The Monday After: Habits of Happiness: Be Happy No Matter What {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, June 16, 2014: Habits of Happiness: Be Happy No Matter What {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

I consider myself a happy person. Growing up I was at times labeled naive. I could agree with that to a certain degree, but it would bother me. I am the type of person who likes to see the best in others. I like to hope that people I come in contact with can be trusted. I like to see the bright side of things and be optimistic. At one point I wanted to change until I realized God made me this way; I liked wearing my rose-colored glasses.

Yesterday, Pastor Joe said the pursuit of happiness was a choice. I firmly believe that. I believe we can choose to be happy no matter what is going on in life. Does this mean nothing bothers us?  No, of course not!.  Does this mean we never worry? Not at all.  What it means is that when something happens that affects the world around us in a negative way, we choose to look for the positive side.

When I feel discouraged I love to sing Donald Lawrence’s song Encourage Yourself

Sometimes you have to encourage yourself.
Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test.
And no matter how you feel,
speak the word and you will be healed;
speak over yourself,
encourage yourself in the Lord.
Sometimes you have to speak the word over yourself,
the pressure is all around,
but God is present help.
The enemy created walls,
but remember giants, they do fall;
speak over yourself,
encourage yourself in the Lord.

This song brings me to my happy place because it reminds me that things will be okay. More importantly it reminds me of why things will be okay: because God is here. With us. Right now. He sees me and knows what I am going through; he sees you and knows what you are going through. Whatever circumstance or situation, He has control. That doesn’t make it easy,  but we can rejoice in the Lord in spite of it. I can choose to be happy.

Pastor Joe also said waiting for the perfect circumstance in order to be happy can leave you miserable. So many people feel like having all their ducks in a row that will bring them happiness. Problem is nothing is ever perfect. The minute something occurs to disturb the flow of the water those ducks are knocked off course. But when they are, they simply adjust. Have you ever seen ducks shaken by water and freak out? They simply adjust.

Pastor Joe gave two habits of happiness yesterday:

  1. Take a broad look at your problems.
  2. Take a narrow look at your priorities.

When you look at your problems, the way to happiness is to change your perspective and realize that your problem may be essential to your progress.

When you look at your priorities consider whether or not the current situation will even matter years from now.  If it won’t let it go, let it gooo and let it bother you no mo’.

Gotta love the movie Frozen.

Anyway, yes, when we learn to let go we do like Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

So let it go and let God take control. If you still struggle I can let you borrow my glasses; they are the perfect shade of rose.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

The Monday After: Jesus: Savoring Jesus {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, May 25, 2014 : Son of God, Son of Man {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

In my life I have been passionate about many things, but at this moment I am most passionate about one thing: making cakes.

A long time ago I decided that I would learn to bake. I researched and practiced and kept at it until I achieved success. It wasn’t easy, but it has become a part of me and is something I am now passionate about.

I eat, sleep and breathe cake recipes, cake designs, cake tips and anything cake-related. If I am asked to make a cake for someone, my mission in life then becomes that cake until the day I hand it over to them. I think about it before I go to bed, when I awake in the morning and during the day. Baking and decorating cakes bring me joy, and it gives me life.

The other day my husband told me that my passion was obvious from the words I spoke. I realized that I have allowed this one thing to have a strong controlling feeling over me that forces me to action.

So I thought, “What would it look like if I developed a passion like that for God?”

Think back to the time when you feel in love with your spouse. If you are single, think of a time when you felt in love with someone. Let’s look back at the days of note writing and flower petals. Those days where you would write “do you like me” on a piece of paper and excitedly await for the answer. Go back to the days where you would pick the petals off of flowers. If you happen to choose a flower that caused you to not have enough petals to land on the answer that you wanted, you would start again with another flower not giving up until you had the answer you desired.

When you realized that the feelings were mutual you couldn’t wait to see that person. Your heart skipped a beat at the mention of his or her name. You were intently focused on that person when together. Your conversation was about him or her and that person was in your every thought. A strong controlling feeling had come over you that moved you to action. When this occurred as you grew older the action that comes about is the desire to commit your life to someone. You then make a conscious decision to devote your time to making a relationship with them work.

