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Gretchen healing heart - Page 2 Empty Re: Gretchen healing heart

Post  Admin on Mon 29 Dec 2014 - 16:09

HeartTruths Blog] Disqualifyed?

Did the grammatical error get your attention? It should be spelled 'Disqualified&# 39;.

Did my typo disqualify my blog entry for today?

Why not?

Because when we are in step with God, or surrendered fully to His LORDship (authority) over our lives, our oops moments can be used by Him to touch many with His love and mercy.

We all make mistakes, but do we disqualify ourselves from God's plan because of those oops moments?

Or, do we consider the mitigating circumstances surrounding our mistakes, then share the wisdom we've learned from all of it so to make
a positive difference for others?

Suppose we are unduly (and unwittingly) influenced by someone who portrays themselves as a friend, but in reality they are
hiding in their hearts a negativity we could never imagine. That negativity drives them even if their appearance seems innocent,
or even helpful.

We need to trust The Holy Spirit to 'quicken&# 39; us by discernment. He will alert us to signs that He sees, and that we do not, 
that reflect the hidden 'roots&# 39; or 'thorns&# 39; within someone' s heart when they are not a positive influence for us.

If we do make wrong decisions based on their influence, we need to spend some quality time with God by reading His Word
and ask for His wisdom (James 1) to understand the situation, before we merely disqualify ourselves from things or people that God
intends to be part of our lives, then trust God (Proverbs 3) to work things out.

When God intends us for relationships or ministries, He knows best. And He doesn't disqualify us for His gifts and calling 
are irrevocable (given not rescinded). We don't promote ourselves to high places (titles, jobs) but instead we let God open doors
for us. If He's given you a promise that seemed doomed because of your mistakes, think again. His promise is still in effect.
He will work things out, is working things out, has worked things out. Trust Him and keep moving toward that promise in
full reliance that God is continuing to keep that door open, and hearts open, to you.

Don't disqualify yourself based upon mistakes made. Those to whom God's called you will understand, even to knowing
already that you were unduly influenced and their encouragement will not be rescinded. They get it, and will never reject.
God doesn't reject. They've learned this from Him.

Trust God. Despite circumstances. Let Him lead you to what He's planned for you.

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Wed 24 Dec 2014 - 21:34

HeartTruths Blog] In The Busyness...

Shopping! Families! Food! Office parties! More shopping! More food! Get togethers! Family 'sings&# 39;!

There are so many festive events occurring this month and early next month! The calendars seem overflowing with entries!

Yet...

Some haven't many, or any, events to attend.

They might go through the motions in their workplaces or places of worship but in reality, they haven't anyone with whom to spend theholidays. Loss of a loved one, or a separation of some kind, the loneliness can wreak havoc for many in a society that portrays 'real' celebrations as 'families&# 39; or groups. And in those groups are many simulated smiles with a mask of forced or contrived happiness. 

Behind the many smiles are many lonely, broken hearts. Even in crowds those hearts are aching, missing someone, missing real friendship and loving kindness.

Some families are small, some are large. Some are biological, some are just loving people with a common focus. Some families are separated by distance, finances, or unresolved conflicts or misunderstandings. Sometimes being 'singular&# 39; is more peaceful than being 'plural&# 39;.

For me, my family is separated, largely because of finances. One of my brothers is six hours' drive north, our father is twenty hours' drive north - all we have is each other. Another brother has his own family. My mother's relatives are 6 hours' drive south. So, it is my mother and I celebrating Christ's birth simply. We'll have roast turkey and stuffing (my organic recipe) and, though we have very varied interests, find something to enjoy together on the television or we'll play the piano. She'll be missing her husband, gone these three years, and I'll find someway to make the season bright....likely with reindeer antlers!!!! :-)

Please, consider or remember that many beautiful souls are broken hearted this season. If you see them, make their holidays bright by reflecting in action the love of God
that gave us Christ. If not able to discern the broken hearted, sharing kindness with all will touch hearts.

And let that generosity of heart carry on through the year - that's how the love of God works! Kindness, mercy, compassion, understanding, acts of love...it all
makes a difference that shows God's heart.

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Dec 2014 - 20:41

[HeartTruths Blog] Wisdom in Youth

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an 
example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and 
in purity" 1 Timothy 4 NASB

Trust God with all you have, and then some, if things seem impossible for God's in the reconciliation
business!!

Many of our youth struggle to find themselves due to all of the distractions and so called necessities that
our culture deems important or relevant. Yet, so very often, youth have a sense of purpose or direction
that they'd like to pursue if only they'd have support from adults around them. Note: be an encourager
to the youth or others so that they can be where they want to be if a productive and noble direction.

Do you recall when you were in middle school, or junior high? Had you an idea of something interesting
that you'd like to investigate as a possible career or educational objective?

I remember that, for me, my junior high years were powerfully important for me. I'd had a strengthening
relationship with God, started teaching Sunday school at my Baptist church, knew I wanted to teach
in some form as an adult, loved art (and was very creative) and photography, and simply wasn't
interested in many of the silly pursuits that some other young people found entertaining. I wanted my 

education and it was important to me. And, as I mentioned to a good friend, I was just 'born old', had a strong sense of logic or common sense built into me from early on. I even had one of those spiritual epiphanies (part one was the summer of '73, when knew I wanted to be a spiritual leader/encourager and wanted a life partner with the same interest; part two was 3 years later when in prayer I gave my life to God and He seemed to seal the deal, inferring that a person I'd met in '73 at a Christian conference center would have a continuing significant role in my life).

Have you ever had one of those epiphanies with God? Where He'd given you a goal, promise or direction that
was effectively written on your heart so that you wouldn't forget it? And at times He continued to remind you
of it though your life seemed to go in the other direction despite your best intentions or abilities?

That's what a promise of God is, and often it can begin in our youth. It's God's wisdom, a sense of
understanding that connects us to Him in a deeply moving way.

And though life may interfere with the promise, it keeps coming back and we can see just how God
wants it for us. It just doesn't go away but gets stronger, the more we spend time with God about it.

Don't ever give up on those God moments! Especially if they are written on your heart and more so if
it started in your youth. God has a way of 'giving us the desires of our hearts' (Psalm 37) that isn't
a materialistic thing but a direction or goal sort of thing. It means He does have 'plans for us, to
prosper us, to give us hope and a future' (Jeremiah 29) but not necessarily in ways that we think.

He's thinking of opportunities to encourage others, showing them compassion and mercy, even
generosity, and if we limit ourselves, thinking that we don't measure up to something, or someone,
then we are telling God 'you gotta be kidding me!' Now God does have a sense of humor, and is loving,
kind and understanding of our insecurities but if He said it, believe it and let Him work it out.

