A Hope that Soars | May 21st, 2018

Have you ever stared up at the sky and watched with wonder how birds effortlessly soar through the air? They seem so peaceful as they freely allow their wings to carry them up high above the earth below. 

A bird’s wings are made up of many kinds of feathers. The primary feathers, also called “fingertip” feathers, are the longest and are responsible for thrust to propel the bird forward while in flight. The birds can soar peacefully because they trust their wings will bring them safely to their destination and can keep their focus on whatever lies ahead.

I was looking through a greeting card rack one day and spotted a card I really liked. On the outside was a drawing of a beautiful feather. Underneath it read: Hope is the feather that reminds us we have wings!

I loved it! I was immediately inspired and got to work designing gemstone necklaces with feather pendants as reminders to never lose hope…

Earthly Hope

Your wings are in the form of an all-powerful God in whom you can place your trust to carry you high above life’s inevitable disappointments. Without Him, you may easily find yourself experiencing deep, dark feelings of hopelessness. 

This life is filled with disappointments in every form for anyone living on this imperfect planet. Tears are shed and deep pain is felt when the hopes and dreams you have longed for with everything in you are shattered into a million pieces. After years of continued disappointments, expectation for anything good to happen can slowly fade away. Without hope, life begins to lose its meaning.

A wish is the kind of hope that relates to earthly desires. King Solomon had been given everything he could ever wish for in life – wealth, wisdom, women, palaces, the very best food and wine, and so much more. Anything his heart desired, he pursued. Although he was given everything he wanted, he admitted it was all a disappointment to him and had no meaning:

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14

A Different Kind of Hope

The kind of hope that God has for you is not wishful thinking for things you believe will make you happy. God’s hope is defined in the Bible as confident expectation.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Although you cannot see God, you can have full confidence that He is working for your ultimate good here on earth and for your future to be able to spend eternity with Him because of His promises to you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

It is so important to have your mind in the right place, set on what God desires for you, keeping your hope focused on what truly matters. You will then be able to experience God’s perfect peace even during life’s most despairing disappointments. 

If you have an earthly mindset, you will constantly be hoping to acquire this or that while here on earth, thinking these are the things that really matter in life. But you will always be disappointed, even when you are given exactly what you want. 

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

Necessary Armor

To keep your hope set on eternal things that will never disappoint, the Apostle Paul encourages putting on armor for defensive protection:

Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17

You need the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, to know what is important to God which is anything with eternal value. To get a clear view of His values, you need to be spending time regularly reading the Bible, making it a priority. 

And you also need the helmet of salvation. A helmet protects the head – the part of the body that is used for thinking and making choices. It protects you from losing sight of what is most important by keeping your hope set on the eternal, or what is unseen. If salvation is your helmet, your focus is on the hope of being delivered from your sin so you can inherit eternal life.

For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? Romans 8:24

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

Without the sword and the helmet, you can get stuck keeping your hope focused on what is temporary (seen) here on earth which will only bring disappointment in the end. Eternal hope (unseen) provides the drive to persevere through this life, enduring all of the inevitable despair you must face. This kind of hope does not disappoint because it is based on God’s promises which will never fail. 

My Greatest Hope

My greatest earthly hope in life was for my mother to be able to win her fight against breast cancer. We had a very close relationship, so my wish was for us to be able to spend many more wonderful years together. Sadly, my hope ended in unimaginable pain and disappointment as she passed away and I could no longer share life with her. 

My eternal hope, however, is much brighter. It is the confident expectation that I will see her again one day in our eternal home in heaven where all of our tears will be wiped away from our eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. (Revelation 21:4) 

The next time you look up and see the wings of a bird fully extended and soaring effortlessly through the sky, remember to keep your focus set on the things above and to keep your trust in God whose promises never fail. When you go through times of weakness, He will be there to give you the thrust to propel you forward from feelings of complete despair to a bright, eternal hope…the hope that will keep you soaring with confident expectation.

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Ask God to help you shift your focus from earthly hope to eternal hope so you can experience His peace, even in the midst of life’s greatest disappointments. 

Sparkler #2: Action

Put on your armor each day by spending time in God’s Word so you have the sword of the Spirit and keep your hope focused on the eternal with the helmet of salvation. 

Sparkler #3: Challenge

Spend less time pursuing earthly things that you think will make you happy but in the end only disappoint, and more time on that which has eternal value. 

*Male mallard photo by Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com

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.

Deeply Rooted in Christ | May 7th, 2018

Spring has sprung! I love this time of year when everything seems to be alive with vibrant color and energy. Baby birds are chirping loudly, squirrels are out of hibernation playfully chasing each other up and down the trees, green grass has begun to spread, and the magnificence of God’s paintbrush at work is all around. Signs of new life are everywhere you look!

I even find reminders of spring when I am out hunting for vintage costume jewelry to repurpose. I am especially fond of this 1950s sunny yellow glass flower I found – a vintage clip earring which I repurposed into a ring:

Welcoming Spring

I always look forward to those first warm days of spring so I can begin doing what I love…digging in the dirt. There are usually a few droopy flowers left over in the ground after the cold winter, along with several hearty, pesky weeds needing to be pulled up as well.

After picking out a variety of bright, welcoming color at my local nursery to fill in the empty flower beds, I decide exactly how I want to arrange it all. I then take each plant out of its plastic container, breaking up the roots so they can spread more easily and form a good foundation for the plant.

