The Power of Words  | April 6th, 2018

Words. We use them every day to communicate. People have always thought women speak many more words than men, but surprisingly, the latest research has found that men and women use approximately the same number of words a day! A scientific study in 2007 led by Dr. Matthias Mehl, Psychology Professor and Director of the Naturalistic Observation of Social Interaction Laboratory at the University of Arizona, found on average that women speak 16,215 words per day compared to men’s 15,669.

So often, we neglect to give much thought to our words before they come out of our mouths. We are all guilty of being careless with what we say, but we must realize words are not simply different sounds passing through our lips. Words have very real power. In fact, it was the power of God’s words that spoke the world into existence!

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:3

Power to Destroy and Build Up

We, too, have power in our words because we were made in God’s image. It is a unique gift from God to us, unlike any other living being on this planet, to be able to communicate with words.

Our words have the power to destroy. With words, good reputations have been damaged, stable careers have been devastated, and intimate relationships have been severed. The tongue, as small as it is, can cause massive destruction.

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. James 3:5 

But our words also have the power to build up. Think about how you feel when someone sincerely praises you for something that they admire in you. You probably feel a huge boost in your spirit and incredibly encouraged. A good word spoken at the right time can be life changing! But when words have been spoken that are harsh and hurtful toward you, it has the opposite effect, tearing you down and destroying your spirit. Words are powerful!

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

What exactly does this verse mean? Those who take pleasure in communicating with others will eat the fruit of their words, meaning they will reap the consequences of what comes out of their mouths, whether good or bad. If you are a talker like me, you probably need to put forth extra effort in thinking before you speak!

I have found Psalm 141:3 to be a great prayer for me to say quite frequently…

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

Unwholesome Talk

The Apostle Paul has good advice for those who follow Christ…

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

In Greek, the word, unwholesome, is sapros meaning “rotten.” The Bible includes slander, gossip, criticizing, arguing, complaining, boasting, lying, and filthy language as unwholesome talk. Also included is taking God’s holy name in vain by using it in an empty, dishonoring way such as in the common exclamation, “Oh my God.”

What a list of ways we can easily spew rotten words out of our mouths! God knew in advance it would be difficult for us to keep control of our tongues, so when we make a decision to follow Christ, He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us know when we are sinning with our tongues.

“Dead” Stones

I am always on the lookout for the most sparkly vintage costume jewelry I can find for repurposing. Often times, after many years of wear, the rhinestones begin to darken. In jewelry terminology, a dull rhinestone that has turned from clear and sparkling to dull and gray is called a “dead” stone. Nobody I know is attracted to jewelry with dead stones, so I always pass up those pieces without a second glance.

The dead stones that lack sparkle remind me of the words that can come out of our mouths if we are not careful. Jesus warns strongly against careless words:

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

Words have so much power when spoken that we are going to give an account of what we say when we stand before Jesus Christ. This may create a great deal of anxiety for you and many others, but know that He loves you no matter how much you sin with your words and fully forgives you so you do not have to carry around guilt and shame. He took all of that for you when He died on the cross!

The Heart / Mouth Connection

Why do we say the things we say? The Bible talks about how there is a direct connection between the heart and mouth:

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b

Whatever is in your heart will come out of your mouth. If you are filled with anger, anger will come out. If you are filled with kindness, loving words will come out. Think of your heart like a fountain and your words are the streams of water flowing out of it. If the fountain is polluted, the water will come out dirty – maybe even quite muddy. But if the fountain is clean and pure, the water will be clear and sparkling.

We all have a need for our heart to be transformed in different ways. No matter how long you have been walking with God, there are always going to be things that need to be changed inside of you. It is an on-going process while you are still here on earth.

As your relationship with God continues to grow by talking to Him in prayer and spending more time with Him in His Word, allow Him to work in you so you can be more like Him. You will slowly begin to see a change in your heart which will transfer to the way you speak. Your words will be full of blessing when your heart is full of blessing.