And --- if He's stirring your heart to do something beyond pray for wisdom (James 1, Proverbs 3), meaning
He's prompting you to act out on that promise He's given you, then step wisely and He will guide your steps.

He's got a plan, He's got many wonderful things along the path and even if that path is one He is
restoring to be like when it was the first time around, let Him restore! He's good at restoration and
reconciliation!

Trust Him with all your heart, don't rely on your own perspectives for it's likely based on insecurities of
the heart and that heart can be deceitful --- unless God is given and allowed full control of it then the healing
happens from the old wounds and amazing things start happening!

Trust Him! He's God!

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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Post  Admin on Sat 20 Dec 2014 - 13:09

[HeartTruths Blog] Sing-a-long Christmas

Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright...

O Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.. come and behold Him...

Hark! the herald angels sing...glory to the newborn King...

O, Holy Night the stars are brightly shining...it is the night of our dear Savior's birth...

We have come to love the Christmas carols sung during the year-end holidays. Many of the words we know by heart as we've sung them since childhood, and sometimes we can sing them without thinking about what we are singing.

Holy night, the herald (announcing) angels are singing, so come around ye faithful (full of faith, loyal) and cherish the celebration of Christ, the Lord.

I remember, in my youth (grade and high school), singing in choirs with school or church. It was such fun to lead others in singing
songs, especially Christmas carols. It made the events so festive to gather together in song and remembrance.

Years later, in the early 90s, I recall singing in a five-performance Christmas eve event at my church. I'd not been a part of anything so spectacular
in years so my enjoyment was full. The irony was that I had been fighting a cold but I was determined to get through the evening with my
usual 'can do' attitude. My vocal chords however had other ideas. At the beginning of the fifth performance, at 11 pm, the choir entered
the sanctuary, filling the choir loft (or chancel). The choir, all 100 or so persons, began to sing, except for me: my voice had disappeared, with no 

warning. I was stunned but could not do anything except lip sync with a smile for one hour. Despite the inconvenience, it was still fun to be a part of
a gathering that was worshiping God. The week following was a rough one for me. Antibiotics, and careful living and working to ensure
that the bronchitis and laryngitis I had went no further; they did not. I asked myself then: would I have been better off not singing? No, I'd still
do it for it was that much fun!

In the small town where I attended high school, and where my mother still lives on the family acreage (I live there also), there is a Christmas eve service at the local Catholic church. I love the late night service, it is just so inspiring! I enjoy the candle light and the hush of those in attendance. There is first a choral presentation then a worship service at midnight. It's an event I try to attend as long as the weather is good for driving 7 miles to town in inclement weather that late at night isn't wise. I also attend services there the week prior to Christmas eve to experience the sense of excitement leading to the remembrance of Christ's birth. The church service is set up with formality, respect and humility to remind attendees of just how holy and amazing Christ's birth is to humanity and all of creation.

Regardless of how we remember Christ's birth, we must remember it as the most profound date in history. And it truly is the music of the event that inspires, reminds us of the beauty and serenity of that holy night so long ago, along with reading The Bible, Luke chapter two...

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into 
Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he 
was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling 
clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, 
the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, 
and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."

Can we imagine a holy night, with angels singing in a sky full of wonder light?

It is the birth of our dear Savior!

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
Join the group ---> Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching & The Cascade Holistic Recovery Center
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Post  Admin on Mon 15 Dec 2014 - 23:28

[HeartTruths Blog] New Eyes
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in making new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

So often we become familiar with what we see, relying on past information to continue to be correct without ever considering that its truth might have changed over time or to have been incomplete to begin with.
Do you ever consider the landscapes around you? The mountains, seashores, creeks and rivers, grassy knolls or empty fields?

I am a nature lover, simply enjoying observing the natural world around me. My favorite scenes are on the California central coast, where redwood trees and ocean salty mists mingle in early morning fog. It can be simply breathtaking in its beauty and freshness!

I like to see other nature scenes, and often while driving I think about what I've learned about local scenery. I think about our local volcano (dormant, meaning it could erupt but it's unlikely), Mt. Lassen. From different angles in this valley, it can appear small or large, inconsequential or powerful. I remember seeing photographs of its latest eruption, around 1914. Remnants of the mountain are strewn across the countryside, big chunks of volcanic rock and minute pieces of iron-rich dirt. The bluffs around this little town are largely red dirt from that volcano. In springtime, the contrasts between those bluffs and the green valleys, acres of grassy knolls, is stunning.

That red dirt is iron rich which is part benefit, part hindrance depending on one's activities with it. For some the high mineral content is helpful but for others it is not.

What is hidden in that dirt is very relevant.

The same concept applies to our hearts. Some things in our hearts, the positives, are good for us and for others. But other things, such as anger, fear, resentment, or un-forgiveness, those things are unhelpful for all, directly and indirectly. And often we keep those things hidden. What's in our hearts affects us and those around us.

What matters is that we are aware of what is residing in things around us so that we can not be taken unawares by hidden things. A journey of discovery means a lifestyle of awareness and observation, learning to truly use the eyes of our minds and hearts to see both the good and the hidden, aware to the benefits and hindrances.

Life with such awareness is a good journey, full of many good things.

Here's to embarking on, and continuing, that journey!

©2014, Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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Post  Admin on Fri 12 Dec 2014 - 22:10

Note: Something different... about relationships, between humans, and between humans and God. ~gretchen
-------
When a woman trusts a man, she's trusting in the gift of his masculinity to protect and provide strength and effective direction in this moment. She is letting go of worry, allowing herself to open and soften any walls around her ... feeling heart. She melts into vulnerability and offers the expression of her true self in this moment.

To be told, I trust you by a woman is to be told:

I trust that you will hold me and everything I care about as infinitely precious; that you will act to protect and cherish my life, my heart, as well as the lives and hearts of those I care about: my children, my mothers and my sisters, too, for our hearts are all one. I also trust that you will be a place of steadfast strength I can anchor to when I might otherwise be overcome by the turbulent winds of this ever-changing moment. I offer my real self to you, relaxed and vulnerable, confident that your best self will keep me safe as I do.

Or something like that.

A woman's willingness to be her true, unguarded self is an essential aspect of her feminine gift, for her femininity shines through when she relaxes into herself. Whether the warm glow emanating from her lit-up eyes, the ... swing in her confident step or the raw unbridled truth in her authentic sharing, her femininity is [beautiful]. ..

In other words, these three words can inspire a man to claim his birthright as a responsible, loving, ethical being who champions all life and passionately serves the greater good.

They inspire him to not let her down. And every man wants to make his woman proud of him.

Imagine a world in which all men are genuinely worthy of any woman's trust.

I trust you.

Brian Reeves
-------

I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. 
Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue 
you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there 
forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two 
months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. 
You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt 
you've ever dared to love anybody that much. Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself. 
[Good Will Hunting]

-------

IMPEDIMENTS TO YOUR PROGRESS: The single greatest enemy to our recovery is the state of our minds. Because we have been 
abused, typically we feel defeated and worthless, which is exactly the message our abusers want us to receive. It's 
probably one of the reasons why they abused us in the first place. Although it's normal to have feelings of worthlessness 
as a result of these experiences, it's self-defeating to internalize them and make them part of who you are.
If you want to be a whole person ”valuable to yourself and to others you must renew your mind and reject what your abuser 
has said about you. Don't internalize it. If you already have, make a commitment to renew your mind immediately. The way 
to do this is simple: accept that God loves you and desires your recovery.
The solution is easy, but summoning the courage and the will to transform your mind may be the most difficult thing you 
ever do. Plus, it's not a one-time decision. You have to do it every day sometimes every hour. It's hard, but the value of 
making the effort is incalculable.
If you make the commitment and persevere, over time and slowly, you'll change and become everything God ever intended you 
to be. If you don't, you'll wallow in mediocrity and self-pity for years, perhaps decades. The choice is yours. Renew your 
mind, or continue to internalize the lies that others have said about you as the truth. Robert McGee (codependency)

-------

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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Post  Admin on Fri 28 Nov 2014 - 19:24

Consider this, from John Newton:

"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures."

As John said, Christ was 'full of grace and truth.' John 1

Christ -is- grace and truth.

--

My thanks to my dear friend and sister in Christ Jini Thomas for piquing my curiosity about this subject: God's grace

What is it?

Strength of Christ.

Christ modeled grace beautifully in His life and through His hardships.

John mentions Christ being full of grace of truth, and this in John 1: "...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Paul mentions it being how we are saved, in Ephesians 2: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can
boast. 

He also describes it, in 2 Corinthians 12: "But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The author of Hebrews says this about it: "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4

And this: "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12

James says this, "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.

Grace isn't about having power but in being strong through the difficulties that Christ promised would happen to those who chose Him.

Good to know, is encouraging.

~gretchen

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
Join the group ---> Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching & The Cascade Holistic Recovery Center
Follow on Twitter -->
twitter.com/ HopePeaceQuotes
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Post  Admin on Fri 28 Nov 2014 - 0:25

My thanks to my dear friend and sister in Christ Jini Thomas for piquing my curiosity about this subject: God's grace

What is it?

Strength of Christ.

Christ modeled grace beautifully in His life and through His hardships.

John mentions Christ being full of grace of truth, and this in John 1: "...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Paul mentions it being how we are saved, in Ephesians 2: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 

He also describes it, in 2 Corinthians 12: "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.†

The author of Hebrews says this about it: "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4

And this: "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12

James says this, "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.â€

Grace isn't about having power but in being strong through the difficulties that Christ promised would happen to those who chose Him.

Good to know, is encouraging.

~gretchen

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
Join the group ---> Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching & The Cascade Holistic Recovery Center
Follow on Twitter --> twitter.com/ HopePeaceQuotes
Admin
Admin
Admin

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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Nov 2014 - 23:46

My thanks to my dear friend and sister in Christ Jini Thomas for piquing my curiosity about this subject: God's grace

What is it?

Strength of Christ.

Christ modeled grace beautifully in His life and through His hardships.

John mentions Christ being full of grace of truth, and this in John 1: "...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Paul mentions it being how we are saved, in Ephesians 2: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 

He also describes it, in 2 Corinthians 12: "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.†

The author of Hebrews says this about it: "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4

And this: "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12

James says this, "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.â€

Grace isn't about having power but in being strong through the difficulties that Christ promised would happen to those who chose Him.

Good to know, is encouraging.

~gretchen

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jer 29:13
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Post  Admin on Sun 16 Nov 2014 - 23:27

HeartTruths Blog] God Doesn't Expect...

*God doesn't expect perfection from us. 

God encourages excellence - that is the awareness of being prone to error and the humility to acknowledge our 'oops' moments, and then doing things again, with the hope of things working out right this next time, which they will.

*Yet we've been influenced by systems (family, friends) that criticize others, holding those others to a standard by which they don't live themselves. The fear of criticism drives us, unconsciously, in our relationships. 

But God doesn't criticize, He tolerates us...is always mercy giving and understanding, providing for us the things we need most: the necessities of life, but also character, tolerance, understanding, mercy, acceptance (love).

*God does expect:

...Us to attempt to be as faithful and loyal to Him as He is to us.

...Us to seek Him, and to know Him as the better thing in our lives.

...Us to not just buy into any saying or practice that uses His Word...

...Us to think about and read His Word -- that we are so blessed to have copies of -- in full (how each passage agrees with the rest), not in part (piece here, piece there)

...Us to commit to Him as He has committed to us (goes along with faithfulness and loyalty)

...Us to apply His Word to our lives, in obedience (the 'do unto', and the 'thou shalt')

...Us to live daily with the attitude of making life better for someone else - as Christ set the example

...Us to focus on giving mercy as God does for us, rather than seeking grace (see Luke 18)

...Us to be so aware of ourselves and our hearts that we are not able to overlook or deny our weaknesses, but to admit to them and keep working on them with God's help to change them to strengths

...Us to respond in loving kindness to the struggles of other humans, using our hearts, instead of analytical insensitivity

...Us to seek to honor Him by honoring others, giving them the dignity and respect God gives us.

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Wed 12 Nov 2014 - 19:50

Something to think about...

Two famous people have passed away, one suddenly, another perhaps not.

They were Christians, by their profession (words, jobs), yet they are no different than anyone else meeting God. As Christians, but more so as leaders, they will have to make an account to Him of what they have done or haven't done for Christ.

The ones truly grieving their loss are those closest to them in relationship: their families and close friends. They are the ones who have lost a friend, albeit temporarily per 'the hope' given in God's Word about reuniting.

What about those without a relationship to the well known? Is it grief to miss a person unknown to us except by media (CDs, etc.)?

There are many people grieving today, losing someone dear and near to them, perhaps suddenly, worse without 'the hope'. We, as Christians, are commanded to pray for all the saints (believers), to daily be sensitive to the griefs and struggles common to them, and as well to all humans especially those who need 'the hope'.

