Life Is Like a Tub Full of Glitter

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You’re kinda like a tub full of glitter.

Think about glitter. Isn’t it beautiful?! It’s mesmerizing! When I see a huge tub of glitter at the craft store, it makes me want to pour it out onto the floor and roll around in it! (Just kidding. No. I’m really not.)

But what is so special about glitter? Wikipedia explains how glitter is made: “First, flat multi-layered sheets are produced combining plastic, coloring, and reflective material such as aluminum, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and bismuth oxychloride. These sheets are then cut into tiny particles of many shapes.” Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. I know. I know. I didn’t meant to throw a boring definition at you…but a few things caught my attention. Stay with me.

1. Did you notice that glitter isn’t just made of one color or type of material? If I just cut up tons of tiny pieces of pink construction paper, would it even come close to the beauty of glitter? Heck no. I don’t want to roll around in a pile of pink pieces of paper. Well, I think it’s important to remember that people are kinda like that. Let me explain. There’s diversity in God’s creation. When He made you, he didn’t intend for you to be an exact copy of someone else. He made you to be you. Only you can be you. If you try to be something different, it’s kinda like telling God that His idea and His creation isn’t good enough. Yikes. Ain’t nobody wanting to do that!

2. When glitter is made, the materials get cut into several different shapes. They don’t just cut out tiny squares. They cut the materials into squares, circles, hexagons, octagons, etc. Well, you’re kinda like that. There’s more to who you are than just one thing. For example, if you play soccer, you’re not JUST a soccer player. Maybe you also have a really good voice and you enjoy singing in the church choir. Or maybe you’re an amazing student. Maybe you’re known for your kindness. Maybe people stop you in the store to comment on your beautiful hair. See? Who you are as a person, is a COMBINATION of the gifts, talents and character traits God has given you. It’s all those things coming together that make you beautiful.

3. I saved the best for last. What REALLY makes glitter stand out? Did you catch the part about using reflective materials? Do you know what reflective means? What happens when you look in a mirror? You see your reflection. What happens when you shine a light at something that is reflective, like aluminum foil? The light bounces off. What if you shine a light as something that has several reflective sides? The light bounces off in a bunch of different directions! It’s beautiful! Ok. Ok. Ok. Here’s the good part….as a child of the KING, you were made to reflect HIS IMAGE. It’s beautiful! As humans, we aren’t so beautiful on our own. We are actually bent toward sin. We are bent toward selfishness. We are bent toward pride. Bottom line…we are bent toward ugliness, not beauty. But there’s nothing more beautiful than the image of Jesus. And when we put our faith in Him, He gives us HIS image. He gives us HIS Love. He gives us HIS joy. He gives us HIS peace. He gives us HIS patience. He give us HIS kindness. He gives us HIS goodness. He gives us HIS faithfulness. He gives us HIS gentleness. He gives us HIS self-control. It’s beautiful!

My sweet friends, God wants you to be you, not someone else. He wants you to discover, enjoy and be confident in all the different aspects of who you are. And finally, He wants you to grow in Him, so you begin to look like His beautiful Son.

 

Your Most Desperate Need

Sad young woman

Your Most Desperate Need

 

Forgiveness of sins – it’s the most basic element to salvation.

 

If you’ve grown up in church, you’ve heard the word “forgiveness” and the phrase “forgiveness from sin” a million times. If you’re like me, I heard it so much, I began to lose sight of the depth that those words represent.

 

But friends, it’s important that you NEVER lose sight of how awful your sinful state really is, and how desperately you need the only remedy for it – Jesus Christ.

 

Think about it – Sin is like a cancer. It’s ugly. It’s sick. Sin leads to eternal death and it separates us from relationship with our God and Creator.

 

When we talk about sin, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we aren’t all that bad. I’m sure you’ve been tempted to think: “I’m a pretty good person. I don’t cuss. I’m not mean to people. I never get in trouble at school. I don’t cheat. I don’t steal.”

 

But, you see, those things are just symptoms of the sin sickness we ALL have. Actual, individual sins we commit, are just the outward symptoms of an inward heart sickness. Just because you consider yourself a “good person,” doesn’t mean you aren’t a sinner.

 

Again, it’s like cancer. Did you know people sometimes live quite awhile with cancer before they ever even realize there’s something inside them killing them? Some people don’t have any sickness symptoms before the cancer is finally discovered by doctors. A tumor can be growing inside of their body and they don’t even realize it. Eventually, a little ache here, a little pain there, causes them to go to their doctor. No, they don’t feel sick. No, they don’t feel like they’re dying. In fact, they feel pretty good. It’s just this little nagging ache that can’t be explained. Before they know it, the doctor is diagnosing them with something that, if left untreated, will kill them.

 

You can think of sin the same way. Even “good” people are dying from a nasty thing called sin. They can even live a good, American, comfortable, fun life. They can be the “good girl” at school who never gets in trouble, turns her A+ papers in on time, always wears a smile, keeps her herself looking just right and has it all together. They can be the family that sends beautiful Christmas cards featuring a glossy photo of themselves in coordinating outfits on the white sands of their fabulous, tropical beach vacation. They can be the hard-working executive who still finds time to volunteer for good causes and even donates large sums of money. They can be the grandma across the street who lets you swim in her pool and bakes you cookies. Listen – “good” people die and go to hell every day.