Bless Others with Your Words 

As followers of Christ, we are to be different from the rest of the world so that people will be drawn to us and we can have an opportunity to share God’s love for them. So how are we to use our words in a way that we can be a blessing to others and a better reflection of Christ? Here are a few good ways…

Bless others with kindness. 

Speak with compassion and gentleness. Have a grace-filled heart.

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24

 

Bless others with gratitude.

Let them know how much you appreciate them! Have a thankful heart.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 118:29

 

Bless others with encouragement.

Make an effort to give an encouraging word to someone every day. You never know how it might change a person’s life. Have a loving heart.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

Bless others with positivity and purity in your words.

Cut out all slander, gossip, criticizing, arguing, complaining, boasting, lying, and filthy language. Have a heart of blessing.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Words have power. Let us use them in a way to build one another up, not tear each other down. As you grow closer to the Lord, may your words reflect a heart that truly sparkles!

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

If you struggle with your tongue, ask God to show you where you need change in your heart. Be open to that change and allow Him to transform you from the inside out.

Sparkler #2: Action

Take more time to think before you speak. Make sure the words you say are those that build up rather than tear down so you can be a better reflection of Christ and His love for others.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Ask a trusted friend to help keep you accountable for your words so you can be more aware of what is going on in your heart and coming out of your mouth.

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

The Ticking Treasure of Time | March 13th, 2018

Today is March 13th, a date I will always remember with extreme sadness and heartache. Six years have now come and gone since that day I had to say goodbye to my beautiful mother after losing her battle with breast cancer. It was the day a piece of my heart left me when she left this earth. She watched me take my very first breath when I was born into this world and I watched her take her very last. I miss her so deeply. My heart still hurts from the overwhelming loss of not having her here anymore. Although our time together was cut short, I am so grateful for the years I was graciously given with her.

One of the most important lessons I learned from my incredibly wise mother was about giving the gift of time. I remember asking her every birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas what she would like to receive for a gift and she always had the same response: “I want YOU, Kimberly!” What she meant by that was she wanted my time. There was nothing I could give her materially that could ever amount to the precious treasure of giving her my time.

Time is precious because each one of us has a set amount of it which cannot be replaced. Once it is used, you can never get it back. It is a portion of your life that is gone forever. Time is truly the most valuable gift you can give to someone.

Strengthen Relationships with Your Time

If a relationship is important to you, you need to make time for it. Investing in the person by giving them your time is the only way to truly strengthen your connection. When you show someone they are worth your time, your relationship becomes deeper, stronger, and more meaningful.

I do not remember many of the material gifts I gave my mother over the years, but I do remember the experiences we shared together. One of my favorites was a fun day we spent being pampered, sitting in comfy massage chairs while getting relaxing cucumber pedicures. I loved our mother-daughter weekends and treasured them even more when we lived in separate states and did not get to spend as much time together.

We live in an incredibly busy world with so much pulling at us for our time from all different directions. But one of the most valuable places to invest your time is in relationships. Strong social relationships are known to benefit one’s health with advantages such as a better immune system and reduced stress. Research has shown that people who are socially isolated are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease compared to those with a strong social circle.

According to data from the General Social Survey (GSS), the number of Americans who say they have no close friends has almost tripled in the last few decades. It also shows that the most common response when people are asked how many confidants they have is “zero.” Those are very sad statistics. For optimal well-being, a person needs between three and five close friends. How many can you say that you have right now?

Know that you will get out of your friendships what you put into them. Time is certainly the most important, but the way you give your time is also critical to keeping your relationships with your friends strong and solid.

Make an Effort

A relationship is two-sided. If you have ever had a friendship with someone where you feel like you are the only one putting forth any effort in communicating or getting together, you know how hard it is to keep that friendship going. It usually does not last. The effort must come from both sides because it shows how much you care about investing in the friendship.

Texting a friend to let them know you are thinking of them is a nice gesture, especially on busy days, but friendships cannot live on texts alone. It is important to take a little more time and effort now and then to talk to them on the phone. How uplifting it is to hear a friend’s voice on the other end! Having a conversation where you can share real emotions instead of emojis and laugh out loud together instead of simply texting “LOL” adds so much more richness to a friendship.

