God’s Empowered Masterpiece (GEM)

God's jewelThere was a man who owned a beautiful gem and had it on display for all to see. People would come in just to see and stand in awe. They had never seen anything so gorgeous. One night a thief came in and stole the gem. The owner was heartbroken. Not only did he lose such a valuable treasure. He also lost watching others enjoy the beauty of his gem. He told everyone what had happened and asked everyone to be on the lookout for his precious gem. Not a day went by that he didn’t pray and think about his valuable gem.

One night it happened!!! He received a phone call that his gem had been FOUND!! He was so excited to get it back. When it was given back, it looked horrible. Dirt was embedded into it and its beauty and shine were gone. The owner knew the value and beauty that was underneath all the dirt. At first, he just held his gem and cried with thankfulness that his gem was in his possession again. Then he called all of his friends and those who had helped him look to come celebrate the return of his gem.

He was determined to clean it up again so he and others could once again enjoy it beauty. He began the cleansing process. He started by cleaning off all of the surface dirt. That is when he saw that his gem had been damaged and broken. He immediately took his gem to be fixed and polished. There were even some deep scratches, but with tender care, the gem regained its beauty. Soon, it was put back on display for him and all to enjoy.

What are some points that we can take from the story?

  • The gem never lost its value even when it was out of the hands of its owner.
  • The owner was heartbroken and longed for the return of his gem until the day of its return.
  • The dirt and damage did not change what the gem was or its value.
  • How thankful the owner was upon the gem’s return.
  • Rejoicing comes with the return of a treasure.
  • Someone found and returned the gem to its owner.
  • The owner taking the time necessary to clean up the gem and return it to the place of display.
  • Once again the gem could be enjoyed by its owner and all those who got to see it on display.

How this story can apply to us today:

  • We are God’s beautiful treasure. ~ Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. Extra reading: Psalm 139:13-24
  • Satan is a thief; God is a giver of life. Satan wants to see our lives destroyed; God wants to give us not only a life, but an abundant life. ~ John 10:10 The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure.
  • When we come to Christ, He is able to cleanse us. I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • There is great rejoicing when a sinner returns to the Father. Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Extra reading: Luke 15:8-10 
  • We can shine again for God and others to see. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
  • God is asking all Christians to be on the lookout for His stolen gems. You may find them dirty and broken. That’s okay. They haven’t lost their value. God will make them shine again!! Luke 19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. ~ He calls us to go too. Matthew 28:19-20 ~ Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20)teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.. Amen.

What about you? Are you one of God’s gems who has been stolen by the enemy? Maybe you are dirtied and broken. Jesus wants to take you back to the Father where you can be cleaned and your value and beauty can once again be seen by all. Your life can be used for its intended purpose, to bring honor and glory to the Father. Will you come to Christ and allow Him to cleanse you and place you on display where others can be in awe of His masterpiece so He can receive the glory due His name?

Be the gem you were created to be:

G od’s

E mpowered

M asterpiece

Or maybe you are one who the Owner has asked to be on the lookout for one of His gems. Have you been looking? Maybe you have found some but all you see is the dirt and brokenness and think that they have no value. They do!!! Lead them to the Savior where they can be cleaned and made whole again.

Written by Linda Svacha, BCBC in dedication to one of God’s precious masterpieces.

The Table Acronym

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  • T ~ talking-Statistics have shown that a family who eats and spends time together around the table lowers their children’s chances of getting into trouble and making poor choices. There is nothing better than sharing life with those you love around the kitchen table. Problems have been solved and many victories have been celebrated there. The memories created will last a lifetime.

~Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

  • A ~ activities-Bonding is happening when you do things together. What a blessing to watch the activities around the table: birthday celebrations, countless meals, card making for caroling and other special occasions, games won & lost, inventions, creations made with Lego’s and we do not want to forget the endless hours of homework (well, maybe not so much bonding with that one, lol).

~I Corinthians 10:31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

  • B ~ Bible studies-Some of my greatest joys have been opening the Bible with others to learn and grow together in our walks with the Lord. Hearing the powerful testimonies of what God is doing in and through each of us has been such an encouragement. His word sure is alive, powerful, and transforming!! It is so humbling going with others into the throne room of God to seek His wisdom and will.

~Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

  • L ~ laughter-Hearing funny stories with belly laughter around the table is the best. There is nothing like a good friend who always has a story to tell that will get you laughing.

~Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.

  • E ~ eternity-Our kitchen table has been one of our greatest investments. The talking together, activities shared, opening of the Bible, and the belly laughs have all in one way or another have been used with the hopes of seeing many around the eternal table. Spending eternity with our Lord and those we have done life with is something I and those found in Christ look forward to.

~Revelations 19:9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”

I love and am so thankful for my kitchen table. So many wonderful memories have been made there and I look forward to the numerous ones to come. Is your kitchen table a special place?

Spring is New Life~Winter is Gone!!

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I love springtime in Michigan!! Springtime is invigorating because it follows the darkest, coldest season of the year. Winters can be long, cold, and depressing, but thank God they do not last forever. Spring ALWAYS comes, even when we wonder if it ever will. Spring is a time when people emerge from their homes with smiles on their faces and a walk in their step. Many are out cleaning up what was left undone during the cold winter months. We can hear birds chirping, see trees in full bloom; feel the warmth of the sun; and smell worms after an April rain. We feel alive again after being shut up for so long.

     One of my favorite things about spring is seeing the beauty of so many trees filled with flowers. I love flowers!! Every year, the same excitement wells up within me as if I’m seeing them for the first time. Sometimes I wonder if people tire of me pointing them out year after year. I just can’t help myself. I feel like God gives them to me to energize me and send me on my way. He lets me know that I am special and He is not done with me yet. He still has more for me to do.

Flowers motivate us and let us know we are loved and life is worth living. Think about it! When someone passes away, funeral homes are usually filled with flowers to let loved ones know that they are special and there is still a life to be lived. On Valentine’s Day, so often a man will bring his love flowers to let her know that she holds an extraordinary place in his heart. When someone is sick or feeling down, often flowers are brought to cheer the person up. Yes, flowers are special!!

Maybe you’ve been going through a cold, dark season in your life. I can assure you there is an end and spring is here!! Whenever you see a flower, know that God placed it there just for you and you hold a special place in His heart. He wants you to know that you are loved and unique. Like that flower, you are one-of-a-kind, created for a purpose that only you can fulfill. Trees filled with flowers are God’s bouquets to you!! You have a life to be lived and a purpose to be fulfilled! Get up and go!! It’s time to go clean up the debris from the past so you can live your life to the fullest and complete the purpose you were created for!!

Thank you God for spring!!!

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

 

Get to the Root

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We are aware that sex trafficking, rape, abortion, pornography, STDs, divorce, domestic violence, and many single-parent homes are ruining our society, causing a great deal of pain and destruction. Countless people have been actively fighting against these problems for years. Why then are these issues and others continuing to plague our country and the world around us? Because we are cultivating these offshoots!! Believe it or not, many of the people who go out and fight these issues are unknowingly a part of cultivating the soil in which they thrive. Unless we are willing to get our hands dirty, expose and pull these by-products up by the root, they WILL continue.

All these problems have the same damaging root source ~ the distortion of God’s design for sex and intimacy. As long as we continue to focus on the individual issues without addressing the root cause, these issues and more will continue to surface and grow. We must focus on destroying the source in order for these problems to die off. Can you imagine how powerful it could be if everyone who is fighting all these individual causes got together and attacked the root?  Actually, the place to start won’t cost you a dime. It may even save you money. Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

First, we must have a right understanding of what God’s design for sex and intimacy is. God designed sex to be a powerful, unifying means for a husband and wife to become one flesh for life and to procreate in a family setting. When sex is used as an activity or to fulfill a lustful desire instead of the loving unification of a husband and wife for life, it has destructive effects. People become objects that are used and abused (objects don’t have feelings). These troubles do not happen when God’s design for marriage and family are properly in place. Stop and take a moment to see that all these issues truly DO stem from relationships taken out of God’s design.