 

 

The Creator is Holy. He is God. He is Perfect. He has wrath toward sin. He can’t be with sin. So, if you are a sinner (and everyone is), you are forever separated from Him. You are destined to be forever without Him. That is hell. Life without God is hell. Death without Him is hell. Hell is a real, torturous place.

 

Friends, I’m just trying to remind us (myself included) about how desperately we need to be made right. I don’t care how “good” someone is, they’re dying of sin, and sin is an ugly, nasty condition. It leads to punishment. It leads to hell.

 

BUT GOD didn’t leave us in our hopeless state. He knows our sinful condition and provided a RESCUE PLAN! He loves us, and He did not want to be separated from us. He left His throne in heaven to COME TO US. The King of all creation, CAME TO US. He paid the price of sin FOR US! He sacrificed Himself FOR US! Listen, in all the world’s religions, little “g” gods just don’t do that. Other religions would call it “scandalous.” But, the one true God, the Creator of the Universe, calls it “love.”

 

Jesus is God. Jesus took on human flesh and came to earth in humble circumstances. Jesus was tempted just like us. Jesus lived a sinless life. Jesus’ life fulfilled countless prophecies foretold in ancient times. Though guiltless, Jesus was condemned to die a horrible Roman death on a cross. Although fully powerful, Jesus willingly took the punishment he did not deserve, and laid down His life on a cross. While on the cross, the sin of all humanity was dumped on Jesus. The wrath God has toward sin was then focused on Jesus and in that heart-breaking moment, God the Father had to look away from God the Son. In His death, Jesus even took on hell itself. But in His resurrection three days later, he conquered it. Yes, three days after his death on the cross, Jesus came back to life. This is where we get that spark of hope. Sin = death and hell. But Jesus took on sin, went to hell, and emerged victorious.

 

We get to share in that victory! How do we share in that victory? We believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and we declare Jesus to be Lord of our lives. We GET IT. We GET the nastiness of our sinful condition, and our heart cries out for hope. We recognize that Jesus is our only hope. We accept the free gift of mercy Jesus offers us and we are changed. We are made new. God’s very spirit is now living in us. From this moment, we have a new reason for living. We submit our will to HIS. We submit our plans to HIS. We begin to make good choices with new motivation. We want HIS best in our lives. Little by little, we begin to take on HIS very nature. We even begin to cherish His loving discipline. Often it’s even a bit painful, but in the process, our sinful flesh and selfishness dies away.

 

In fact, this process of sanctification even makes us see others differently. We begin to see others the way Jesus sees them. We see others, even the nastiest people, as loved by the King. We see others as individuals whom our sweet, precious Lord died to save. We no longer care so much about the wrongs others commit against us, but WHY they wronged us. We understand that sin, brokenness, pain and hopelessness makes people act ugly. We remember that was once US. We recall our hopelessness without Jesus. We recall the price Jesus paid to make us clean. Our heart begins once again to overflow with gratitude for His forgiveness. This deep understanding of the unsurmountable debt Christ paid for us, supernaturally enables us to forgive others.
I want to stop here and share a little example that happened recently in my own life.

 

Not too long ago, a few people really, really hurt my feelings. Without sharing the details of the situation, I was left feeling misunderstood, unfairly judged, and the subject of gossip. In my opinion I wasn’t even treated with appropriate and common courtesy. Honestly, I don’t get my feelings hurt very easily, but because of the nature of the situation, I was wounded in an area where I am most vulnerable.

 

As soon as I became aware of the wrong that had been committed against me, I immediately felt my fleshly, sinful nature rise up. Have you ever seen a wounded, scared animal get backed into a corner? They look ugly and scary don’t they? They’re foaming at the mouth. They’re snarling and growling. They have their claws out. They immediately lash out against anyone who happens to approach them, even if that person is trying to help. Well, I began to feel that ugly, scary animal rearing it’s nasty head in me. That’s the old, sinful, fleshly nature. In that very moment, a battle had begun. It was the battle of the my old fleshly nature, against the Holy Spirit of God in me. I knew it. I knew I was in battle. I could feel it. I knew I had a choice to make. I had to choose who would win.

 

I’d like to say I immediately chose God’s way, but I’ll admit, I let the battle wage for awhile. I was cleaning my house that day, and my husband was out cutting the grass. When he came in for a glass of water, I shared with him what had happened, and he agreed. I had been wronged. That’s one point for the flesh! Ding. Ding. I continued with my chores, but as I did, my mind swirled with all the reasons those individuals had behaved wrongly in the situation. More points for the flesh. Ding. Ding. I even called my mother to hear her agree with all the wrongs that had been committed against me. My flesh loved hearing her anger toward the individuals and her maternal defense for me! Bonus points for the flesh. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding!

 

Finally, as my family was beginning to settle down to dinner and a movie, I told my husband that I NEEDED to stop what I was doing and pray. I felt the flesh waging in me, and I knew the only remedy was to get face down before God.

 

So, that’s what I did. I locked myself in a quiet room. I turned off the lights, and I got face down before my God. (By the way…I think there’s something supernaturally powerful about praying in this posture. Think about all the times in the Bible when humans came into the presence of the Lord! They were always left incredibly humbled and face down.) I began to pray. I was honest with Him. I told Him how the incident made me feel. I confessed my anger, my hurt and my pride. I told Him the ugly thoughts I had against those who had wounded me. I asked him to forgive me. I admitted to Him that I was feeling very vulnerable, misunderstood and unappreciated. Like a child, sitting in the lap of her daddy, I told Him how they hurt me. I asked Him for the strength to truly forgive them. I asked Him to allow me to see them the way He saw them. I asked Him to fill me with love and mercy for them.