Make face-to-face time a priority. Meet with your friend in person over a cup of coffee or take a walk together on a pretty day. A great way to strengthen your friendship is to find an activity you would both enjoy and invite your friend to share that experience with you. How valued your friend will feel knowing you made the extra effort to find a fun activity to share together!

Not long ago, a friend of mine invited me to a fabulous chocolate festival. We both love chocolate, so after I happily accepted her offer, she bought a ticket to the event for me and told me it was her treat. I felt so special! She made an effort to spend time with me and I knew, without a doubt, that she truly valued our friendship.

If you have anyone in your life who makes an effort to get together with you – to see you face-to-face and spend time with you – by all means, be responsive and consider yourself blessed! If you ignore their invitation or put off getting together with this friend who has offered their precious time to you, do not expect them to continue to ask. So be courteous and respond. And if you cannot get together at that time, make the effort to reach out to them to put another date on the calendar that works for both of you. That tells them you sincerely value the friendship.

On that same note, if you ask a friend to set aside time for you to get together, do everything in your power to keep that time reserved for them. Do not make plans with someone only to break them again and again. Keep your commitment to them and then show up on time which is communicating that you are a person of your word, the foundation of your reliability. This is important because relationships are built on trust.

Immerse Yourself in the Moment 

When you are enjoying face-to-face time with a friend, how present are you? There are so many distractions going on around us that it is very easy to pay attention to everything but the person sitting across from us. One of the worst distractions, in my opinion, is the cell phone. I say this because I have experienced that awful feeling of sitting there, eating a meal in silence for several minutes (which seemed like an eternity), while my friend across from me is texting madly about something much more important than our conversation.

What a statement it would make about how much you value your friend if you put your phone away (out of sight) during the short time you have while sharing that face-to-face time together! It also says, “I respect your time which is the most valuable gift you could give me and I want to be fully present for you.”

To be “fully present” means to immerse yourself in the moment, completely focused on your friend sitting there in front of you and all they are sharing with you. You are engrossed and engaged in the conversation, listening intently without interruption or thinking about what you are going to say next. You ask relevant questions and allow your friend to share equally. You give good eye contact so they know you are really listening. Is there anything worse than sharing your feelings with someone only to realize their mind (and eyes) are elsewhere? It seems like a waste of words – and your precious time, not to mention how hurtful it may feel to you. There is so much to be gained from being fully present and actively engaged…like keeping a good friend!

Show Appreciation

Spending some time to express to your friend how much you appreciate them goes a long way. If they have been kind or thoughtful toward you, be sure to thank them! Those two little words, “thank you,” can mean so much to a person when they are acknowledged for their efforts.

Show your appreciation by being generous with your words – in the moment. If there is something you admire about your friend, let them know right then and there. It is such a boost to the heart, mind, and spirit to hear affirming words.

Celebrate their birthday in a meaningful way to help them know how important their friendship is to you. A birthday signifies the day they were born and should be celebrated in a special way. When you celebrate them, you are expressing gratitude for the blessing their friendship has brought to you which would not be possible if they had never been born!

Take time to send a handwritten note of thankfulness for them being in your life. The impact of handwritten messages lasts much longer than any high-tech alternative version. There is no comparison to this traditional and intentional means of conversation. To be able to write thoughtfully, you must be focused on the present moment. It is a powerful message you are sending to them when you take the time to write out your thoughts by hand, purchase a stamp, place it in the mailbox, and wait days for your friend to receive it. There is nothing else like it!

When all of these ways of showing appreciation come from the heart, you are fertilizing the seeds of friendship and over time, you will be able to see them grow into beautiful blooms.

I am so thankful my mother taught me the value of giving your time and am beyond grateful for each moment we spent together, face-to-face, while she was here with me. Your time on earth is steadily ticking and one day it will come to an end as well. Choose wisely how you will spend your precious treasure of limited time. Spend it on relationships and you can be sure you will never regret it.

Written in honor of my mother, Susan Nelson, who passed away six years ago today on March 13, 2012.