Next, we must STOP encouraging children to get into romantic relationships before they are ready to marry. It is NOT funny or cute to see young teens and younger starting to date. When a person is in a relationship, their brain releases oxytocin (a bonding hormone). This hormone builds trust and unity and a God-given desire to get more intimate. We are either asking our children to fight against that emotion or give in to it. Neither is God’s design. Knowing the statistics, we can see how many are giving in and the damaging effects sex before marriage is having. Instead, let’s teach our teens the qualities and the skills necessary to be productive people, spouses, and parents. Will you be a part of taking the time to teach and train our next generation? Contact your pastor or myself on ways to get started.

Last is the hard part. Sex sells!!! You must decide to have NO part in anything that promotes or condones anything contrary to God’s design. Whenever we watch a show or movie, read a book, or play a video game that distorts God’s design, we take part in creating a culture that produces the by-products previously shared. Our cable companies, stores, movies theaters, and rental sources know who is watching what. They don’t know if you’re against something in it. If you are against something, why would you want to be a part of it? Can you imagine if every person who is against any or all of the issues mentioned at the beginning would refuse to watch, read, play, or listen to anything that goes against God-designed relationships? Here are two ways you can begin to dig up the root: 1) Go to http://www.pluggedin.com where they have the context of most media. If sex outside of God’s design or condoned abuse is in it, don’t participate. 2) Look into subscribing to http://pureflix.com/  where your family can watch good wholesome movies.

Remember what goes in WILL come out. We can clearly see that what has been going into us and our children has been coming out in very damaging ways. Will the change begin with you? Our children, grandchildren and country are depending on us! Are you in? With God behind us, we can take back the land that Satan has stolen, but we MUST do our part.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

By Linda Svacha, BCBC

Men of Valor Where Are You

Knights-Templar-4      On behalf of so many hurting women, I am crying out to the male population to be the men and leaders that God has called you to be.  We need men of valor who are not afraid to take a stand for what they know is right. I beg you to please read the following. We NEED you!!!!

Currently, women and children are being treated worse than any other time in our nation. An astronomical amount of women and children are being treated like objects, used and tossed like a piece of garbage. Young girls are being raped in their own homes by the very men who are supposed to be protecting them. The average age for sex-slavery is 13. Over 300,000 youth in the United States are at risk to be sold to satisfy the lusts of men. Young men think nothing of taking sex from a girl whether she says no or not. That is called rape! The men go on their merry way leaving their victims to suffer in silence. Approximately 20 million people will contract a new STD every single year. Sex outside the marriage bed HARMS!!

Over one million babies are ripped from their mother’s bodies each year. Again, the women are left to suffer in silence. There are over 10 million single family homes. Nearly one in three American children live without a father. Where are the fathers who are suppose to protect and provide for their families? Men are beating the women and children who love them with their fists and emotional words at an alarming rate. In one DAY, over 64,000 people received services for domestic violence. Boys are assaulting their mothers and sisters while the fathers stand back and watch. Where are our men of valor who will stand up and put a stop to this evil in our country?

How have such a large number of our men fallen so far from what God created them to be? I believe there are a number of reasons. One is that many men have a lack of understanding of what a true godly leader looks like. Good leaders use their power and position to benefit those who they are leading; they do not use them for self gain. Leaders love, nurture, and protect those under them, exhorting, encouraging, and empowering them to be all God created them to be. It is easy for someone under good leadership to trust and submit to their leader because they know the leader has their best interest at heart. The greatest example of this is Christ and His Church. He sacrificed His whole life for His followers. He did nothing for Himself. His followers submit to His loving lead. Marriage is to model Christ’s example so people can understand what a relationship with Christ looks like.

Another reason is the breakdown of the family. In America before the World Wars, most men provided for their family while the women managed the household. During the wars due to the lack of men, many women went out into the work force. They received a wage and satisfaction for what they accomplished. Kids were being left alone or with sitters and were no longer under the total care and supervision of their parents causing the authority of parents to weaken. This dilemma worsened when the men came home from war and women continued to work. Not only were the children suffering from lack of proper care and guidance, women were expected to continue to manage their households on top of working. Most men looked at housework as woman’s work and wanted no part of it.  Women were becoming exhausted and feeling unappreciated. One person should not be expected to do so much. It is time to take a good look and reevaluate the home to make sure one person is not carrying too much of the load and that the children are receiving the proper guidance and care necessary for them to grown into responsible adults.