After digging several small holes for their new, much more natural environment, they are ready to be placed in the ground. It is so therapeutic for me and incredibly gratifying to see the gorgeous display of color when I am finished. I can officially say “goodbye” to gray, dreary winter and cheerfully welcome spring in full color!

Deep-Rooted Weeds

Before you have established a relationship with God, your life can look a lot like those colorless flower beds filled in with weeds. The weeds represent the sins in your life that can grow deep, sturdy roots if you let them. The more you live for yourself, the less God becomes a part of your views, motives, beliefs, and life plans. The weeds take over as you try to be the one in control. It is only when you give up complete control to the Master Gardener that you start to see the weeds disappear and beautiful flowers take their place.

After giving your life to Christ, you become a brand new creation on the inside. He gives you spiritual eyes to see much differently – to look outwardly toward Christ rather than inwardly toward self. You begin to see all the different weeds in your life that have grown deep roots, leaving no space for the beautiful flowers, the fruit of the Spirit, to come through. When you choose to live for Christ, the fruit in your life is evidence that your character is becoming more like His.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some of those weeds have such deep roots that it will simply take time and a lot of work between you and the Holy Spirit (your helper) to uproot them. It is the constant struggle between worldly passions and your passion for doing that which will please God.

The Apostle Paul experienced this exact struggle in his own life:

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:18-20

If those weeds stay deeply rooted, you will not be able to grow in your relationship with Christ. Three of the most common kinds of weeds that often have the deepest roots in our lives are pride, worry, and bitterness.

Pride

If pride is deeply rooted, it will reign on the throne of your life as king and arrogantly rule it. Pride exalts self above God, killing your passion and desire for Him. There is no room for a relationship with God or for bringing Him glory when pride is there. It is self-destructive and a relationship destroyer of God and others. Pride is behind every sin committed.

God desires for you to have a spirit of humility instead of pride. For those who follow Christ, this means living in complete dependence on Him with no reliance on self. How freeing is that to know He wants you to rely on Him for everything! There is nothing you must do in your own strength when you are living in His will. He has the perfect plan for your life that will bring you the most joy and the best possible relationship with Him, so it just makes sense to fully depend on Him and not on yourself!

If you struggle with pride, confess your sin to God and ask Him to replace your pride with humility so He can be King of your life.

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2b

Worry 

When worry is deeply rooted, you are not fully trusting God. It is so easy to worry about significant things in life like your health, finances, and relationships. But worry increases stress and decreases peace. It keeps you in a continual state of anxiety, increasing stress hormones which can have a toxic affect on the body leading to serious physical consequences such as heart attacks, stomach ulcers, stroke, and depression, to name a few.

Interestingly, the earliest meaning of the word worry came from the Old English verb wyrgan which meant “to strangle.” Worry can definitely choke the peace right out of your life!

Instead of worrying, God wants you to trust Him completely. When you give your worries to God, you can then view your circumstances from His perspective. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and can easily handle anything that comes your way, no matter how difficult it seems.

If you struggle with worry, ask God to replace everything you worry about with a deep trust in Him so you can have freedom to totally rely on Him to care for you and give you perfect peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Bitterness

Deeply rooted bitterness is the result of an unforgiving heart. If you harbor bitterness, it will alienate you from others because you cannot love when you are unforgiving. You may not want to forgive in an attempt to cause pain to the one who hurt you. But ironically, you are the one who will end up suffering most!

Bitterness keeps the focus away from God, making it impossible to have an intimate relationship with Him. If you have been wronged, know that it is God’s job, not yours, to make things right. He simply wants you to forgive so you do not have to carry around the heavy burden from bitterness.

The act of forgiveness is obedience to God. In the Greek, the word forgive is aphesis meaning, “a sending away, a letting go, a release as from bondage or imprisonment.” God desires for you to have that freedom and makes it very clear in His Word that as a follower of Christ, you are expected to forgive when someone wrongs you, just as He does for you.

Once you forgive, you are released from your anger, resentment, and bitterness which gives you the freedom to love again and receive the healing you need to be spiritually healthy. It is then possible to restore the relationship between you and God when you are living in obedience to Him.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Stay Focused on Christ

There are many other weeds that can become deeply rooted in your life when you are focused on yourself rather than on Christ, creating distance between you and God. Once your focus becomes directed on Him, He will reveal to you exactly what needs to be uprooted with His help. This is how King David prayed when he humbled his heart before God:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

To stay focused on Christ for an intimate relationship with Him, spend time regularly reading His Word. When your mind is set on what He desires, you will be less controlled by your sinful nature and more controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5 

Ask the Master Gardener to reveal the kinds of weeds you need help removing from your life so you can live in freedom as the new creation He has made you to be. As the weeds begin to disappear, the beauty of Christ inside of you will take their place, becoming deeply rooted with a strong foundation. You can then reflect God’s desire for you to live a life abundantly evident that the old has passed away and behold, the new has come!

Spiritual Sparklers

Sparkler #1: Prayer

Ask God to strengthen the vision of your spiritual eyes so you can keep your focus off of yourself and onto Christ with a deep desire for Him and a passion for what He desires.

Sparkler #2: Action

Be the new creation God has made you to be by humbling your heart, asking Him to reveal to you the weeds that need to be pulled along with the courage to let them go.

Sparker #3: Challenge

Make time to read God’s Word each day so you can have a more intimate relationship, giving Him complete control so your life will reflect His beauty seen in the undeniable work of the Master Gardener.

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 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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