God Candy

Every Christmas when I was little, my mother would buy a box of chocolate-covered cherries. As soon as she opened the box, I would breathe in that wonderful scent. Rather than eat the candy whole, I would bite into one and the crème would dribble down my fingers. I didn’t want to lose one tiny drop of that scrumptious juicy center so I immediately popped the rest into my mouth. Mmmm. They are so delicious and part of the enjoyment of the season. For me, chocolate-covered cherries are little moments of delight.

Recently a friend sent me a Thanksgiving greeting and told me I was a blessing to her. Our society doesn’t often express encouraging words like those. But kind words can go a long way in helping us feel appreciated and loved. Reading that email was like eating a chocolate-covered cherry. It was a little moment of delight that fed a weary spirit. It was God saying, “I love you and I’m watching over you.”

God drops those bite-sized candies of joy into our lives everyday. We simply need to slow down to taste and enjoy them. A fiery persimmon sunrise after a week of clouds. A cardinal pecking for food outside the patio door. A sweet word of blessing from a new friend. A phone call from your son who says he’s homesick. Each a tiny moment in time, yet it can feed our spirit for the whole day when we recognize it for what it is.

Today and everyday stop and look for the chocolate-covered cherry moments God brings your way. Before long, you’ll know the moment he opens the box. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14, NLT). ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Dealing with Loneliness

For many people the holiday season isn’t the happy celebration they would like it to be. Instead it is a season of deeply felt loneliness. The reasons are as varied as there are people, and the reasons aren’t important. What’s important is they feel lonely.

I am well acquainted with loneliness. As a child I didn’t have a lot of friends. Too shy, I guess. As a military wife, we moved often. In fact, before I came to know God, I often felt lonely even though my husband was lying in bed next to me. This year my youngest son has left home to begin his life as an adult. The quiet emptiness of my apartment is as gloomy as a dark cloudy day.

Here are some tools I use to help me overcome my loneliness.

· I put on a praise CD and spend time praising God. Knowing he loves me with an unfailing love chases away my sadness.
· I ask God to fill the void—because he is the only one who really can.
· I call to visit with a friend I’ve left behind in the latest move.
· I call a new friend and say let’s go out for lunch.
· I spend time with family, either on the phone or by going to visit if they live nearby.
· I count my blessings.
· I get outside myself by getting involved in church and community activities such as helping serve at the local food kitchen.

We’ve all experienced loneliness at some point in our lives. Please share with our readers the positive tools you use to help you deal with loneliness. ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Trash or Treasure?

Do you struggle with insecurity? It has plagued me nearly all my life.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “insecure” as “subject to fears, doubts, etc., not self-confident, not firmly or reliably placed.” That’s me. We all want to be accepted, loved and valued. We want to be secure in who we are, but life experiences can knock us off our feet. Abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to love us can leave us wondering is there something wrong with me? Am I lovable? In fact, we may have grown up hearing “You’re good for nothing; you’re trash.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

Our security and value lies in what God says about us, not people. Luke 12:7 tells us God knows the very number of hairs on our head. Who in their right mind would want to know that unless he treasured us so much it mattered?

How to grow secure:

· Read the Bible and learn what God has to say about you. Use more than one version of the Bible as you search for verses. Here are a few verses to start with. You are the apple of his eye (Zechariah 2:8). He loves you with an unfailing love (Psalm 117:2). His precious thoughts about us cannot be numbered (Psalm 139:17). The LORD is your security (Proverbs 3:26).
· Write out verses and carry them with you. Repeat them everyday, as many times a day as you want, until the truth is firmly established in your spirit.
· Be conscious of your thoughts. As soon as you catch yourself thinking negatively, take action: “That’s a lie. I am ….” Fight back with the verses you have written and memorized.

We are his treasure. “For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” Isaiah 41:9b NLT ©2009 Debra L. Butterfield

Welcome to the Glory and Strength Blog

One might think that because I’m a writer, editor and publisher I would find it easy to blog. Nothing could be further from the truth. Blogging by its very nature is a spontaneous activity. It is not in my nature to be spontaneous. A friend of mine is a personality trainer. She often comments on my melancholy personality—analytical, practical and leaning toward perfectionism. Melancholies often tend to be insecure too. I want every word to be just right and can spend hours writing my Christmas letter. So for me blogging is going to be an exercise in spontaneity and a vehicle of growth.

This blog is a place to find hope, healing and fellow travelers on the road to victory over life’s battles. If you read Glory and Strength.com and would like to comment on what you read, feel free to do so here. Know also that you can post here in complete anonymity.

Together with Christ we can be victorious.