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

Kindle the Fire of Enthusiasm | February 6th, 2018

It is definitely winter. The temperature has been dropping rapidly from one day to the next, leaving an unfriendly, bone-chilling bite in the air. The trees have lost all of their leaves, the skies are gray and dreary, and there is not even a hint of new green growth on the plants. It is truly the “dead of winter.”

As dead as it may seem, have you ever looked out on freshly fallen snow and seen a glistening sparkle as the sun shines above it? Although the season of winter is gray, dreary, bleak, and bare, God makes sure we can still see His touch of sparkle in it!

Attracted to Sparkle

We are all attracted to sparkle in one way or another. Beginning when we were children, there has been a natural fascination in humans toward that which glitters, shines, radiates light, or, in other words, sparkles. I know I am definitely attracted to sparkle as it is a “must-have” for me in the vintage costume jewelry I collect to repurpose. Here are a few of my favorite super sparkly pieces, all from the 1950s:

Sparkle is important to God, too. He wants so desperately for others to see His sparkle in us so they will come to know Him in the way we reflect Him.

An Escape through Hibernation

The Latin word for winter is hibernal. Many animals, such as bats, squirrels, and bears, become inactive or dormant and go into a state of hibernation to conserve energy during this season when food is scarce. The body temperature of a ground squirrel drops close to freezing, while a bear’s heart rate can plummet to just 8 beats per minute. Just a couple degrees and a few heart beats away from death!

Do you ever feel like going into hibernation, withdrawing from others and perhaps even from God when life becomes too painful? It may seem like hibernating is the easiest escape, especially when you are experiencing mental or emotional pain that has led to anger, resentment, or bitterness. But when these feelings are allowed to fester, you may find yourself blaming God for your circumstances. Without much notice, your spiritual temperature is on the verge of death, becoming as frigid as the outdoors in the dead of winter. And any sparkle you once had is long gone.

Live with Enthusiasm

Another word for that sparkle is “enthusiasm.” It comes from the Greek enthousiasmos which consists of the root words “en” meaning in and “theos” meaning God. So the meaning of enthusiasm is “God within.” Therefore, a person with enthusiasm is one who acts and speaks as if they had God living within them!

If you are a follower of Christ, your purpose on this planet is to be a radiant light to others to show them God’s love so they can have a relationship with Him, know they can be forgiven from their sins forever, and have eternal life. When you sparkle inside and out with enthusiasm, people take notice. But if you have decided to hibernate, allowing your sparkle to fade away, you lose out on many incredible opportunities to show God’s love to others.

Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:15-16

From Ashes to a Blaze

In Romans 12:11, the Apostle Paul instructs believers:

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Perhaps you are wondering how this is at all possible with a spiritual temperature near freezing from all the pain you have experienced in your life. You may have grown angry, resentful, and bitter toward God. Your fervor – your enthusiasm, intensity, and passion for Him – is nothing but ashes now from what was perhaps, at one time, a blazing fire.

So how do you get that fire burning intensely once again? All fires need three elements to burn. These include heat, oxygen, and fuel. If you remove any one of them, the fire will not burn.

Heat

The heat needed to get your inner fire kindled is transformation. You cannot go on living with anger, resentment, and bitterness toward God and expect to live with enthusiasm for Him. A dramatic change in your heart, mind, and spirit must take place and can only happen over time through the work of the Holy Spirit. It might feel like some serious heat when you allow Him to make significant changes inside of you. But once you are willing to yield to Him, He will shape you to be more like Christ as a reflection of Him. And that of course, includes plenty of sparkle!

Here is a great prayer that you can say to begin your journey of transformation…

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Oxygen

The oxygen necessary for kindling a good fire within you is your breath. With it, you are able to talk to God. You cannot be enthusiastic about someone with whom you do not have a relationship. Your closest friends are those who take time to listen to you sharing your feelings, your hopes and dreams, and your triumphs and losses. God is always ready to listen to you pour out your heart to Him!