 

Then, it dawned on me to ask Him for something else. I knew I needed encouragement. I can’t explain just how deflated, lonely, and even friendless I was feeling at the time. God is the source of everything I need, and in that moment I needed encouragement. I needed friends. Scripture says we often don’t get what we need from Him, simply because we don’t ask. So, I asked. I asked Him to encourage me. A very specific aspect of my life had been attacked, and I asked the Lord to encourage me in that specific area of my life. I praised Him for who He is. I told Him I trust Him to be everything I need.

 

The next morning was church day. I’ll admit I still kinda felt beat up. I still just did not feel like myself. I resisted the temptation to mope.

 

Once at church, I was dealing with the hustle and bustle that comes along with being a mom of four, and as I was racing down the hall to get one of my kids checked in to class, a woman stopped me. This lady is someone I would call an “acquaintance.” I can’t say that we are very close, or that I know her all that well. But she stopped me and began encouraging me! She shared a story of a conversation she had had with someone else about me. She told me of all the glowing things that were said about me and my character. She even proceeded to encourage me in the very area I had been wounded in the day before. Tears immediately welled up in my eyes as I told her how much I needed to hear her encouragement. I assured her the Lord had used her on my behalf. I went to worship service loving my sweet Heavenly Father even more that morning!

 

I considered her words of encouragement to be an overwhelming answer to my bold prayer, but that’s not all God had for me. He wanted to do “exceedingly, abundantly above all I could think to ask of Him!”

 

The next day I was shopping at Target, when a text came in on my phone. I reluctantly stopped my shopping to check it. It was one of those texts that you open, and you see that someone has written you a novel! Lol. Well, I started reading it, and it blew me away. It was a friend, whom I don’t speak to that often. She said many amazing things, but I’ll just share an excerpt from her text:

 

“…and on top of that, I have never heard ONE word to the negative about you. Never has anyone mentioned loose lips or stuck up or witchy or flighty. If ever there was a Proverbs 31 woman to encourage the rest of us, or to shape our next generation, I think you fit the bill.”

 

I was floored. Not only did I feel completely unworthy of her words, I couldn’t believe the timing! People don’t just stop what they’re doing to send texts like that! It was ABSOLUTELY God speaking to me through her! I started bawling right there in the middle of the boys’ bathing suit section of the Trussville Target! I had to pull myself together before I could ever text her back! How sweet is my God?!?!?

 

Listen, God is GOOD. As sinners without Him, you are an object of His wrath. But even while you’re a sinner God loved you enough to send His Son Jesus to take the punishment you deserve. He extends you a free gift of mercy and grace and forgiveness.

 

Put your faith in Him and He saves you.

 

Submit to Him and He changes you.

 

Walk with Him and He fulfills you.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be a Goody-Goody

 

Have you ever noticed that God flips “the way of the world” on its head? I’d like to flip the world’s idea of a “good girl” on it’s head too.

 

We live in a culture inundated with self-glorification. We are taught to believe in ourselves. Value ourselves. Be our own, unique selves. Be true to ourselves. Do it ourselves. Make a name for ourselves. Earn it ourselves. Yada.Yada. Yada. Do you notice that word “self,” over and over and over? Self. Self. Self. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. This mind frame is poisonous.

 

Maybe you’re thinking. Wait. Aren’t some of those characteristics good? Isn’t it good to be hard-working, confident, secure, a rule-follower, etc. Yes! Of course. I’ll get to that.

 

But first, let’s define the word “good.” One definition is “That which is morally right, righteousness.”

 

That’s what we are REALLY talking about – righteousness. Haven’t you heard the word “righteousness” over and over in the Bible? Righteousness is a pretty deep theological topic. So much can be studied on just the meaning of the word. But a simple way I like to define “righteousness,” is by thinking of it as “right-ness,” or being right. The words “righteousness” “just,” “justice,” and “justification” are all closely related in essence.

 

Do you know what the justice system is? It’s the system of organizations in our country that keep law and order. One component of the justice system is the legal system. If you are accused of a crime, you must stand trial before being found guilty or innocent. If the legal system proves you are guilty of breaking a law, you will receive the appropriate punishment for your crime.

 

Good = right. Right = just. Righteous = innocent. Good, Right, Just = GOD

 

The nature of humans (or “man”) is so different from God’s attributes. Several years ago, I read a book called “The Attributes of God,” by A.W. Tozer. I recently picked it up again to remind myself of what an amazing God I serve. How can you really be in relationship with someone if you don’t even know what they’re like? So much of God and His character can seem difficult to grasp, but it’s imperative that you study Him! Knowing Him is one of the first steps in falling in love with Him. For us mere humans, the more we study God, the more we know Him, but moreover, the more we realize how much we DON’T know. We realize how unfathomable He is. It’s impossible for us to ever completely wrap our minds around his “God-ness!” But, personally, I don’t think I could ever worship anything less. Could you? (That’s another lesson).

God’s Word tells us that we are all sinners. We are not right. We are not just. We are not good. In fact, we are actually God’s enemy. Anything not Holy, is the enemy of God, and is subject to the wrath of God. God’s wrath must be satisfied through the shedding of blood. Just like in the United States criminal justice system, guilt must be punished. Death and hell are the punishment awaiting the guilty. Hell is complete and forever separation from God. The sinner who is living in complete separation from God, is living in absolute hopelessness. They are hopeless in life and hopeless in death.

 

When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, they became immediately aware of, not only their physical nakedness, but their separation from their Creator. God extended His mercy to them by providing a way for them to be covered. He sacrificed a lamb and used its hide to cover their naked bodies. That lamb was innocent, but its blood was shed to make Adam and Even “right” in the eyes of God. This “righteousness” was only temporary, however. All through the Old Testament, God’s people made sacrifices. All day. Every day. Sacrifice after sacrifice. Still mankind was separated from their God. Hopeless.

 

But God had a Rescue plan from the very beginning – Jesus.

 

God in His mercy, sent His own Son to be God with us – “Emmanuel.” He came TO US! What other god does that?!?! Jesus lived as fully God and fully man, but was sinless. He was righteous, but was condemned to die a sinner’s death. The shedding of Jesus’ blood completely and ultimately satisfied God’s wrath.

 

Jesus took the punishment for sin.

 

If you put your faith in Jesus, God sees you as a new creature. Jesus makes you right in the eyes of a Holy God. Jesus makes you right. Jesus makes you good.

 

A “goody goody” is SELF-righteous. Hear that word again? “SELF!” Self-righteousness goes in complete opposition of God’s way. A true believer understands that goodness can only come through a faith in Jesus Christ. A true believer has humility.

 

Humility isn’t just a way you act, it’s a part of who you are as a new creature in Christ Jesus. It’s a deep understanding of your hopelessness without Jesus. It’s a deep appreciation for God’s mercy.

Remember those characteristics I mentioned earlier: hardworking, confident, secure, rule-follower. Those character traits can’t really come from self. True character goes beyond behavior. Behavior is how you act. Character is who you are. Sure, a nonbeliever can behave “good,” but that doesn’t make them “good.” When you put your faith in Jesus, you become new. You become right, and Jesus begins to make you good!

 

Let’s break a few of those character traits down:

 

Hardworking – A believing girl loves God and desires to worship and glorify Him with their life. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23

 

Confidence – A believing girl knows that God created her in His image, made her a new creature and separates her for divine purpose. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Secure – A believing girl knows that God is on her side and nothing can separate her from God’s love. “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39.

 

Rule-Follower – A believing girl loves her Lord and therefore wants to follow His ways. “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.’” John 14:23.

 

Only Jesus can make you righteous.

 

For further study on this topic, take a look at Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14.

 

Win Squishy-Making Supplies!

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Wanna win these Squishy-Making Supplies?! Enter our contest! The winner will be announced on Instagram!

 

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Subscribe to the blog (on a phone or tablet, you can find the spot to subscribe by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the homepageIMG_0470

 

2. Vote for your favorite squishy character in the comments below.

3. We will be posting about this contest on Instagram. Tag 3 different friends on at least 1 Squishy-related Instagram post.

 

Meet the Squishies:

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Babalu Blue loves to sing and dance. She’s full of spunk and she’s usually the life of the party!

 

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Bubbles is full of personality. She talks a lot, makes corny jokes and likes everything to be happy and fun.

 

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Cray-Cray Coral lives life on the edge. She is always ready to take a risk and try something new!

 

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Tiki is sweet and kind. She is known for putting others first. She’s the kind of friend you want in your squad!

 

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Tie-dye Tesney is artistic and creative. She’s not afraid to be different and doesn’t mind standing out in a crowd.

 

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Don’t let Gabby Glow’s subtle appearance fool you. She’s humble, but she shines her light for Jesus even in dark circumstances. (This squishy is glow-in-the-dark)

 

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Poppy is smart, full of questions, and loves learning new things. Her favorite pastimes are reading and crafting! She’s always ready to try a new DIY.

 

VOTE for your favorite Squishy in the comments below!

DIY Squishies

 

Here’s what you’ll need. You can click on the photos to order!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok. Got your materials? Ready to get started? Here we go:

First, Put on your rubber gloves and get the silicone mold, 2 paper cups and 2 craft sticks ready. Shake up both part “A” and “B” bottles of the flex foam mixtures.

 

Measure 1 Tbsp of the part “A” mixture and pour it into one of the paper cups. Stir it with a craft stick.

 

Now measure 2 Tbsp of the part “B” mixture and pour it into a separate paper cup. Stir it with a clean craft stick.

 

Now be ready to work quickly. Mix the part “A” cup with the part “B” cup and stir only for a moment. Pour a very small amount of the mixture into your silicone molds. You will only be filling each poop emoji cavity 1/4-1/3 full. This amount of mixture will do about 3-4 of the poop emojis. It will look something like this:

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Leave the mold alone! Don’t touch it for at least 12 hours. They should look like this:

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Once your squishies have cured, carefully take them out of the mold. They should look like this:

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Go outside and lay a sheet of wax paper down. Place your naked squishies on the wax paper, and spray paint the top and sides. Leave your squishies alone for a few hours until they are completely dry. Yours will look something like this:

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Once the tops and sides are dry, flip your squishies over and spray paint the bottom. Give your squishies a few more hours to dry. They should look like this:

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Now your ready for the detail work. Use a tiny paint brush and paint white ovals for eyes and a mouth. We like to allow this to dry and apply a second coat of the white. They will look like this:

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Once the second coat of white detailing has dried, add black eye and tongue details for your squishy’s face. Here’s what the black detailing will look like:

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Allow the black detailing to dry and rub a generous amount of the clear glitter fabric paint all over your squishy! This gives her a nice, sparkly finish!

