Cheerful

Susie Stewart

My husband has a cheerful heart.  

People are drawn to his infectious, loud laugh,

he whistles the Looney Tunes melody in the shower,

he dances with abandon in Uganda,

he sings and hums while he’s cooking,

he makes up nicknames for people,

he loves on the people he loves without holding back.  

He’s not a pouter.  

He’s a joy to be around most of the time (Nobody is a joy to be around all of the time).  

And when I think about what God’s Word has to say about cheerfulness — that it’s good medicine — I know it’s true,  

because I live with a cheerful man who soothes my heart with his kind eyes and whimsical ways.  

May we all be more cheerful and not self-centeredly sullen.

May the light of God’s Spirit show through in our eyes.

– Susie Stewart

Andy with chameleonBright eyes…

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Jesus First

Take note

of what distracts you

from Jesus

 

We say

“Love the Lord your God

with all your heart

and all your soul

and all your strength

and all your mind.”

 

and then we start the day

without talking to Him

 

we ignore His prodding

to love people practically

 

and we end the day

soaking in more distractions

 

with a token prayer at bedtime,

if that

 

Lord, I want to love You

with everything I have!

 

as a brand new lover

who can think of little else

 

Jesus, You saved me

with Your love!

 

with Your love…

 

I want You to know

that I recognize that and I’m grateful

 

and I see this

as a reciprocal relationship

 

I want to love You

MORE

each day

 

and I want people to see

that You

come

first

in me

 

I  want You to know

without a doubt

that I love You

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.

– Luke 10:27 (NIV)

 

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in His answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

– Mark 28:27-31 (MSG)

 

So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave Himself to save me.

– Galatians 2:20 (ERV)

 

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

– Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

 

– Photo by Susie Stewart

 

Beautiful Child

Tender

and vulnerable

beautiful Child

 

Poor

and seemingly common

beautiful Child

 

Unassuming

and humble

beautiful Child

 

Highest of all

brought low

for us

 

You are the Answer

 

I love you

beautiful Child

my Savior

 

Willingly given

lovingly cherished

 

God’s beautiful Child

Our beautiful Child

 

Big God

so small

 

Our Prince

of Peace

 

– Susie Stewart

 

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”HAt once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

– Luke 2:8-20 (MSG)

 

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on His shoulders.
And He will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

– Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

 

Far Beyond Tolerance

If we were called

to just tolerate one another

 

would it not be

so much easier?

 

Bearing with each personality

different from our own

 

with a stiff upper lip

and a grit of our teeth?

 

Tolerating…

Enduring….

People?

 

But we are called

to more

 

to Love

 

And it would seem

impossible

 

if not for the example

set before us

 

Christ would not

have rescued us from ourselves

 

if He only tolerated us

 

No, He loved us

with everlasting love

 

The Trinity

sacrificed much

 

for Love

 

We are not consumed

by fires’ wrath

 

because of love

 

And because He made the first move

we are called to the same

 

And it would be impossible

if not for righteousness imparted to us

 

God’s Spirit loves

the unlovable through us

 

Can we not see

that is what we can be  — unlovable?

 

Nonetheless

we are eternally cherished

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:22,23 (NIV)

 

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

– Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

– John 13:34 (NLT)

 

We love because He first loved us.

– 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

He Knows

Has no one noticed your sorrow,

Friend?

 

Does your anguish

fall on deaf ears?

 

Feeling unseen

and unheard

causes an ache deep

 

But I want you to know

that nothing escapes

the watchful eye of God

 

He hears the thunderous drop

of your silent tears

 

He is wide awake aware

of your pain

 

And you can have unique joy

right in the middle of your sorrow

 

for Perfection

loves you

right in this place

 

And you don’t need to feel

unseen and unheard

 

because there is not a single person

on this earth

 

whose attention on you

 

matters more

than the attention of Eternal God

 

He knows

 

– Susie Stewart

 

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for You have seen my troubles,
and You care about the anguish of my soul.

– Psalm 31:7 (NIV)

 

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.

– Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

 

Lord, my longings are sitting in plain sight, my groans an old story to You. My heart’s about to break; I’m a burned-out case. Cataracts blind me to God and good; old friends avoid me like the plague. My cousins never visit, my neighbors stab me in the back. My competitors blacken my name, devoutly they pray for my ruin. But I’m deaf and mute to it all, ears shut, mouth shut. I don’t hear a word they say, don’t speak a word in response. What I do, God, is wait for You, wait for my Lord, my God—You will answer! I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off, won’t smugly strut off when I stumble.

– Psalm 38:8-10 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Unity

Jesus was about

breaking down walls

 

His desire was

and is

 

Unity

 

One heart

one purpose

 

All is grace

 

And who do we think we are

when we coddle a grudge

 

stacking up those walls

that Christ intended to topple?

 

And who do we think we are

when we lash out with words bitter

 

cutting people with gossip

and abusing verbally?

 

And who do we think we are

thinking our reason is valid

 

for destroying unity

in the mighty name of self?

 

Christ’s desires and intentions for us

must be first in our minds

 

and the more we know Him

the more we will know

 

His beating heart

for unity

 

– Susie Stewart

 

The Measure of harmony you have with every believer will depend on your experience of Christ’s life as your own.

– BSF

 

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

– Romans 12:17-19 (MSG)

 

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

– Ephesians 4:1,2 (NIV)

 

The apostle tells us to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit….Some Christian fellowships are marred by rivalries between individuals or groups which have been allowed to fester for years.  How can we possibly condone such things?  We need to be “eager” for love, unity and peace, and more active in seeking it.

– John Stott

 

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were all called to pursue one hope. There is one Lord Jesus, one living faith, one ceremonial washing through baptism, and one God—the Father over all who is above all, through all, and in all. This God has given to each of us grace in full measure according to the Anointed’s gift

– Ephesians 4:4-7 (VOICE)

 

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

– Romans 12:18 (NIV)

 

But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

– Matthew 6:15 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Cover Up

You seek to cover

that which is wrong

 

To hide sin

and secrets

and lies

 

As if a thick layer of deception

will do the trick

 

And what is really needed

is a blanket of grace

 

A covering of God

 

Humility, repentance, a turning

from that which you want to cover

 

Rip the blanket off your sin

and accept the robe of righteousness from Him

 

He sees all

and all will be exposed

 

Choose your cover this day

 

– Susie Stewart

 

What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The Lord can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!”

– Isaiah 29:15 (NLT)

 

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.

– Ephesians 5:10-14 (NLT) 

 

Hidden things will always come out into the open. Secret things will come to light and be exposed.

– Luke 8:17 (VOICE)

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

– John 1:16 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart