Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolution - the "true beauty" challenge

Well, it's almost 2012, which to some of us means new year resolutions -  a time to say goodbye to this year and its mistakes and start a new one fresh. To help us out we see a ton of advertisements telling us we need this plan to lose weight, this gym to tone up the muscles, this line of makeup to cover up those wrinkles and have flawless skin and that line of hair color to cover up grays and look younger.  Most media will feed the notion that your beauty isn't quite good enough and you need to change in order to be truly beautiful. 

What a load of garbage.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."   I Peter 3:3-4

This scripture is awesome, because it tells you where true beauty lies - inside.  Nothing wrong with fixing your hair or taking care of your outward appearance, but those things will change, fade and decay with time.  True beauty, inner beauty, is unfading.  And I promise you, regardless of your weight, height, amount of wrinkles on your face or gray in your hair - if you have inner beauty it radiates from the inside out.  Inner beauty is undeniable!

You are a beautiful person, because God created you that way!  This year, let's stop putting ourselves down and speaking negatively about ourselves.  This year, let's focus on developing that radiant inner beauty.  This year, let's shine as the light God intended us to be!

I'm going to present 4 challenges over the coming weeks designed to help us cultivate true beauty.  Don't look at any of them as areas you may be deficient, but as areas that can pour positivity into your life!  I look forward to sharing with you in the weeks to come!  The challenges are: 1) Do you hear God calling? 2) Are you "eating" right?  3) How's your fruit growing?  4) Are you really showing love to others?

May God bless and keep you!  Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Feeling lonely, sad or unloved this Christmas?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Believe it or not, I used to hate Christmas time.  Seriously.  I was single while most of my friends were married, I lived alone, and worked in retail management, which meant I was pretty much owned by my job.  When my friends were at parties, I was at work.   When my friends were cooking and decorating, I was at work.  When my family was trimming the tree, I was at work.  You get the idea.  I didn't have time for the "Norman Rockwell" version of Christmas, and all the Christmas songs just reminded me of what it seemed that everyone else had, but I didn't.

Can you relate?

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but can also be very lonely for those of us who are going through a hard time.  I know three beautiful people who have lost their fathers only months ago, and this is their first Christmas without them.  There are many of us who are alone - perhaps without family members and/or friends who are living or without the ability to be near family.  Some are serving our country in a foreign land.  Some of us, even, can be around many people, but still feel the hurt of sadness and loneliness.

You may feel lonely, sad, or unloved this holiday.  Please know that you are deeply loved.  God loves you so much that he gave his son for you.  That's so easy to hear, because it's been broadcast over and over again, but please read it again and allow the words to really sink in - God loved YOU (yes, YOU, it doesn't matter who you are or what you've done in your life) so much that the only son he had was allowed to be brutally beaten and murdered - for your sake.  He allowed him to be the substitute for you.  Jesus died, so that if you believe in him, you will not perish in Hell, but live with God for eternity.  That's the ultimate gift - the gift of his life in exchange for yours.  Hear the word of God as he entreats you - accept his gift.  He wants to love you.  He wants to ease your pain.  He wants to take away your loneliness.  He wants to mend your wounds, heal your broken heart, be your friend and family.  He can be all those things and more - all you have to do is accept him.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me." Revelation 3:20  Won't you accept his invitation?  Open the door to Jesus and give him your loneliness, hurt, pain, heartache and longing.  Let him give you the gift of salvation and with it peace, joy and love.  It's not a catchphrase, and it's not a myth.  Jesus' love is real.  God's love is real.

You aren't unloved.  You are precious to God.  Reach out to him - he's always available and ready to listen to you!  If you feel like you need someone to pray for you, please email me - I'll be happy to pray for you!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and give you peace.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's your guilty pleasure Christmas song?

I know there are always the classics that everyone loves to hear and to sing this time of year, but what about those crazy ones that make us smile even when others look at us like we've lost our minds?

I absolutely love "Christmas don't be late" by Alvin and the Chipmunks.  There is something about that song that always cracks me up and makes me smile.  I'll crank up that song, and whatever holiday stress I might be feeling will melt away.  I could even hear that song in August and it would make me feel like I was ready for Christmas!  My husband will looks at me like he feels sorry for my lack of taste, but I think he secretly likes "Grandma got runover by a reindeer", so I forgive him.....   :)

What are your favorite "guilty pleasure" Christmas songs??

Enjoy your Christmas!

The Spirit of Christmas? JOY!

Except for the craziness often associated with this time of year (see last week's blog post), I really love the Christmas season.  People tend to be a little happier, a little friendlier.  Focus is placed on giving to those in need, whether it be in the form of food and toy donations or adopting families who are less fortunate to give them the Christmas they would not have otherwise.  You hear folks talk and sing about the "spirit" of Christmas, and how they wished it would last all year long. It can, you know.  For what is the spirit of Christmas?  It is the spirit of Christ, of Jesus.  It is the spirit of joy.

When I was a child, on the walls in Sunday school I often saw joy described this way: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.  It's a rather simplified way of looking at it, but it's truthful.  We must realize that joy is not about being happy - happiness is based on emotion, which is usually determined by our situation or circumstance.  Being joyful means that we have a confidence, assurance or trust that God is always with us and is always working on our behalf.  It's trust in God to help us through any circumstance.

If we look at joy that way then it makes perfect sense: in all situations look to Jesus first, then put others' needs before thinking of yourself.  Joy doesn't always come naturally or easily, sometimes we have to work harder to keep it. We can even lose our joy if we're not careful to guard our hearts. Cultivate joy, nurture and protect it. Ask God to help you sense His joy in the circumstance or season in life that you are experiencing now.  He rewards those who diligently seek him.

Try actively being joyful every day and watch the "Christmas spirit" surround you - all year long! 

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

May God Bless and keep you, and  Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Card for week 2 - Peace scriptures

Hi friends!  Here is the card that corresponds with week 2's message of peace!  Click on the link to go to my etsy site if you'd like to purchase the card, it is $2 for one, or $18 for 10!  Have a blessed day!

The Spirit of Christmas - Peace NOT hustle & bustle!

Hustle & bustle.  When you think of the Christmas season - these words are often associated with it, aren't they?  Today I looked at my schedule for the next 10 days and had a moment (or two) of stress - included in my stuff "to do" are: choir rehearsals, service projects, church services, shopping, wrapping, parties, meetings with friends, and products to make for my business to be ready to sell after Christmas.  On top of that, I'd love to bake Christmas cookies and treats, watch some holiday movies and do other fun Christmas-y stuff.  Yikes!!!  When am I gonna have the time to get everything done?  All of a sudden I felt very stressed (if I'm going to be completely honest!) and it seemed like the Christmas holiday would be here before I knew it.  It also felt like I wouldn't be able to enjoy any of it , for all of my obligations.

Sound familiar?

As I was having my mini freak-out and going into hyper-planning mode, this scripture popped into my head - "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10)  Stillness - what a blessed thought! In the midst of all the "hustle & bustle" of the season, the ability to stop, to be quiet, calm and peaceful seems like a luxury.  It feels as if being still is counterproductive when really it's the best thing for us.

It seems ironic and sad to me how bent out of shape we can get (myself included) around Christmas time.  We want the ideal Christmas - beautifully decorated home,a lush tree with gorgeous ornaments surrounded by an abundance of brightly wrapped gifts, a festive table groaning with the weight of a delicious meal, a home smelling for freshly baked cookies. We book our calendars full with parties, events, projects, services and get-togethers with friends. We rush here and there, filling our time with so much to do that we don't enjoy the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'   Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'

Peace to men.  A savior was born to us who brought, among many things, peace to our lives.  One of the many fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, Jesus desires us to cultivate peace.  How can we do this?  Especially during the Christmas season?  I have three suggestions that can help you during all seasons of your life.  Try them consistently and see how they help!

1) Just say no.  Ok, I was a child of the 80's and this was a call to say no to drugs, but saying no in your life can help a lot!  Do you really have to go to that party/ get-together/ eggnog tasting party?  Is it really important that you make an elaborate gingerbread replica of your home/ hand make every Christmas ornament like Martha Stewart/ decorate your home like the Griswolds from "Christmas Vacation"?  Take stock.  Prioritize.  Simplify.  There has to be something you can say "no" to that will free up some time to relax.  Take that time.