 

We fell in love with our finished creations! We had too much fun and laughed too hard giving our squishies names and personalities too! Lol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

Matthew Quote. Blessed Are Merciful

Why are you here? Why am I here? What is our ultimate purpose in life? Well, I’ve talked about this before. We were created to worship.

 

What is worship? The dictionary defines worship as: “The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration.” John Piper says that worship was designed to put the supreme worth of God on display. Jesus told us in John 4 that true worshipers will worship in “spirit and in truth.” I like to say that worship is your heart’s adoring response to God that flows from your head’s correct understanding about God.

 

Worship is not just singing in church. Worship is not just closing your eyes, uttering sweet words, raising your hands, crying, etc. Yes, those things are a part of worship. Emotional responses to a true understanding and adoration of God are absolutely a part of worship. But worship is wayyyyy more.

 

You worship with your life. You worship with your actions. You worship by constantly turning your heart toward the Lord.

 

This is my favorite way of thinking about worship. Don’t miss this. If you are a believer, then you are a part of the universal body of Christ. As a member of the body of Christ, your ultimate act of worship, is showing the world what Jesus is like. In fact, it’s your job. It’s your purpose. Let that sink in.

 

You worship your creator by being a reflection of His Son. It’s up to you to show the world what Jesus is like.

 

I’m sure you’re thinking: “I thought this was a lesson on forgiveness. Why are we talking about worship?” Well, I think it’s important to always come back to WHY. Why should you care about Biblical forgiveness? As a believer, you should absolutely care about forgiveness because you worship a forgiving God. You show the world what Jesus is like, so you must forgive as Jesus forgives. Gulp.

 

I’ll even take it a step further and say this: If you’re withholding forgiveness to others, you must ask yourself if you’re really a Christian at all. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. I know. I know. It sounds harsh, but hear me out.

 

Take a moment and read Matthew 18:21-35.

 

In this parable a king canceled his servant’s outstanding debt. In today’s dollars, the debt would equal something like $6 Billion. That’s “billion,” with a “B!” Basically, it was a debt impossible for the servant to ever repay. In my study of this parable, I learned that the only way for a master to collect on a debt such as this, was for the slave’s family and multiple generations of his family to follow, to be bound to sold and bound to a lifetime of slavery. What a devastating fate. This is what the servant was facing. His debt could never be repaid. It was impossible. Can you imagine the hopelessness?

 

Conversely, can you imagine the servant’s joy after the master canceled his debt?! What mercy! Can you imagine the gratitude? The feeling of freedom? The lightness? The joy? I bet he walked through the streets of his town dancing, singing for joy, loving his neighbors and living forever changed with a new lease on life! Wouldn’t that be a normal reaction to such an act of mercy?

 

But what was the servant’s response? He turned right back around and mercilessly begrudged a companion who owed him money. He had the debtor punished to the fullest extent. No mercy.

 

Now. Let’s think about this. What does this parable have to do with us?

 

First let’s talk about your debt. You’re a sinner. God’s Holiness, Righteousness, Justice and Wrath call for a punishment for your sin, and the truly hopeless part is that you carry a debt you could never repay. Your ultimate fate is a life separated from God and an eternity separated from Him. The weight of your sinful state makes you completely unworthy to stand before a Holy God, much less be in relationship with Him. You were created to walk with God, but your sinful state keeps you separated from Him. On earth you can’t live as you were made to live and in eternity you’ll live in perpetual torture. Sounds hopeless, doesn’t it? Well it is.

 

But here’s the amazing part. This Righteous, Holy, Just and Wrathful God is also LOVE. You are unworthy, but your Creator loves you anyway. He sent His Son Jesus to live a holy and perfect life on earth. He was tempted just like you are tempted, but Jesus lived blamelessly. Then Jesus’ own creation turned against Him and sent Him to die a sinner’s death. He willingly laid down His life and went to the cross. When He did this, God put His wrath and punishment for sin on Jesus. This act of sacrifice gives YOU the opportunity for forgiveness. Jesus bridges the gap between your unholy self and your Holy God. Jesus paid your debt.

 

Do you believe that? No. I mean. Do you really? Do you get it? Has your heart grasped the fact that your debt destined you to utter hopelessness, but Jesus wiped your debt clean? Ok. You believe it. So, what’s your reaction?

 

If you holding grudges against others, you have to question whether you really believe what you say you believe. You have to question whether your heart GETS IT. You have to question whether you will live as Jesus lived, or whether you’re no better than the slave from our story.

 

You see, a true believer has been radically changed from the inside out. A true believer lays down their life and their rights just as Jesus did. A true believer knows that they have a greater purpose in life. A true believer wants nothing more than to worship their Lord and Savior, not just with words, but with actions. A true believer knows they’ve been forgiven of more than they can ever imagine or ever repay. A true believer knows that they must extend forgiveness to others.

 

My sweet friends, living a life as a believer will NOT be easy. Jesus calls us to do hard things. As believers, who truly GET what Christ has done for us, we should obey His commands simply out of reverence, worship and love for Him. The parable we studied today commands us to forgive. Forgiveness is sometimes very, very hard. And, yes, we should forgive simply as an act of obedience.