The other component to having a close friendship is learning about the other person, listening to them as they share themselves with you. God gives you His Word, the Bible, so you can know all about Him and His powerful, loving, and merciful character. This is how He speaks to you. The more you get to know Him, the more you will love Him and have a better understanding of how He is working in your life through your circumstances. Feed the flames of your enthusiasm by getting into His Word every day to discover how He can help you live victoriously for Him no matter how painful and difficult life has been for you.

Using your breath for giving thanks will also keep your fire going. When you stop being grateful, focusing more on what you do not have instead of on God’s goodness, your fire will slowly begin to flicker out and die. You have been given so much and should never run out of things for which to thank Him as long as you live. So start each day being grateful. A thankful heart is a heart that sparkles!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Fuel

The fuel that is needed for kindling a blazing fire is other people, the fire’s embers. This means hibernation is out! We are not meant to live our lives in seclusion. When the embers are far apart, the fire will eventually be extinguished. But once you get them close together again, the flames return.

This fuel works in two ways. First, when you find others who truly sparkle with a passion to live for Christ, they will help fuel your fire. In other words, their enthusiasm will rub off on you. That is why it is vital to have godly friends in your life. When you are close to those who are burning passionately for God, you will be ignited! Once your fire is sparked, you will become more enthusiastic about sharing God’s love with those who do not know Him. If you haven’t done so already, find a church home where the truth is taught, God is glorified, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to meet godly friends.

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26

Secondly, serving others will also add fuel to your fire. Every follower of Christ is given a spiritual gift. There is no greater joy than when you are using it to serve and bless others. This is one sure way to increase your spiritual temperature! God is always ready to use you to bring glory to Him through your gifts which will not only bless others but will also bless you in unimaginable ways as well. You just have to be willing to be used by God which can only happen through a transformed heart, mind, and spirit.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

It may be the dead of winter, but when you are living with enthusiasm for God, you cannot be more alive! You will shimmer with a dazzling sparkle and glow with radiance from the blazing fire within that can never be extinguished.

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

If you are struggling with pain in your life that has led to anger, resentment, or bitterness in your heart, ask God to help you release it and yield to Him so He can do His mighty work of transformation in you.

Sparkler #2: Action

Make sure you continually have all the elements necessary to keep your inner fire burning to live enthusiastically for God so that others may see your sparkle and come to know Him through you.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Find a way to serve and bless others using your spiritual gift. If you do not know what your gift is, know that the more you serve, the more you will discover what comes naturally to you. And you will reap huge blessings in return!

*Bear photo by Neil Powell Photography.

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

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Rock Solid Stability  | December 11th, 2017

The holiday season is always a great excuse for me and my husband, Michael to get away on the road for a nice break from our busy, routine schedules. We often choose the Hill Country in Texas as our destination with its quaint towns, unique wineries with breathtaking views, and of course, antique shops galore! During one of these road trips, we stopped off in Blanco and meandered into their Main Street antique shop.

It was inside one of their glass cases that I noticed a very tarnished silver metal and turquoise pin. The turquoise looked authentic, so my first thought was that underneath the tarnish, it must be sterling silver. The shop owner informed me it was definitely a vintage piece, but she was not sure of the type of metal used in the pin.

I flipped it over to look at the price and to my surprise, it was only nine dollars! Now, I have never in my life bought a real turquoise pin for a price that low. I figured I might have an incredible treasure if the metal turned out to be sterling silver, so I happily paid my nine dollars and polished it up as soon as we got home. As I was vigorously rubbing the back of the pin with silver polish, I began to see the etching of the numbers: 925. That is the symbol for sterling silver! I was elated!

I did a little research about the design and discovered it was a Zuni petit point turquoise piece from the 1970s. It was designed by one of the many Native American Indian tribes who developed their own style using turquoise in their designs. This was definitely an incredible treasure!

December’s Birthstone, Turquoise

Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for December. The name turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone.” It got its name due to the trade routes that brought turquoise to Europe. It came from the mines in central Asia and then went through Turkey. Venetian merchants often purchased turquoise at Turkish bazaars.

Turquoise is an opaque mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum. It is found in stunning hues of blue, bluish-green, green, and yellowish-green. Blue minerals are quite rare in general, so turquoise has become very desirable, especially in the robin’s egg blue color.

