that we are valuable. With God we don’t need the world’s affirmation! With God we just need to be where He calls us to be… where we can share His message of Love to all who cross our path!

All God asks is that we try our personal best and that will be good-enough for Him:

Anything more is a waste of energy.

Anything less we are settling for less in life than God desires for us.

The satisfaction of knowing I am playing my part in this play of life is all I need. Being good-enough is indeed good-enough for me… as being good-enough is good-enough for God.

So for today I will not strive for greatness, I will rest in good-enough and enjoy the glory to God that being good-enough can bring!

❤️Ann ‘Not Just A Blonde’

20140718-230526-83126841.jpg

Worrying Steals…

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it steals today’s peace! Worrying is just not a helpful thing to do! Worry keeps us stuck in our fears. It forces us to focus on the negative possibilities and blinds us. Worry keeps us fixated on our problems so much that we aren’t able to see what we CAN do. Worry blocks us from embracing the solutions that are often right in front of us!

Let’s say goodbye to worry and welcome in the Peace that God has promised would be ours if we accept it.
❤️Ann

20140720-090446-32686231.jpg
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)~ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-27 (New International
Version)~
“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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Psalm 55:22 NIV~”Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.”

Matthew 6:34 New American Standard Bible~ “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s Never Too Late To Turn Around!

No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, it’s never too late to turn around! Stop for a moment and look around… is this the place God desires for you to be? You will know in your heart if you have strayed off the path God has laid out for you!

Do not worry, do not fret if you have stumbled into darkness! God has sent you a Savior to Light your path! He sends you angels to reach out their hands to walk with you if you but choose to join them!

Our God does not force us to follow His path, yet is ALWAYS there to guide us if we are brave enough to turn around and look towards Him.

❤️Ann ‘Not Just A Blonde’

20140719-141454-51294157.jpgJohn 8:12(NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (New Living Translation) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.”

We Need More Compassion

We need more compassion in our world and in our lives. When we hurt along with others who are hurting, we are connected to them through their suffering. This connection is a pathway for love.

We are able to grow more compassionate by getting outside of ourselves and suffering alongside those who suffer. It’s this ability to imagine what could comfort another that allows us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Compassion is the catalyst for empathy. Empathy is the catalyst for knowing how to best love others as we ourselves would want to be loved. It is how we are able to imagine another’s needs and how to best give them love.

Compassion converts empathy into acts of love and kindness. Love in action heals broken hearts and broken people… and in time a broken World.

To bring more love into our world and into our lives we need to cultivate more compassion. Compassion is one of love’s most important ingredients!

❤️Ann 'Not Just A Blonde'

20140703-235912-86352179.jpg
Mark 12:31 (New Living Translation)
“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

We Each Have Immense Power

We each have the immense power within us to encourage and uplift or to discourage and destroy.

It doesn’t take much to lift up another: eye-contact with a nod, a sincere “thanks”, an “I’m glad you’re here!”… a simple smile. Sometimes it’s the little things we do that are the most meaningful of all!

By offering someone a drink when they are thirsty, handing them a blanket when they are cold, a word of encouragement when they are down… we are using our power, God’s power as it flows through us, to make this world, OUR world, a place of healing, of happiness and of love.

All it takes to uplift another is a little bit of love.
❤️Ann ‘Not Just A Blonde’

20140706-003900-2340198.jpg

A Sin For Me Is Not (Necessarily) A Sin For You

When I was a teen I was not sure I was willing to give my life to God because of all I feared God would ask me to give up! The sins listed in the Bible (particularly in Leviticus, and in the New Testament by Paul) seemed impossible to avoid… and sometimes the “sins” as interpreted by those in the church seemed too much to even consider giving up!

No dancing? What?!
No “secular” music? Boring!
No Rated-R movies? Whatever!

The church I attended at the time transformed the Bible into an impossible rule book of do’s and don’ts! Depending in what you DID you were either IN or OUT. Saved or Backsliding. Good or Bad. Right or Wrong.

Seriously, a sin was a sin was a sin… and a sin for one was a sin for ALL.

I felt constantly felt guilty and anxious, worrying about what “sin” I might commit on any given day! I even stopped wearing mini-skirts, lest I tempt boy into lusting me. It didn’t matter that it was the late 1980’s and high-waisted above the knee minis were the rage. If I wore one… BAM! Sinner.

I have since that time woken up! Sin has now taken it’s rightful place in my walk of Faith. No longer do I believe sin can be categorized, contained or defined. Our actions are secondary to our beliefs and our focus on God.

When we align ourselves with God and are faithful to His voice we will automatically step away from sin. With each action, each thought and each moment it is best not to ask : How am I to try and stop sinning? But instead: How am I to best start following my God, loving my neighbor, and forgiving my enemies?

I have come to realize avoiding sinful behavior isn’t about following religious rules but is about being true to myself and what brings me closer to God.

My list of temptations and sins will likely be much different than yours! What I struggle with may not lead you into temptation… yet it may be all wrong for me! Yet, what is wrong for me may indeed be just fine for you! What you do or don’t do and what you consider a sin or not is totally between you and the Big Guy.

Judge not people! Seriously. Just because you cannot have a beer or two with dinner without overindulging doesn’t mean they can’t. If someone is behaving in a way that doesn’t hurt them or another… let it go!

The behaviors of unbelievers should be even less of our concern… especially if nobody is being hurt. Unbelievers aren’t inspired nor saved through condemnation… but through compassion and through love!

Seriously, why do we Christians think we have the right to judge and dictate how everyone lives their lives? God has got them ALL in His hands and doesn’t need our help convicting others in the error of their ways!

Yet, sin is real and is often a problem we need to face! And face it we must, but after we realize what sin IS and what it is NOT.

First off, sin is any behavior, thought or belief that separates us from God and from the life He has called us to live. He has planted in each of us the seed of our souls greatest potential! When we choose anything other than His perfect plan we are sinning. Sin is individual and personal… just like our relationship with God.

Instead of worrying about sin and fretting over what we should or shouldn’t do we need to focus on God and on our relationship with Him and the people in our lives. Let’s stop worrying if what we are doing is wrong according to others and start listening to God as He speaks to our heart.

Yes, the Bible offers us insights into how we can connect with God and live the life we are destined to live. Many “sins” of Biblical times no longer complicate our spiritual walk like it may have back then. We have new stumbling blocks of sin in these modern times however that we struggle with… distraction with technology, materialism, greed, pornography, exploitation of children, and gluttony, just to name a few!

God wants what is best for us! He encourages each of us to let go of those things.. those “sins” that are keeling us away from Him and our best life. He wants us to live a life in peace and filled with love!

By placing our eyes on God and intentionally walking on the path He has laid out for us we will draw closer to Him and the sins that we struggle with will fade away. Letting go of our sins and seeking God isn’t about giving something up… it is about gaining a life more wonderful than we could ever dream!

❤️Ann ‘Not Just A Blonde’

20140628-162710-59230071.jpg
Romans 8