 

But here’s the really sweet part. Here’s the part that makes me love my God even more and more and more. I’ve discovered that usually, when God asks you to do something that goes against your human, fleshly nature, it’s for your own good. Isn’t that sweet? I just love Him.

 

 

My friends, forgiveness is not always easy. But let me ask you, do you know what the opposite of forgiveness is? It’s bitterness. I really want you to get this. Bitterness will eat you up. Bitterness will destroy you. Bitterness will cause you a slow, ugly death. Bitterness is a poison that you drink little by little until you are deathly sick but you don’t even realize it. Bitterness is a tool from the very hand of Satan himself. The crazy thing is, when you hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness against another person, it’s YOU who ends up getting destroyed! The other person isn’t impacted by your bitterness at all! Bitterness destroys the unforgiving person, not the person who is the object of the unforgiveness!

 

Your creator knows His creation. He knows you. He loves you. He wants what is best for you. He knows a life of bitterness will destroy you. Yes, forgiveness is hard, but the alternative is much much worse. Bitterness makes you ugly. Bitterness makes you miserable. Bitterness makes you down right mean. Does that sound like Jesus? Does that sound like someone who loves Jesus? NO!

 

I also need to explain that forgiveness is not always a transaction between you and another person. Forgiveness happens in prayer and in your heart. Many times the person who hurt you, won’t ever even ask for your forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of obedience between you and God. If you’re finding it difficult to forgive someone, ask the Lord to help you. Tell Him that you want to show mercy the way you’ve been shown mercy. Ask Him to change your heart and even begin to change your feelings. He’s faithful.

 

In closing, I want to make absolutely certain that you understand I am not advocating that you allow others to take advantage of you or hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be in relationship with someone who continues to harm you. Forgiveness is about about having the right heart with the Lord, and committing the situation to Him. Forgiveness is releasing a grudge you hold against another individual. Do not misunderstand me. Never submit yourself to unhealthy relationships. You can forgive someone and separate yourself from them at the same time. Yes, people are human and they’re bound to make mistakes and deserve grace. But some people just don’t have the right heart or intentions toward you, and you need to distance yourself from those individuals! Ask the Lord for wisdom. If a peer is continually hurting you or being ugly to you, talk to an adult. If an adult ever crosses the line of acceptable behavior with you, TALK TO AN ADULT YOU CAN TRUST!

EC’s Tidbits: Is “Freakin” Really That Cool?

 

 

EC has passion and a heart for honoring the Lord. When she gets on her little soapbox, I love to listen to her rant. However, what I hear is wayyyyy more than a rant. I hear wisdom. So, Glitter has a new feature! I’m calling it: “EC’s Tidbits.” Here’s the first installment, and it’s in her very own words. Freakin enjoy it!

 

Imagine this: You are sitting at your lunch table during school talking about how much you despise math. How would you express your anger? I’ve noticed most peoples say “freakin,” (or even the “other word.”) In the dictionary “freakin” is defined as: “used for emphasis or to express anger or annoyance.”

Now imagine this: pretend that the friend you are talking to is God. Do you think God would want to hear a word like that? In Colossians 4:6 it says “Let your speech be always with grace, and seasoned with salt…” So do you really want God to hear you talk in that way?

Challenge yourself and your friends to break the trend. Because, let’s face it, is “freakin” really that cool?

 

 

I think EC is absolutely right. How you speak says a lot about you and your character. To really shine your light, you must “let your speech be always with grace.” Don’t forget: as believers, we show the world what Jesus is like. Gulp. 

 

 

Why Are You Here?

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like doing something if I don’t know the reason WHY I’m doing it. Conversely, I would say most of us can do just about anything if we understand WHY it needs to be done. If you contracted some strange, life-threatening illness, and you knew the only cure was simply eating brussels sprouts for breakfast everyday, do you think you would do it? Of course you would! You see, the WHY matters.

 

So, I’m about to throw a deep question at you:

 

Why are you here? Sure. God made you. But why? WHY did he make you?

 

Stop. Don’t you dare read any further until you have actually thought about the question.

 

Well, like any good Sunday School teacher, I’m gonna tell you the answer. Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created for his glory. “Everyone who is called by my name, WHOM I CREATD FOR MY GLORY, whom I formed and made.” In I Peter 4, it points out WHY we serve and obey the Lord: “In order that in everything, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 implores us: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Romans 11:36 reminds us: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism simply explains that our whole life’s purpose, or “chief end of man” is “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

 

Ok. So, you’re probably wondering “what is ‘glory,’ exactly?” John Piper explains that “glory” is a lot like the word “beauty.” We know what beauty is, but it’s hard to define. Like Piper, I’ll use examples to explain the concept of glory. Glory is staring at the ocean and not being able to see where it ends. Glory is nailing your dance routine at competition. Glory is making the winning three-point shot on the buzzer, and sending your team to Nationals. Glory is getting a “hat trick” in a soccer game. Glory is seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Get it?

 

Well, God’s glory is astounding. As mere humans, we can hardly wrap our minds around all that makes Him glorious. Everything about Him is glorious. His love is never-ending. That’s glorious. He is all-powerful. That’s glorious. He is an intricate creator. That’s glorious. He is gracious and merciful. That’s glorious. He is completely Holy. That’s glorious. He is always righteous. That’s glorious. He is awe-inspiring. That’s glorious. I could go on and on. But it’s more than that. I like the way Piper sums it up: “God’s glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes into one infinitely beautiful and personal being.” He is GOD.