Turquoise has been treasured as a gemstone for thousands of years, used in manufacturing jewelry and ornamental objects. It has become so well-known that the word is commonly used in the English language as the name of the blue-green color.

I remember recently using the word when my husband and I were in Colorado visiting my sister and her family. As we were walking in the downtown area of Colorado Springs, I said to Michael, “What a great pop of color on this building! Let’s get our picture taken in front of this turquoise post!” Like a good husband, he complied.

Stabilized Turquoise

Turquoise forms best in an arid climate. Significant amounts have been found in New Mexico and Nevada. Currently, Arizona is the leading turquoise-producing state.

Only a very small amount of turquoise that is mined today can be used without some type of treatment. Untreated turquoise is very rare. When it comes straight from the mine, the turquoise is usually too soft, porous, and fragile for manufacturing into jewelry because it can easily break or crumble. Once it is stabilized with a polymer or other binding material, it is then durable enough to be cut and used in making jewelry. This is called stabilized turquoise.

In Instability We Trust

This world we live in is a lot like turquoise – very fragile and unstable. Even so, we can often find ourselves putting our trust in it. We trust in the “stable” company in which we have worked for years. We trust in our nicely padded “stable” bank account. And we trust in the “stability” of our loyal friends and family. At least for a little while.

Then, all of a sudden something happens to break that trust. The company to which you have given hours and hours of your precious time and energy tells you they are downsizing and your job is no longer. You have an unexpected health crisis and your bank account quickly begins to diminish. And your significant other whom you thought was so loyal, falls in love with someone else. All of that so-called “stability” has now crumbled.

Strong and Unshakable 

So where do you turn when everything in life seems so unstable? Elohim, which comes from the Hebrew meaning “strength” or “power” is the first name for God found in the Bible and is used in the Old Testament over 2,300 times! God is described throughout His Word as a strong tower, rock, fortress, and refuge. Exactly what we need when everything around us is crumbling and falling apart!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The man who does what is right runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

When you grow in your knowledge of God, you begin to understand how powerfully strong and unshakable He really is. So different from the world we live in! It becomes much easier to run to Him for your stability when you truly know Him. That is because you can fully trust Him to provide exactly what you need…a dependable place of shelter, protection, and security.

Spend Time with God

If you want to get to know someone, you have to spend time with them. To get to know God, you must spend time in His Word which is how He speaks to you. The Bible is filled with His stable promises and everything you need to know about His steadfast character. He is faithful, unchanging, and completely unshakable. When the things in your life begin to lose their stability, God is right there to hold you steady. There is no reason to fear the instability around you because God is your strong tower, your solid rock, and your safe refuge.

Spending time with God also includes talking to Him frequently in prayer…thanking Him for all He does for you and telling Him about your hopes and dreams, your greatest needs, and your deepest desires. As you become closer and more intimate in your relationship with Him, you will be able to experience His deep love for you to the fullest. Your trust will grow and grow and you will lean less and less on your own understanding of things and start to acknowledge Him in everything you do. Soon, you will begin to notice that your hopes, dreams, needs, and desires will change over time to align much more closely with God’s perfect plans and purposes for your life.

Become Rooted in Christ 

We recently took a trip to Houston for Michael’s 30th high school reunion. Before arriving at the big event, we drove around his old neighborhood. He found the street he used to live on and pointed out to me his memory-filled home. In the front yard was an enormous tree that was planted by his family 33 years ago. Back then, it was a tiny little sapling. But by now, it had reached a height far above the roof of the house.

As a tree grows taller, its roots grow deeper and the tree becomes more established. The word, established, comes from the Latin stabiles, meaning “firm, steady, or stable.” The roots, essential for life, carry water and nourishment to the rest of the tree. The depth of the roots, however, depends on the soil and climate conditions.