In the 60’s and 70’s numerous women were tired of feeling unappreciated and unloved. Others were treated like doormats being walked all over in the name of submission. Tired of being treated like they were less valuable, a movement began where numerous women were making statements like, “We can do life on our own” and “We don’t need a man.” Women were feeling empowered like never before causing more to follow. Many women now had a means to support the family and walked away from bondage they were feeling. Other men gave women the leadership they so desperately desired. Men giving up their God-given role as leaders was not the answer. The answer was for men to be the affectionate leaders they were fashioned to be, creating an atmosphere where women and children could feel safe and loved.

Then, during this same time that women were wanting their freedom from the oppression they were feeling, the “Free Love” movement sprang up.  To many, this is where the sexual union openly became just a pleasurable activity instead of a scared bonding between a husband and wife. Men were having their fill of sexual satisfaction without the responsibility and commitment of leading and providing for their families. Women were getting the “love” and attention they so desperately longed for. In their eyes, love was free and life was great! If only they could have looked ahead forty to fifty years to see that free-love is not free and life really is not as great for women and children as they thought it would be. Women have become objects to be used for pleasure instead of a valuable treasure worth keeping for life. Children not being guided and cared for properly has resulted in them becoming irresponsible adults unable to make wise choices. We need men to stop using women as objects to satisfy their sexual lusts and respect women enough to save sexual pleasure for the marriage bed.

Men of valor we NEED you!!! What is a man of valor? A man of valor is a man who has the strength of mind and spirit that enables him to encounter danger with firmness. He has personal bravery, caring only what God thinks of him and not what others think. He takes seriously the role of leader that God has given to men. We need men who will be the loving, sacrificial, and protecting leaders they were designed to be. The following are ways you can begin:

  • Recognize that good leaders use their power and position to benefit those who they are leading; they do not use them for self gain. They love, nurture, and protect those under them.
    • Leaders are not better than those under them. All people are to be valued and respected regardless of position and status.
    • A true man does not take advantage of those who are weaker; he stands up and protects them.
    • Women and children have feelings, value, and worth.
      • Listen to them and take seriously what they have to say.
      • Respect and treat them like valuable treasures.
      • Oversee what is necessary to make sure that their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are being met.
    • Be willing to sacrifice your wants and desires to benefit what is best for your family unit.
  • Understand that women are not sex objects to be used to satisfy your lust and tossed aside like a dirty rag.
    • The sexual union is a mutual bonding between a husband and wife where love, safety, and trust are built. When confined within the marriage union, it is a beautiful, pleasurable bonding.
    • When sex is taken outside of marriage or with force, there is great physical and emotional danger.
    • Protect the women in your life by saving sex for the woman you are/will be married to and no other.
    • Stop degrading women by looking at pornography. It can become addicting and lessen intimacy between you and your spouse.
    • Do not laugh at or even listen to jokes where women are considered sex objects. Better yet, when someone makes jokes or remarks about women, speak up and let it be know that you want no part of degrading and devaluing women.
  • Do not be silent!
    • Talk, teach, and train the next generation how to value a woman. Most media, music, and video games are teaching boys that women are objects to be used and abused, devalued and degraded.
      • Modeling a true godly leader speaks volumes. Be a loving leader to the girls and women in your life.
        • Do not watch, listen, or play any type of media where it is considered okay for women to be used (sex before marriage), abused, or degraded in any way by a man. The sad thing is that you will be surprised how little there is left. Pluggedin.com is a great resource that lets you know what is in movies, music, and video games before you watch or play them.
      • Have intentional talks explaining to boys what a true leader is.
        • Explain that a woman is a valuable treasure. Her beauty and body are to be enjoyed solely by her husband.
        • Help them see they should be old and mature enough to handle the responsibility of caring for someone else’s heart before they ever think about dating.
      • If you see a man or boy treating a woman poorly, DO NOT keep quiet! Talk to them. Explain how name calling, lying, controlling, neglect, and physical harm are ALL abuse. Men and boys need to hear this from men, not women.
    • Go the extra mile to get involved in organizations that are trying to help women who are being abused. We need men who will stand up and say, “Enough is enough!!” Men will listen to other men. Let women see that there is hope and that there are still good men out there.
  • Get outside help if needed. There are times when the wife is doing the abusing. The answer is not to fight back or passively allow it to continue, but to get the family the help that is needed. Be assertive (taking positive action), not passive (allowing the abuse to continue) or aggressive (abusing back). You are the leader; it is up to you to keep your home a safe place for everyone who lives there.