 

So, how do you, a mere human, give Him any glory? Ok. So, theologians could write volumes about this subject. But for today’s purpose, I want to focus on the simple answer. Again, I’m gonna steal from Piper: “He created us to display his glory, that is, that his glory might be known and praised.”

 

When you pass by your favorite store window and it’s filled with adorable new outfits of the season, don’t you look at your friend and say “Isn’t that cute!?” Or, when your mom makes your favorite dessert, you might tell her “Thanks, mom! It was delicious!” When you are one of the firsts to see the amazing movie that just came out, you probably tell your friends: “Oh, it’s the best! The music was incredible! You have to go see it!” Do you get my point? When you see something glorious, you talk about it! You say what you think about it! You persuade others to love it too! It’s the same way with God.

 

The more you know Him, the more you love Him. The more you love Him, the more you recognize Him for who He is. The more you recognize Him for who He is, the more you’re compelled to tell Him how awesome He is. The more you tell Him how awesome He is, the more He changes you to be like Him. The more you become like Him, the more you DO in His name. The more you do in His name, the more people see a difference in you. The more people see a difference in you, the more opportunities you have to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Glory! It’s not about YOU. It’s about HIM.

 

Today’s post is about worship. In the above paragraph I basically explained what it means worship the Lord. But in our world, we’re guilty of worshiping far more than just God. Worship is making something a big deal in your life. It is what you appreciate and adore. Naturally, the things you love become the things you give time and attention to. They become the things you talk about. They’re the things you think about when you go to sleep and the first things you think about in the morning. You might even become a slave to those things. In essence, you worship anything that consumes your thought, attention, conversations, money, time and actions. If the things we worship aren’t God, they are idols. Can you think of any examples from your own life?

 

God not only made you to worship Him, He WANTS you to worship Him. It’s interesting to me, that God uses the story of the Samaritan woman to tell us that he wants our worship. He even goes further and tells us what true worship is like. Go ahead. Stop and read John 4:1-42.

 

Again, entire sermons are devoted to this passage, but for this post, I want to zero-in on verses 23 and 24. “…true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

 

Right worship MUST have the right focus. I said it before. I’ll say it again. Worship is NOT about you. It’s about God. Worship is about the TRUE GOD of scripture. Worship CANNOT be about the god you imagine, or the god you want, or the god our culture ignorantly tries to define. You must KNOW your God to worship Him!

 

If you are a believer, then the Spirit of the Living God lives in you. The Holy Spirit points you to Truth and makes you understand God’s Word. The Spirit draws you into a deeper relationship with God. Read His word. It’s “alive and active.” Know Him. The more you know Him, the more you’ll love Him! Worship is just natural at that point. Well, I guess I should say “supernatural!”

 

So much more could be said about worshiping “in Spirit and in truth,” but I’ll make one more point that I think will hit home with you. It took me forever to finally get this one. God wants you to be honest with Him. Be real with Him! He already knows everything about you anyway! He knows every hair on your head. He knows your thoughts. Most importantly, He knows your heart. Come to Him as you are. Don’t try to pretend with Him. If you don’t understand something about Him or his Word, ask Him! If you don’t feel head-over-heels in love with Him, ask Him to give that to you! If you’re at church, and you look around at people who seem to feel so moved by singing praise songs, and you don’t understand why you don’t feel the same way, then ask Him!!!! To love and adore him, you must really, really know Him, and it’s HIS SPIRIT that makes you know Him. Don’t you think he would LOVE to give you that!? Of course He does! He wants nothing more than to fill you with an overflowing love for Him. Luke 11:13 tells us “…how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” James 4:2 says “you do not have because you do not ask.”

 

Do you want to fulfill your purpose? Do you want to REALLY live as you were created? Know Him. Love Him. Adore Him. Study Him. Serve Him. Ask of Him. Sing to Him. Give thanks to Him. Talk about Him. WORSHIP HIM.

 

Woman-feeling-free,-happy-and-loved-in-a-beautiful-natural-setting-at-sunet-913182366_3865x2580

The Walmart Challenge!

Glitter has been challenged!  Watch the video for proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look cute!

 

 

Here are the budget-friendly looks we put together from Walmart!

 

Danskin Gray Sweatshirt = $5Athletic Works Performance Tee = $5.44.png

Link for Tee

Link for Capri Pants

 

 

Wonder NationSwim Suit = $8.84Wonder Nation Cover Up.png

Link for Cover Up

Link for Swimsuit

 

 

 

No BoundariesTrucker Hat = $6.97Time and Tru Stripe Tank = $3.94No Boundaries Jean Shorts = $9.92

Link for Trucker Hat

Link for Tank Top

Link for Shorts

 

 

Wonder Nation Top and Shorts Set = $14.22Time and Tru Sandals = $9.88OutfitTotal Cost = $34.10

Link for Sandals

 

 

Time and Tru Top = $8.88No Boundaries Shorts = $9.92No Boundaries Backpack = $19.97Piranha Sunglasses = $10

Link for Shorts

 

 

wonder nation top

Link for Jeans

 

 

Time and Tru Top = $8.88.png

Link for Top

Link for Jeans

Link for Backpack

 

Athletic Works Sweatshirt = $6.74Athletic Works Top = $5.44Athletic Works Capris = $7.84Outfit Total Cost = $20.02

Link for Sweatshirt

Link for Top

Link for Capris

 

No Boundaries PJ

Link for PJ Top

Link for PJ Bottoms

 

 

(On Ava)Athletic Works Sweatshirt-3

Link for Sweatshirt

Link for Shorts

 

*We hate that EC wasn’t able to model more of our outfits! The weather didn’t cooperate with us on Challenge Day! Boo! We love our EC!