As you grow closer to God and become more nourished through reading His Word and spending time with Him in prayer, your roots grow deeper. The more time you spend with Him the greater your trust becomes in the One who gives you His strength with no need to fear when things become unstable all around you. Similar to when a tree is deeply rooted after many years from when it was first planted, it does not have to fear heat or drought.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Our Solid Rock

In 1834, Edward Mote wrote a well-known hymn about having our stability in Christ. Here is the second stanza of his hymn, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less:”

When darkness veils His lovely face,

I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale

My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Just like turquoise, when you add a source of true stability, you become strong and can resist crumbling from the uncertainties in life. That stability can only be found in Christ alone, our solid Rock. And just like robin’s egg blue turquoise (and that Zuni petit point pin), an incredible treasure.

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Ask God to help you trust Him when things start to crumble around you, knowing His plans and purposes for your life are perfect.

Sparkler #2: Action

Make it a priority to spend time each day in God’s Word and talking to Him in prayer so you can get to know His steadfast character to help you build your trust in Him.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Write down your fears – the things in your life that have no stability. Then, write down the scriptures that describe God as a strong tower, rock, fortress, refuge, and strength. Read them out loud each day as a good reminder that true stability can only be found in Him.

*Turquoise from Los Cerrillos, NM; Photographer: Tim Evanson

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com.

Lasting Joy through God’s Grace | November 20th, 2017

It was one of those perfect weekends to do a little hunting for vintage jewelry to repurpose. It has become such a fun hobby for me over the years, as well as a part-time business, so I like to keep a good variety of repurposed pieces available to sell, especially when I am asked to speak to women’s groups on the history of vintage costume jewelry. Whenever I find any pieces with the maker’s mark, it also becomes an educational experience for me. I am always very interested in learning everything I can about the designer or company who created the piece, so I spend a good bit of time researching the history behind it all.

I stopped by a local antique show and noticed one particular brooch made of glass rhinestones, small pearls, and gold filigree that was quite enticing. It had “W. Germany” stamped on the back of it.

Through my research after purchasing it, I discovered that soon after Germany had been devastated from WWII, West Germany set out to rebuild their economy. They went through a time of very rapid reconstruction, experiencing what is known as Wirtschaftswunder or “economic miracle” throughout the 1950s.

From the late ’50s on, West Germany had one of the world’s strongest economies, partly due to increased production and manufacturing of goods such as costume jewelry. The materials they used had to be inexpensive because of its struggling economy. So they produced striking jewelry made of glass, imitating gemstones. The glass used in this brooch looked like the gemstone, citrine, which is the traditional birthstone for November.

November’s Birthstone, Citrine 

Citrine is a yellow quartz with its natural color ranging between a yellow and reddish orange. The darker colors in a golden orange hue are considered more rare, increasing the value. The mineral, iron, determines the color in quartz. Amethyst, a purple variety, is closely related to citrine. When iron is heated, the iron impurities are reduced, resulting in less violet purple colors shown in amethyst and more golden orange colors which you see in citrine. It is quite possible that quartz crystals, which grew naturally as amethyst, turned into citrine by the heat from nearby volcanic activity.

This yellow quartz, found mainly in Brazil, was renamed “citrine” over 450 years ago by a German scientist named Georg Bauer. He was known as “the father of mineralogy.” The name citrine was officially adopted in 1556 when Bauer used it in a publication about gemstones and jewelry. The root of the word comes from the French word citron meaning “yellow,” or the Latin word citrus for the color of citrus fruit such as a lemon or yellow citron.

Choosing Joy

Have you ever watched a baby taste a lemon for the first time? They scrunch up their face with a look of intense displeasure, not at all happy about having experienced this sour and unexpected new flavor. We often have that same kind of reaction inside of us when having to deal with an unexpected difficulty that comes our way. It can be a sour experience, but there are essential lessons we learn as we go through it that can build our character and make us stronger.

Thankfully, God does not expect us to go through painful trials and heartaches without His help. One of the best lifelines He gives us is joy. We can easily become stuck in our anger, bitterness, and sorrow, but He desires for us to choose joy instead, so we can reflect Him as we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

The Apostle Paul explains God’s will for those who follow Christ:

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Opportunities for Joy

I remember going through a tremendously difficult time financially after graduating from college, trying to figure out how I could possibly make a living as an entrepreneur. I so badly wanted to have my own business as a personal fitness trainer. I struggled for five years trying to make it work. But in the end, I had to make a major change in my life by leaving my dear sister who shared an apartment with me at the time, and moving to a much bigger city by myself where I knew no one in order to continue having my own business.