2) Just say "thanks"!  Begin your day on the right foot and in a positive mood by saying "thank you" for something in your life. Trust me, there is at least one thing that you can be thankful for.  Look hard. You're alive, have eyes to read this blog (or ears to hear it being read to you), you have a God that loves you.  Thank God for that.  Keep doing it.  The more you look, the more you'll see blessings all around you.  Especially when things feel stressful - say thanks! It's hard to be stressed and thankful at the same time!

3) Just say a prayer.  Praying isn't supposed to be hard! You don't have to use fancy words or sound like a minister.  Prayer is simply talking to God.  Talk to him like he's in the room with you.  He may have a lot on his plate, but he is never too busy to listen to his children. Prayer changes lives, hearts and attitudes.  It can change yours, too.  Pray that God helps you develop peace in your own life.

I wish for you all a wonderful Christmas season!  Be still, and allow God to fill you with his spirit of peace.

May God bless and keep you,

Would you like to see the "card of the week" for this message?  Check out this link:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Card of the week - hope

Here are pics of the card of the week, as well as a link to my etsy shop if you wish to purchase it!  You may buy one card for $2 or a box of 10 for $18.  If you'd like to buy more than 10, feel free to email me!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hope - God has a plan for you!

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

I met a sweet lady in VA at the church my in-laws attend.  She was quite distraught and wanted prayer - but what she really needed in her soul was comfort, reassurances and answers.  She had battled substance abuse and was now sober, but her husband and children were still victims of the bondage of substance abuse.  She grieved for her family; felt the helplessness of a wife and mother who wanted to fix things for her husband and children.  She needed help.

How often do we all feel this helplessness with our own troubles at times?  We are at our wits' end. We don't know where else to turn.  We have exhausted all our resources and don't know where to go next.  The future seems bleak without a clear path.

It felt the same way for the Israelites many years ago.  They had been captured, taken from their homeland in Jerusalem and carried away in exile to Egypt.  Everything they knew and owned was destroyed - all seemed hopeless.  But God, through his prophet Jeremiah, sent them a letter and in it he (God) told them that He "had plans for them - plans to prosper them and not to harm them. Plans to give them hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)  Even though it had seemed all was lost - when things were at their bleakest point - God still had wonderful things planned for them.  They just had to wait a little while for the right time - God's time.

Guess what?  He has plans for us today, too!  The God that had encouragement and future plans for his remnant (the remaining Israelites) in Egypt has plans to give us a hope and future today.  God is so much bigger than our problems and has so much in store for us!

"Sure," you may be thinking.  "It's easy for you to say - you don't know what I'm going through."  You're right, I don't, but God does.  And he promises he can get you through whatever valley you are in.  How can you get this hope?  Let's keep reading in Jeremiah what God had to say to the captured Israelites - "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29: 12-13)

Do you want the hope God provides?  Do you want to know His plans for you - the future He wants for you?  Seek Him with all your heart.  Pray to Him.  Ask Him for guidance.  Believe that He loves you and believe His promises.  Believe God!  He is faithful.

I wish for you the hope that God brings - not only in this Christmas season, but throughout the coming year!

May God bless you and keep you,

If you would like to see (and/or purchase) the "card of the week" that corresponds with this blog - please see this link:

About "comforts and joys"

Hi friends!  I'm Robin.  I'm a wife, a dog mom and owner of a fledgling business - Robin's Nest Paper and Home.  At the core of my life, however, I'm a Christ follower, which influences every aspect of how I perceive & live my life.

The world we live in is a beautiful place, but can also be filled with hardship.  Times are uncertain and can often be discouraging.  I wanted to drop a line every week (maybe more, if I'm feeling particularly chatty!) to provide some words of comfort and joy, from a Biblical perspective. Aren't there enough negative influences in the world?  Let's have a positive one.

I hope you enjoy the blog and encourage you to look up any scriptures on your own.  Don't just take what I have to say - let God speak to you through his word.  Also, each week I'll offer a "card of the week" on my etsy page that ties in with the weekly blog.  (Feel free to purchase them from my etsy site or email me here with an order.)  Give the card away as a note of encouragement to friends, a secret pal, ladies group, whatever! And please, if you think of someone who could use encouragement, or if this blog helps you in any way, share it with others!

Do you have any questions about what you've read, have a prayer request or a report of praise?  Please email me - I would love to pray for you!

May God bless you!