The response to a celebrity' s passing, by those who don't know them personally, seems like this: "excessive or blind adoration, reverence, devotion, etc. " Is this true? Is this our same response to their living?

Do we grieve with those who grieve, real grief not celebrity grief? Grief is missing a loved one for a time after they have passed on. Do we rejoice with those who rejoice, as in sharing successes? 

Today, it might be wise to consider if idolatry (blind adoration or devotion) is a part of our lives and if so, what we will do about it in consideration of God's 1st Commandment, Exodus 20.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Thu 16 Oct 2014 - 21:43

The Plum Tree

There once was a plum tree, it lived happily in Joy's yard. But it never bloomed. Oh it grew lush with green leaves and gave wonderful shade, but it bore no fruit. It grew older, and likely wiser, but despite everything it did not bloom. It felt humiliated, as the years passed by, as the other fruit trees in the neighborhood bloomed yearly with precious fruit.
The tree felt, as it aged, that it likely would never bloom for it was too old. It's best years were behind it, it sighed with melancholy.
Yet...one spring, something happened. The Master Gardener spoke kindly to it, as he did every spring, but this year the tree took those encouraging words to heart, embraced them emotionally.
Within several days there were blossoms on that old plum tree's branches, and so many blossoms that the tree felt conspicuous. The tree was not used to such grandeur and slowly adapted to the realization that it, too, had much to give even later in life.
The blossoms soon turned into fruit, and so much fruit!! The branches were heavy laden, nearly touching the ground, carrying their precious cargo of delicious sweet plums! And as those plums were picked, and shared with those who asked, their sweet precious delightful flavor brought joy to all!

Think you are beyond being of use in the world? Carrying the weight of past failures or humiliations? If you are breathing, you have a special gift to give others, to bring delight and joy. Breathe deeply, thank God for his mercy, and find your niche.
©2014 Gretchen Offord.

-----

It's been suggested that these character traits, these Beatitudes, are a timeline of a person who comes to God, gets right with Him, and matures in their relationship with Him...it' s chronological just as the fruits of The Spirit, Galatians 5, and possibly the fruits of the flesh, also Galatians 5. Why the fruits of the flesh? Note what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians. 4..."the will of God is your sanctification" ; (maturing as saints, required for leadership, fyi) and it starts with purity. ~Gretchen Offord

"Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of 
their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate 
themselves insignificant) , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! 
Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they 
shall be comforted!
Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of 
their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, 
long-suffering) , for they shall inherit the earth!
Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for 
righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall 
be completely satisfied!
Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of 
their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!
Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous—possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) 
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!" Matthew 5, AMP

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Mon 6 Oct 2014 - 19:29

Overheard on Air1 (Christian music radio)...in response to the song 'Amazing Grace'.. .

'Was I being a Christian or a pharisee? Was I into rules, regulations, and judging others coldly? It wasn't until I encountered in my heart God's grace that I knew the answers to my questions.&# 39;

God's mercy - not getting what we deserve
God's grace - getting what we don't deserve

If we love others, e.g., have compassion, we know God, John says in his first letter. Christians love others, pharisees don't. If you were on the road and saw the injured man, would you be the priest [religious leader], the Levite [of the family of hereditary religious leaders], or the Samaritan?

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii [a day's wages] and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward
him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10 NASB

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Wed 17 Sep 2014 - 22:54

Have you ever noticed?...

Whenever there's a new technology or leader that seems to relate to information that's been deduced from prophetic Bible passages, all jump on the 'oooh' Christ's 2nd coming bandwagon, eager to be delivered from the unknown events to come? [This despite that we, as Christians, are the ones with the hope and truth that when shared will bring salvation when faith is put in Christ. We have work to do in sharing God's hope, not fearfully wanting to be spared from suffering.]

The clearly understandable road markers given by Christ (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) tend to be neglected, particularly the false teachings. How many of us are aware of the many types of false teachings in The Church worldwide and speak up about them regularly, in response to Christ's warnings that false teachings are a big clue to His nearing return? [There's also Paul's warning in 2 Timothy]

Here's info about one false teaching/activity that is extremely popular and endorsed by many Christian leaders in the US:

In the 1970s the following activity was strongly warned against by Christian leaders: "Sit quietly, with eyes closed, empty the mind of all thoughts, choose a word and then say it repeatedly." This 'tradition of man' (see Matthew 15, Mark 7) has its roots in the religions of man, not Christianity, for its emphases on self. Yet, now, such an activity has been deemed Christian when the word chosen is Christian and the goal is God. Not obedience to God but oneness with God (see John 14-17 for more info).

Question: When does a non-Biblical human tradition become Biblically ok? Answer: It doesn't. Christ warned against prioritizing human traditions over God's Word.

The above activity is called meditation but it isn't what's mentioned in The Bible -- in God's Word, meditation means 'to think upon or about', not to speak singular words in extensive repetition. The activities in our quiet devotional times with God that God wants for us to engage in are obedience from a deeply grateful heart, humility, and love. Do we love God? We'll obey Him, Christ said and did (John 14-17).

See Psalm 119: "Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds", and Joshua 1: "This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success."

It's made clear in God's Word that when the Truth of God is made known, the enemy of God (and humans) will counterfeit it to distract people from God and make the focus on themselves. An example of this is Aaron's staff in Pharoah's court (Exodus 7).

When given the encouragement to meditate, choose God's way: think about Him and what He's done, as He's commanded us to do.

Here is a link to more evidence that meditation is active thinking on, pondering about God and His Word and deeds...

http://legacy.biblegateway.com/keyword/?version=AMP&search=meditate&searchtype=all&language1=en&spanbegin=1&spanend=73

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Wed 27 Aug 2014 - 22:29

Did you ever notice...

When we are going through a difficulty, we often cry out to be removed from it (or it from us) but what happens when our perspective changes and we try to see the good possibilities that can come from the difficulty?

This came to me as I sat in calm reflection and prayer this evening.

"He leads me through paths of righteousness (good works for me, someone else or others) for His Name's sake...and even so when I walk through valleys of shadows (uncertainty) , I will not fear anything but Him (His authority, ability to stay in charge) for He is with me..." [my paraphrase of Psalm 23]

Seems that the difficulties might be more tolerable when we see it through His eyes and heart, maybe.

~Gretchen Offord ©2014
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Post  Admin on Wed 13 Aug 2014 - 14:15

GRETCHIN
{HeartTruths Quotes} Sharing
One who has been given so much has so much more to give those less fortunate (the least of these)...
We who have been given salvation (relationship with God) have so much more to give those less fortunate (the least of these)...
It isn't material possessions a 'born again Christian' has (or seeks) but something intangible, eternal, that is life itself: the relationship with God ...and it is that intangible that drives sharing of all else we have with others. 

©2014, Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

 
"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Sat 9 Aug 2014 - 18:20

{HeartTruths Blog} A Gift and a Calling

For some of us, we have a strong idea of what we are to do with our lives, a main purpose as it were. We might
have other activities going on but we have a passion, a compelling interest in something particular. Though we
may have had our path take unforeseen detours, we still have the passion and purpose to be positive changers.

We have, first, a talent, a special ability that we can enhance by education, training, or experience. For some
this gift is in an area of leadership. We just have a knack for knowing how to lead, and a desire to do it. In fact,
we all lead with/by our gifts in one way or another for we all have a unique contribution to make.

Second, we have a calling, a special avenue in which to use our gift. It might be a specific place or it could
be a career, such as in caring for others. Our calling may take us along many paths, each as unique as we
are.

There are a plethora of books available that claim to help a person find their gift or their calling. But it really
isn't that complicated.

Questions to ask yourself:
* What am I good at doing?
* Where is my heart, my passion or compassion, sympathy or empathy?
* Has my education, training, or experiences been in the same arena, or realm in which my abilities lie?
* Am I limiting myself in terms of where I can be happiest in using my abilities, keeping within a certain
mindset or tradition, instead of 'thinking outside the box' and asking God for wisdom to consider many
areas where I could use my gifts effectively and with enjoyment and fulfillment?

You might have a gift of leadership within a church, for example, but that isn't where you are supposed to
be. Your compassion for others, and your free spirit, best suit you to working (or serving) as a spiritual
leader in a non-traditional setting, such as recovery centers or homes, or other similar places.

Or, you may have strong business leadership abilities but that doesn't mean you're best suited to
working in a business setting but instead in leading others as a leadership consultant.

Each of us is unique and can contribute uniquely to make a positive change.

How does, then, one's gift affect one's calling? Your gift is your abilities (likely enhanced) used in
the context (however that works for you) of your calling. A gift of mercy can be used in many ways,
as can encouragement. Becoming qualified (with degrees) might be relevant or might not be, depending
on you.

How to find your calling:
* What career path just 'turns your crank', elates you? (not necessarily in a particular place but within
a general focus)

* Consider others who might be gifted and/or called to work with you in your unique calling; any idea
who they might be?
* If you know what you really want to do, don't let seeming impediments stop you.

I recall something God's said about gifts and callings: they are irrevocable, meaning a gift and a calling
are given you, and are yours to do with whatever you can. Those who are gifted and called to work with
you also know their mission, and will be happy to share their focus with you, even if past encounters
have been convoluted; they know that people have gifts & callings and will work well together.

It's amazing what happens when like minded (and shared hearts) join forces: positive change occurs.

Be the positive change you wish to see in your world!

©2014, Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved
"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
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Post  Admin on Thu 31 Jul 2014 - 22:26

{HeartTruths Blog} Is it or isn't it?

Something I've been researching for a number of years is how bitterness works, what it is, and how people can become poisoned by one person's unresolved emotions.

Imagine, if you will, one person with power, control, and/or influence who is extremely bitter (stuffed anger, resentment, fear), and how that sort of influence can spread their 'bitterness&# 39; to countless persons who don't even personally know them but are influenced by them, indirectly or directly. They resent or fear something, which creates/drives anger, and they work hard to influence many (eases their bitterness by sharing), and they excuse their negativity this way.

How important (!!) is our discernment or discretion in what we listen to or read because we truly don't know how we'll be influenced by the presenter of information, for we don't know what's hidden in their hearts (the negativity(.
Clues: if the information incites anger, fear, resentment within us then even if there is an element of truth to the presentation of that information, there is a poisonous element involved that will only destroy us if we choose to listen repeatedly to that source.

A source of information that promotes humanitarian efforts by indignation (anger that doesn't hurt others but helps others) is the opposite of a 'bitter root' (hidden deep within but obvious by listening, observing) and there are many who are revolted by mankind' s injustice to mankind and by such indignation inspire others to make a positive difference.

Conversely, a bitter person resorts to name calling, character assassination (slander, libel), wasted efforts to discredit (where no evidence exists), or silently enjoys their presumed power.

Pay attention to what you read, hear for you just don't know what hidden information you are absorbing, taking on within your heart but you'll know by what you listen to/read or think/talk about frequently.
~gretchen

 
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Post  Admin on Tue 22 Jul 2014 - 22:32

{HeartTruths Blog}  Its definition has changed

We've become accustomed to hearing about them in the news or because we know/knew someone caught up in their mire.
But the definition for them has changed.

To start, let's compare truth to the well-meaning and good intentioned, the wanna-be' s, and the counterfeits.

Note: emotional = heart, the being of a person (along with soul, mind and body).

Christianity: a relationship with God, through Christ, offered by God. A spiritual relationship between a personal, emotional God and humans. No emotional manipulating or self promotion occurs, as shownby Christ, justacceptance and a motivation to excellence, to be better tomorrow than you are today, and to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Emotional fulfillment here is complete for there is acceptance, forgiveness, tolerance with kind & gentle motivation, mercy and grace, no criticism or rejection. The emphasis is on God and His reaching down to us, never on us alone as the center or focus. There is no intellectual component -- other than learning of God -- because that eradicates the emotional fulfillment. The fulfillment has been shown by countless people since the time of Christ both documented and via personal stories. [See the lyrics to "Amazing Grace", "Just as I am", "Heaven Came Down"]

Religion: man's efforts, well meaning or otherwise, to reach God. It meets a desire to be a part of something bigger than oneself, to improve oneself, provides security in repetition, control and rites, but also involves guilt or shame for personal failings, conditional forgiveness, lack of accountability, uncertainty of something beyond the natural world. It may or may not  include emotional manipulating to gain followers, their money or loyalty.

Cult: a group (virtual or in-person) led or created by one person whose goals are money, fame, power, control, glory...a person who likely has serious psychological problems (unmet basic human needs) stemming from a neglected or abusive childhood or is just plain greedy....a person who emotionally manipulates others to get their own unmet needs met and does this by using the follower' s basic human needs [of acceptance, belonging, approval] to achieve their own goals of power, control, greed, etc. 

A cult is emotionally driven and will tap into one's fears or resentments, one's desire for power, control, a need for acceptance, one's prejudices, paranoia (false beliefs), all the while emotionally manipulating, i.e., asking, for one's loyalty and/or money. The key or keys to recognizing one: a leader who basks in attention directly or indirectly; traits of that 'leader&# 39; being charming, persuasive or charismatic (convincing) , self promoting and/or validating, a leader who strongly encourages or demands loyalty, purchases of the leader's 
materials, and/or donations; the group's purpose is emotionally charged (fear or greed or power/control) , followers who can be defiant (enraged as if brainwashed) when reminded that their group is singularly focused and illogical in purpose.