Moving to Dallas gave me the opportunity to experience so much joy as I grew closer to God, trusting and relying on Him to direct every step I took, and watching Him bless me in the most amazing ways with my business and in many other areas of my life. It definitely tested my faith, but made me so much stronger after going through it.

Dear brothers and sisters when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

Bearing Fruit

There is a major difference between worldly joy and the joy the Holy Spirit gives us when we belong to Christ. Worldly joy is temporary and quickly comes and goes whereas the Holy Spirit’s joy is never-ending. There is always an abundant supply. As the Holy Spirit works to produce change in our character to be more like Him, the result is being able to see fruit in our lives such as joy, an important attribute of the fruit of the Spirit. Bearing fruit is a part of spiritual maturity.

The outer layer of a lemon or citron fruit (pictured) is called the flavedo or rind. It contains essential oils rich in terpenes which are glands that create a strong barrier against the attacks of insects and microorganisms to keep the fruit thriving on the vine. If we are to be filled with joy, especially through our trials, we must remain attached to Christ so He can be our strong barrier against the attacks of the enemy who would be delighted to see us not bearing any fruit. When we have a close relationship with God, He gives us abundant joy, even during our most difficult challenges in life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 

God’s Grace is our Joy

God deeply desires for us to experience lasting joy through Him. The words joy and rejoice appear in the Bible over 300 times! The Greek word for joy is “chara” which is closely related to “charis,” meaning grace or a gift. Chara is how we react to charis. We have joy because of God’s grace.

Through God’s grace, we can be joyful despite our circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength to get us through anything we go through in life, no matter how painful. When we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we as sinners are given so much grace, completely undeserved, as we become heirs to an inheritance that can never perish. There is no greater joy than that!

All honor to God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; for it is his boundless mercy that has given us the privilege of being born again so that we are now members of God’s own family. Now we live in the hope of eternal life because Christ rose again from the dead. And God has reserved for his children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 1 Peter 1:3-4

Worldly Joy

Commentator, Alexander MacLaren, had a great way of describing the end result of worldly joy:

“The saddest lives are those of pleasure-seekers, and the saddest deaths are those of the men who sought for joy where it was not to be found, and sought for their gratification in a world which leaves them, and which they have to leave.”

He went on to say, “Many of our earthly joys die in the very act of being enjoyed.” 

Have you ever experienced a time when you were savoring each delectable bite of your favorite dessert, when you got to a point where you absolutely could not eat anymore of it? Your taste buds were most likely on sugar-overload and it just wasn’t nearly as pleasurable anymore. Simply stated, your joy died in the very act of being enjoyed!

Lasting Joy

If all there was to joy was what the world offered, we would have good reason to stay stuck in our anger, bitterness, and sorrow. But lasting joy comes from having a deep relationship with Christ as we live in obedience to Him and experience His great love for us. It is an indescribable joy, difficult to express but easily experienced, and best of all, lasting throughout eternity.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:1

It didn’t take long for me to decide I was going to repurpose that beautiful, post-war West Germany citrine glass brooch into a long tassel necklace…one that could be a continuous reminder of the lasting joy we can have even when life seems like it is only giving us sour lemons. For we know our final destiny is to be with Christ in His glorious Kingdom for all eternity!

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Ask God to help you choose joy during the tough, painful challenges you face in your life. He desires for you to have it in all circumstances!

Sparkler #2: Action

If you struggle with having joy, spend more time talking to God in prayer and reading His Word so you can deepen your relationship with Him. Allow the Holy Spirit to help produce change in your life so you can bear more fruit.

Sparkler #3: Challenge

What opportunity for joy has God given you in a challenging situation you are facing right now? Use that opportunity to see how God is able to provide lasting joy for you.

*Citron fruit photo by Richard Huber

Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at www.kimberlymoorerings.com. 

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