I know some of you reading this are men of valor and we want to say thank-you. You are our heroes. Thank you to the men who:

  • Love, nurture, and protect the women in your life.
  • Treat your wife as a valuable helpmate, not a slave or doormat.
  • Listen and respect what your wife and children have to say and take in account their feelings when making decisions.
  • Refuse to watch, listen, or play anything where premarital sex is glamorized or where women are abused or degraded.
  • Intentionally talk, teach, and train boys and young men to be true leaders.
  • Take responsibility to provide and care for your family.
  • Go the extra mile to proactively get involved in putting an end to women being used and abused.
  • Do not degrade women in your jokes and who stand up and say something when someone does.

After reading this, I hope that you will put into action ways to help bring back the value of a woman.

Thank you and God Bless!

Linda Svacha, BCBC

Only a Reflection of the Son

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The color and illumination of a harvest moon is breathtaking. People will look at the moon and stand in awe of its beauty. The remarkable reality is that the brilliant light and color do not come from the moon; they are merely the reflection from a greater light, the sun. Often, we are so captured by the splendor of the moon that we forget where its source of beauty and light come from. Without the light of the sun, the moon is dark and barely able to be seen. When the earth, the moon, and the sun are in the proper alignment, the total reflection of the sun is visible and the results are spectacular.

This truth reminds me of being a Christian. When the Christian, the world, and the Son are in proper alignment, people are able to see the whole reflection of the Son shining from us. That light does not come from us, but from Christ. Without Christ, our lives are unable to shine with such brilliance. It sure would be nice to take the credit, but we cannot. As Christians, we want our lives to bring glory and honor to our Savior, not us. Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The next time a Christian blesses your life or you see their life shine with peace, joy, and happiness, remember none of that comes from them, but is a reflection of their Savior. Their life is simply aligned with Christ in such a way that you are able to see the total reflection of Christ. Enjoy the fruits from a Christian, but remember the source and acknowledge Him.

Christian, let your life shine with such intensity that the world will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven!

By: Linda Svacha, BCBC

Lesson Learned: Loving Those Who Act Unlovable

This morning I read an article that Rhonda Hines had posted about loving the people who are acting unlovable. Well, God gave me a chance to do just that. I went to give blood and the nurse checking me in seemed a little blunt and snippy. When she took my blood pressure, it was a little high. I thought, “Yeah, you’re probably the reason.”  After I finished answering some more questions, a real nice nurse throwing out compliments completed the check in. When I got to the table, what nurse did I end up with? You guessed it, the snippy one. I thought, “I wish I would have gotten the other one.” God had different plans. He wanted me to love the one who was acting unlovable. I wasn’t lying there more than two minutes when my nurse said something to another nurse about dealing with the stress of caring for her elderly mother. That nurse told my nurse that she’s learned to give things to God. My nurse began to cry.

I began to share a couple of situations that I was faced with as my mother aged. My nurse then began to unload some of what she was going through. We were able to talk the whole time I gave blood. When it was time for me to leave, my nurse said, “Thank you so much for listening. I didn’t mean to be so snippy earlier. I’ve just been under so much stress. Thanks again for listening.”  I gave her a hug and told her, “This world needs more children like you. You’re doing great toward your mother.”

Now, I pray that the Lord will give me the people acting unlovable because they are the ones who need a touch from God. I want to be God’s vessel to bring hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak, encouragement to the stressed, and a smile to the unlovable.

I’m thankful that God continues to teach and use me.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