In times past, a cult defined a religious group but that is not true 
any longer. A cult can be ideological or political in nature or purpose. A cult can develop around any person who is willing to be in the limelight for personal gain of any kind, and who directs the attention to themselves rather than consistently redirect it, humbly, to others and their needs.

We all have a need to belong, be accepted, be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Religion or other groups try to meet this need but ---Christianity in its truest sense, as modeled by Christ, meets it fully.

If you know someone trapped in, ensnared or deceived by, a 'cult' , no amount of reason will awaken them from their
false beliefs, only seeing their leader as the selfish person they are will do that.

If you think you might be in a 'cult' of any type, be willing to leave it behind and see over time what your psychological response
to such a positive step does for you.

The trait most symbolic of Christianity is freedom: from the weight of guilt, blame, shame, selfishness, fear, anxiety, worry, dread, doubt, suspicion, terror, cynicism, skepticism, criticism or a critical attitude, pride or arrogance or conceit, superiority, prejudice or hatred, other negative attitudes,emotions or behaviors.

Does what you have, or the person you follow, provide that freedom?

If not, read The Gospel of John in The Holy Bible. There you'll find a leader worth following.

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching/The Cascade Recovery Center. All rights reserved.

 
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Post  Admin on Sun 22 Jun 2014 - 22:42

The Healing Heart} Gardens

It is during this time of year that we so enjoy, many of us, getting outside and working in our gardens. We gather together the necessary tools and implements to ensure that the beautiful or nutritional plants we place in the earth are provided the
best care and protection.
But what if there is, beneath the seeming perfection and beauty of our garden, a pest which we cannot see? How do 

we respond?

Weeds, the obvious irritating garden pest. Chemicals can remove them but chemicals have consequences (cancer, for one) thus we avoid them. So we pull those weeds at a surface level. But what of the roots? The hidden, lurking mysterious roots?

There's symbolism there. Our gardens, of flowers or vegetables, can resemble our hearts. Taken care of our hearts 

can be healthy, blooming brightly with beauty, joy, peace, no chemicals needed. Often we miss the hidden lurking
root that shows no evidence, on the surface, of its presence but its devastation can be told over time. Our beautiful
flowers and vegetables struggle to grow when there is a root (of something) beneath the surface.

In terms of our hearts, what is a 'root' ? It is one of four things: fear, anger, pride, or resentment. One or more of these
has taken its place firmly, i.e., rooted, itself in our hearts and over time has been forgotten to us, consciously. But
un/subconsciously it is percolating, bubbly, brewing its nasty toxic poison. The longer it is untended, the worse it gets.

When we have one of these buried in our hearts, wisely we talk it out with a good counselor. But if we don't,
it not only ravages our own life (in damaged health such as chronic pain, ulcers; or sabotaging relationships; or substance
use, often alcohol of any amount little or great) but can influence the lives of those around us.

The key is to ensure that we have a thorough accounting of what's in our 'heart&# 39; so that there isn't a poisonous
root there.

We can start our heart checkup in prayer, with the following said on a regular basis: "Search me [thoroughly] , O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me." Psalm 139 

If you struggle with fear or anger, pride, or even resentment, this is a good start. Then finding someone trusted to
talk out those negative emotions will help so much more. You can do this in addition to journalling any negative experience
to help your body let go of the negative memories.

We often don't realize that people with whom we work or socialize can have a hidden toxin (hurt) in their hearts and
it is that hidden toxin that can hurt us. If we have taken steps to heal our hearts, then we will be much less
likely to be vulnerable to the hurts of others. Instead, we can make a positive difference in their lives!

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 May 2014 - 23:08

The Healing Heart] Perplexing, Isn't It?

Part of what I do as a life coach and mentor is to deal with the ravages (consequences) of substance use, particularly alcohol as it is so very easy to obtain, easier to abuse.

I am quite familiar with the ravages of alcoholism for it has occurred in my family tree, despite the example set by a godly evangelist. The damage the disease has done cannot be described for it has affected all. Some have incurred emotional wounds, others who have embraced the drinking have encountered psychological trauma as a result.

I encourage people to not judge (condemn without sufficient, accurate data) those who become trapped in the disease but instead to consider that there are many factors which can precipitate the triggering of the disease. Each person is responsible to determine for themselves how they will handle the trigger when confronted with it. We've all been triggered, it's bound to
happen. My trigger came and went with several occasions over several decades ago when I thought that I enjoyed drinking and quickly realized how much I disliked it, so I stopped. One of the best decisions I ever made, along with helping others recover from it.

It's just not worth it to drink. But more so to be avoided is to judge people in the grasp of the disease and it's companion co-dependence. So many factors play into the existence of the disease; there is no easy answer as to why but there is a solution: sobriety. Avoiding the use of the substance of alcohol (as well as the abuse of prescription drugs, and the use
of illegal drugs). There is no 'gray area' with substance use, for any use at all can be so incredibly destructive.

So many of us, as Christians, have heard or read Paul's admonition to Timothy about wine, 'take a little for your stomach' he said in 1 Timothy 5. So many take this as a license to drink yet this is a wrong conclusion to make.

Paul strongly warned against the use of wine to The Church (Christians) in Ephesus, 'Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.' (Ephesians 5) 

It seems Paul is contradicting himself so we need to determine several things. One, what is being 'drunk&# 39; versus 'having a little'? And two, what other considerations are made in The Bible regarding the subject?

Some Bible versions call being drunk 'dissipation&# 39; or 'debauchery&# 39;, big words that mean 'a wasting by misuse' and 'excessive indulgence&# 39;, respectively. But each of us has our own 'drunk&# 39; capacity, there isn't a predetermined amount despite the
'legal limit' set that defines intoxication. One drink can make one drunk.

What other considerations are there in The Bible?

In Proverbs there are several including, 'wine is akin to violence' and 'wine produces mockers and alcohol leads to brawls; Those led astray by drink cannot be wise', and 'Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is,how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake;it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.'

We all know that substance use of any kind leads to speaking or actions that we deeply regret later.

And, 'It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.Rulers should not crave alcohol.For if they drink, they may forget the law
and not give justice to the oppressed.&# 39;

This says it well...others get deeply hurt by the actions or words of the drinker. The commentator doesn't say how many drinks or define the longevity of the drinking. It just says 'drink&# 39;.