Mrs. Amy’s Value Store Shopping Tips

Shopping on a budget can be done! Follow Mrs. Amy’s tips for shopping at value stores like Walmart, Target, TJ Maxx, etc.

 

Women and shopping

 

Study the Splurge

Before you go shopping at value stores, spend some time “studying” your favorite boutiques and high-end shops first. Take notice of new trends or the type of things that stand out to you. Then, when shopping in the value stores, keep your eyes peeled for similar items. A perfect example was the black backpack we found in our Walmart Challenge. Ava and I LOVE Madewell bags, and the one we found is almost identical to the splurge backpack we’ve been drooling over. It was less than 1/4 of the price of Madewell’s version! Not too bad!

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Break Up Sets or Alter Items

Sometimes the value stores go a little overboard in the design department. A good example was the blue tie-dye top we featured in the Walmart Challenge. That top originally came with coral leggings with matching tie-dye bows at the ankles. Ummm…That’s a bit much. So, we used the top and paired it with simple white jeans! Perfecto! Let’s go back to the black backpack. We altered it. It originally came with a silver glittery luggage tag thingy hanging off of it. Again…just a bit much. So, we cut it off to make it look more like our favorite Madewell version! Less is more.

 

Be Picky!

You need to say “no” more than you say “yes,” when shopping in value stores. Shop with a critical eye, but not so critical that you can’t see potential. You just don’t want to get blurry vision when your shopping in value stores. It’s kinda like seeing a mirage in the dessert. After you’ve been in Walmart too long, everything kinda starts looking weirdly cute. Lol. But seriously, don’t buy every single thing that has potential. Be choosy.

 

Mix It Up

Value shopping is a science. The key to nailing it, is mixing your budget items with your splurge items. Everything in your closet doesn’t need to come from boutiques, but mixing in nicer pieces will keep your overall wardrobe looking more high-end.

 

Know What to Invest In

We think it’s better to have a few, well put-together outfits, than a closet full of random stuff. With that said, it’s important to know which items to spend more money on. Splurge on items that will go with multiple looks. If you’re a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, have a really nice pair of jeans that are versatile. Invest in shoes that will go with almost everything. You could have a nice top or two to go with those jeans, but most of your tees, bags and jewelry could be bought on a budget. Spend on items you’ll use every day. We suggest not spending on trendy items if you can avoid it. Trends come and go quickly, so you don’t want to have a lot invested in them.

Winter Favorite Things Giveaway

 

winter giveaway.JPG

 

Before we say “goodbye” to winter, we hand-picked some of our favorite items of the season for a fun reader giveaway!

 

Don’t worry, if you aren’t the lucky winner. We’ve got you! We shared links!

 

Our first pick is the light box! How fun are these, ya’ll!? Every bedroom deserves a little lit-up inspiration, right? We bought ours from Target, but fell in love with this one from Amazon. It has colored emoji tiles!!!! Eeek!

We admit….we are a little obsessed with cute water bottles. We loved the look of this marble Swell bottle as soon as we laid eyes on it! They come in two sizes. The one in our giveaway is the larger size, but it’s a bit pricey! If you want the look without the investment, get the smaller one! The link here is for the more petite, wallet-friendly version!

We have fallen in LOVE with music artist Hollyn. Her lyrics are on-point and the music is just fun, fun, fun! We’ve danced in the car to Can’t Live Without You many times this season!

Next up…scrunchies. What can we say about scrunchies? Mrs. Amy has had a difficult time embracing this hair accessory come-back from the 90’s, but the trend is here! So, why not have an adorable blush-colored, fuzzy one! We found ours at Urban Outfitters, but found this one at a much better price!

Who doesn’t love Essie nail polish? We chose the color “Mademoiselle.” We love that it’s pink, but not too pink. It is the perfect finish for a natural look!

This was the winter of beanies, right?! Didn’t we all just wish for a beautiful snow day, so we could snap a pic in our pom-pom beanies?! Lol.

We are head-over heels for the “Amazing Grace” products by Philosophy. The scent is light, fresh and feminine.

We get a kick out of anything with critter faces! The soft, fuzzy tall socks we found at Target are perfect for chilly nights, but we’ll be caught in these year-round!

We’ve shared the link here:

https://www.target.com/p/women-s-2pk-cozy-knee-high-xhilaration-153-white-one-size/-/A-52648480

 

Lastly, we love finding hand-made products, and these “diamond” earrings by CaramelaHandmade are absolutely fun and adorable!

Here’s the link to the Etsy shop:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CaramelaHandmade?ref=l2-shopheader-name

 

To enter to win the giveaway:

  1. Follow us on Instagram @glittertweenandteen
  2. Tag 3 friends in the comments of the Winter Giveaway post.

We will draw the winner on Monday, February 26 and private Instagram message that person. They will have 24 hours to respond before we draw again.