Paul clearly defines, in Ephesians 5, the antidote as it were to drinking...

'...But ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.' This doesn't mean anything other than living in submission to The Holy Spirit as Christ showed and explained to us in John 14-17.

Living in obedience to God is how to be continually 'filled&# 39; with The Holy Spirit, Christ has explained and commanded. There is no other way of being 'filled&# 39; as defined in God's Word.

I hope that each of us can learn something from this today. To fully abstain from substance (ab)use and to embrace the lifestyle of living in obedience to God that Christ showed us.

That is what truly brings happiness, even despite painful circumstances (such as loved ones involved in long-term
substance (ab)use.)

©2014, Gretchen Offord. Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

For further information, please feel free to reply to me at the above email address.


"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching (Leadership; Mentoring; Counseling ) ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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Post  Admin on Sun 27 Apr 2014 - 17:47

DISCUSSION
{The Healing Heart}Why or Why Not?

This subject might be difficult for some to read, but I hope and pray that you do read it, to understand and be informed.

To begin with, we need to clarify what 'to judge' means. It is often done by those whoconsider themselves 'above&# 39; others, as if they were better or perfect or something similar. In reality, judging is making a presumption or assumption without facts or data. It says thatone person considers themselves so well informed that they can condemn, reject, orscorn another based upon another' s behaviors without ever admitting that truthfully they don't know what that person's been through personally.

Judging reflects upon behaviors in such a way that shows that the judger hasn't asked questions in kindness, hasn't taken the time to discover why another person does what they do. It says of the judger that they are selfish and ignorant in many ways.

None of us knows why another does what they do unless we ask and listen in kindness, in the same way we'd want to be listened to.

So The Golden Rule could say 'listen unto others as you'd have them listen unto you'.

Now, on to another subject...Many believers don't drink and look unkindly upon those who do. But there are also many believers who do drink.

What's the dilemma? Why the contradiction? There are references in Proverbs about the dangers of drinking, while Paul says to
Timothy it's ok.

If we evaluate what exactly is involved in & from drinking, we'd not only not engage in it but we'd understand the reasoning behind it for those who do.

Some drink socially, some to numb deep pain, others drink from peer pressure, or they are so familiar with the activity as it was
acceptable in their families of origin. Some believers drink wine as Paul says it's ok, some even owning wineries (can it
be said that they are contributing to the disease of alcoholism in others?)

But wine, just as with any other alcoholic beverage, does damage. It's destructive. It muddles, clouds one's thinking, it numbs and/or stuffs (deep into one's heart or soul) one's emotions (fear, resentment, anger, doubt), it shames and adds guilt while also stuffing shame and guilt into a downward spiral, it ruins relationships (blocks good communication - honesty,
trust, reliability, credibility, respect, dignity)...Regardle ss of the reasons one might use alcohol (for pleasure or pain), there are no positives from it.

I've watched families destroyed over generations because of it's regular, consistent use...even in religious families who often deny its use/abuse/misuse while living as perfect believers (hiding the disease behind fake smiles).

Many have justified, rationalized, and minimized the use of alcohol and its consequences, but truth is any way one looks at it, alcohol is a toxin - from the chemicals used in it to the effects of it on the brain, body, heart and soul.

Alcohol' s effect on the brain is quite similar to the effects of heroin on the brain, research shows. When a person has used/abused/ misused other drugs, the effects of alcohol are multiplied greatly as it triggers the damages done by those other drugs in addition to the effects of the alcohol, and it also can cause serious mental health conditions.. ..regardless of the amount of alcohol used. It might seem that one drink can be harmless but one doesn't really know, as with substances, what
one is getting and it could be a trigger to various negative things. And those who use those substances, including alcohol, often cover it up by lies, which makes one's relationship with God carnal (self on the throne rather than Christ), see 'thorns&# 39; in Luke 8, Mark 4, Matthew 13.

The reality is this: believers should avoid the use of toxins, such as alcohol, because we are to be good stewards (responsible owners) of our bodies (as well as the planet and the creatures on it, but that's another story).

The use of alcohol and other substances should be avoided as one would avoid junk food as all are known toxins for one's health. There isn't any room for judging in the family of God, but for understanding. Let's becomeinformed and with kindness, encourage others to be informed, and be healthy in heart, soul, mind and body!

"Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise." Proverbs 20
©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

 
"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching (Leadership; Mentoring; Counseling ) ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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Post  Admin on Sun 13 Apr 2014 - 18:25

The Healing Heart] The Difference

Healthy fear comes & goes quickly... But unhealthy fear stays, puts 
down roots, becomes a lifestyle, habit. Kick it out. ~Gretchen Offord ©HPQ ©HopePeaceQuotes

We all have moments of fear. We have a (usually negative) thought and our hearts, in response, can race while adrenalin is released into our bloodstream. The overall physical feeling is very uncomfortable. It can be overwhelming, too, so much so that
we become paralyzed, not doing anything except maybe go the other way. 

But those moments can pass by when we think through the negative thought carefully, and consider the likely truths to the
situation.

If those moments don't pass, but stay, it's because we let them stay. They take root and become a lifestyle or a habit
of being fearful...full of fear. We live our lives uncomfortable with taking any steps towards our goals, dreams, even
a reality that we can talk ourselves out of. Because we believe the negative thought instead of giving faith - belief
in positive truth - a chance.

How can you tell if you are a 'full of fear' person?

Think through your life. At major moments which did you choose? The safe route or the risk taking route?

The safe route avoids it all, convinced that the outcome couldn't possibly be anything else but the negative.
Instead of taking a chance, you avoid a choice or situation because you don't want a negative response 

such as rejection, humiliation, avoidance, or something else.

However, the risk taking route, not as in wild adventure but walking through the fears, walking forward 

positively, confidentin who you are and what you are all about, steps deliberately if but feebly.

It's been said that in The Bible there can be counted around 365 different references to the concept of
'do not fear'. That's powerful encouragement! Don't fear, have faith, it says, but in order to have either
one must have an object: fear of what? faith in whom?

We must remember that fear can take many poses: anxiety, worry, doubt, dread, panic, distrust, suspicion, disbelief.
There are likely others as well.

If we can choose to walk through our fears, giving them rational thought to invalidate them (because fear
is irrational, illogical, wrong thinking), we can truly 'kick out' the fears that try to take root within our
minds and hearts.

It's up to us. Do we choose to be healthy in mind or heart, kicking out fears that have no place because we
don't want to be surrendered to them?

What are you afraid of? List them and one by one, kick out the fears and replace them with healthy
thinking, and emotions.

Your best day is the day you start!

©2014 Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Sun 30 Mar 2014 - 20:35

[The Healing Heart] Directions

Sometimes God will lead us on a path that goes to or through a place that if left to choose,
we'd choose otherwise. It can be the last place we want to be.

No, not a Jonah and Ninevah sort of thing, but a process of learning and healing sort of thing.

It's our attitude towards the journey that can define us.

Are we allowing self pity, hurt, frustration, annoyance, etc. to dominate our thoughts and hearts?

Or do we seek God (akin to Peter looking at Christ), asking Him for His wisdom in the
situation or journey so to understand, and heal?

Often the path God leads us to, through, or on is difficult. We can/will be stretched beyond ourselves
thus can truly learn to rely on Him for strength, wisdom, and the ability to guard our hearts so we don't
take personally the difficulties on the journey.

Making the journey a learning experience, letting ourselves (choosing to) focus on God during it
can make it easier, in a way. He promises to be with us when we 'walk through the valley of the
shadows' (Psalm 23), but that's when we look to Him. His promises are often hinged upon our
heeding Him first, then He responds most graciously.

That's also when He shows us mercy - the incredible comfort only God can give.

What's the trial, difficulty or heartache situation that you are finding yourself in lately?

Asking God for His wisdom to understand and learn, for yourself, is a good action to take,
so self pity or frustration don't take root in your heart and mind and thus disable you. A good
read through the Psalms, with an open heart, can help with this, such as Psalm 23, 37, 66, 119.

God's strong enough to lean upon, His shoulders wide enough to support us in our griefs
and sorrows, but we must come to Him in honesty and full trust despite the circumstances.

Perhaps the path He's taking you on is the best path toward a remarkable future.

Trust Him, with an open heart and self honesty.

©2014, Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.
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Post  Admin on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 22:47

Reminder of what's most important as people of faith:

"Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]...[ For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]." Paul, to The Church of Philippi, Philippians
3
 
-----

If we, as born again believers, put ourselves ahead of God and His Word we are in trouble.
We cannot adjust infinite God, and His Word, down to our finite level. We must realize and accept that God, and His Word, are far more than we can ever understand while on earth, and adjust accordingly.
We cannot make God's Word fit our situations because rarely, if ever, do our situations literally appear in God's Word. 
God has given us an incredible book that describes one thing: relationship with Him throughout earth time. He gives us tiny peeks at His world - Heaven - but that is all.
When we do what humans typically do - try to figure everything out, even when all the answers are not there - we miss out on so much of life and relationship: with God and others.
And that's what Christianity is all about: a love story, a relationship unlike any other...vertically with God, and horizontally with others.
~gretchen

---
"We have to present the liberty of Christ, and we cannot do it if we are not free ourselves." --Oswald Chambers

"One thing we are realising to-day is that to the majority of us, civilised life is an elaborate way of doing 
without God. We have not been living a life hid with Christ in God; we have been living the abundance of the things 
which we possess." --Oswald Chambers, in Christian Disciplines from the Quotable Oswald Chambers.

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching (Leadership; Mentoring; Counseling ) ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
The Healing Heart] Sweet, Salty, Sour, and Bitter

Have you ever tried to figure out what exactly the term 'bitter&# 39; means?

Using a comparison of emotions in the heart and the tongue perhaps it can be understood.

What is a sweet heart? Kind, loving, adoring, affectionate, compassionate, caring, encouraging,
supportive, neither critical or judging...any others?

What does it mean to be 'salty&# 39;? To add flavor, spice, bring out the best, not be bland or boring...
again, any others?

What is a 'sour' emotion? Complaining, grumpy, grouchy, irritable, short tempered, self pitying,
testy, snarky (edgy, sharp tongued)...these are occasional moods, are there other good descriptions?

Lastly, what defines 'bitter&# 39;? Unforgiving, resentful, deep seated fearfulness, hateful, prejudicial,
judging, very critical, self pitying...all long term attitudes or emotions, not occasional ones.

Does this help us understand how the states of our emotions and attitudes which reside within our hearts
can define us? Are we sweet, salty, sour, or bitter?

James gives us a good idea of what happens when a believer has bitterness, the worst of the four because it represents a long term situation, not a passing mood.

He says, "But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual. ..For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind."

Wow! That's heavy stuff isn't it? Having such long term negativity within our hearts is earthly, unspiritual.

Why? Boasting is self glorifying, and involves denying, the same as lying. Jealousy is fear of losing, envy is deep-seated resentment for not having (anger, coveting), lying is an 'abomination&# 39;, another word for shameful or detestable. Selfishness is prioritizing self over others in a long term manner. And what is self but ''the flesh", which contradicts what a born again believer is supposed to be about. Selfish ambition is prioritizing self over the long term, by self reliance, self absorption, self serving, self focused, self glorying, meeting one's needs first always and not by kind measures either.

Does this shocking description relate to other information in The Bible about emotions? What about anger, for example?
Acting out on anger, "letting anger control you" (Eph 4) means letting anger run away with you so hurtful words are
said or actions are taken that will require apologies and making amends later.

The worst part of James' description is that pride (the attitude of not needing anything, being self sufficient, or
without flaw = boasting and lying) is what keeps a person from admitting to having such negativity within their hearts.

And the writer of Hebrews adds to the dire circumstances of a long term negative heart: The bitterness is a poison that affects
others.

Bitterness is contagious! Just look at a gossip - a typical example of a bitter person passing on the poison!
But it isn't just a gossip that passes it on, anyone can. Being critical over time about something spreads the poison, as does being judgmental, or cold hearted,or condescending (pride, boastful)... all long term problems. 

James adds to hiscomments on the tongue (which speaks the contents of the heart), "Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" (Jam 3)

Look at any situation where there are many negative people --- what is the attitude of the leader? 'Negative&# 39;
can be critical, fearful even paranoid (false beliefs, false evidence appearing real), boasting (they are right while
others who disagree with them are wrong), no room for compromise on perspectives, selfish, greedy....fruits
of the flesh (Gal 5).

Families can have this bitterness that gets passed down by generation, as each generation gets poisoned by
it. Unwitting outsiders may not know about it and get either discouraged or poisoned by it. The only way to stop
it is to confrontit, acknowledge it and stop it.

Today's Action: Be honest with yourself, before God as He knows all that's in your heart, and admit to yourself
and Him if there are any negative attitudes or emotions residing within. Take steps to eradicate such negativity, it might
take some time, so that your heart can breathe free from the negativity, and sweetness, and saltiness, can return.

©2014, Gretchen Offord, Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching. All rights reserved.

 
"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching (Leadership; Mentoring; Counseling ) ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
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