Now imagine it being God. You don’t have to ask Him if he likes you. You don’t even have to pull the petals off of flowers to determine His love. Knowing that the feelings are mutual you can just allow passion to take over, but there lies the problem; you can’t allow passion to take over because you have not allowed passion to develop. Passion starts with an interest and is fueled by effort put toward it. The more fuel you have the more passion develops. Eventually it is full grown and it a strong controlling feeling that moves you to action. In order to have that passion for God we must make a conscious decision to enter into a relationship with Him. These are the steps we can take to make that happen:

Before going to bed at night, talk to Him. When waking up in the morning, be with Him. Going throughout your day, think of Him. Allowing the words spoken to be lead by Him. Let the places you go be guided by Him. Let the walls you’ve built through business and the distractions of life come down so that He can come in. It will take time and it will take effort but it will be so worth it. Soon you will have a strong controlling feeling come over you that will move you to action.

Are you ready for some passion in your life?

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

The Monday After: Son of God, Son of Man {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday,April 27, 2014 : Son of God, Son of Man {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

It was her third offense.  She had already been in front of this judge before, and he told her that the next time the outcome would not be in her favor.  As she walked into the courtroom her head hung low.  You could see the shame and the guilt that weighed upon her.  She lifted her head as she got close to her seat and you could see the tears that were welling up in her eyes.  She tried to hold them back but the fear of her impending consequence overwhelmed her.  Thoughts ran through her mind of how foolish she was to do the same thing over and over again.  It was as if there was something pulling her in the wrong direction while at the same time something else tugged at her heart.  At times the temptations were too strong, and she could not resist, thus leading her once again down the path of destruction.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Cass.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Cass.
The officer of the court asked everyone to rise and prepare for the entrance of the judge.  Around the room were those who bore witness to her crimes as well as those who hoped for mercy to be bestowed upon her.  The judge entered the room and allowed everyone to be seated, everyone that is, except her.  She stood there shaking, so weak from the pain of disappointment that troubled her soul.  She felt empty and broken beyond repair. 
 
The judge asked her if she had representation.  She desired to have someone present that could support her and plead her case but no one would do it.  Most agreed that it was time for her to suffer the consequences of her actions.  She opened her lips that were wet from the tears that had fallen around her face but before she could speak a gentleman walked into the room.  He spoke up and said that he would go before the judge on her behalf.  Her vision was blurred from her tears so this person wasn’t clear to her yet.  As he walked closer she was surprised to see that he wasn’t a lawyer at all but a regular person.  She wanted his help but how could someone who looks just like her go before someone so powerful.
The man spoke softly but you could feel the authority in his voice because the room grew quiet and listened intently.  He said he understood her challenges and he knew her struggles.  He confessed that he had been tempted just as she and he felt her fears.  He admitted that living life without breaking a few rules wasn’t easy, and he knew her heart.  He knew that she wanted to do the right thing as a battle raged on inside her and that he had the answer.
He turned to her and told her that if she would trust him he could give her some help.  He could place someone in her life that would walk with her along the way.  He said that he would place escape routes all around her that would allow her to quickly leave any situation.  All she had to do was choose.  She accepted his offer still unsure of what the final outcome would be.  Then turned to face the judge who was about to reveal her destiny.
In her mind she thought clearly there was no way the judge would give her another chance.  The gentleman spoke well but this wasn’t her first offense.  The judge cleared his throat to break the silence that filled the room and then unexpectedly, said three powerful words to her, “you … are … free.”

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

The Monday After: The Authority of the Bible {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, March 23, 2014 : The Authority of the Bible {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

Original Sin Guido Nincheri, Saint-Léon de Wesmount - Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
Original Sin Guido Nincheri, Saint-Léon de Wesmount – Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

Imagine with me the first days on Earth as God brings forth all there is to be. The sun shines at the dawn of a new day.The birds are singing their morning song. In the distance clouds move ever so easily as the wind sways them; yet something is missing. Everything Adam could possibly want is at his finger tips so what else could there be?

He awakens again to the same beauty around that was there once before except now something is different. God, in His wisdom, has looked into the very depth of his soul and knew that he needed more. He met a need that Adam was unaware even existed. He saw into his heart and gave him Eve.

I wake in the morning, and I know — I am Adam.

And I am grateful that God can see into my heart and meet needs that I am not aware exist.

1st Samuel 16:7 says,

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

To a stranger passing by our life may look perfect at times — like we have everything we need and we have it all together. I myself have had many people tell me that they thought I had it all together, but I made sure I set pride aside to reveal to them the truth. I am a work in progress.  I am a piece of clay, and I need God to continually mold me. At times I may be hard, already set clay, and he needs a sharper instrument to make me into what he wants me to be. God looks into my heart, and He knows what I need and what I need to remove. He sees beyond what already is and knows what I need.

Spending time in His word helps with this process. It doesn’t make the process any easier but just like the warmth of your hands can soften clay,  the Bible softens my heart.  When my heart is softer He can work with me more easily. He can then make me into who HE wants me to be. I don’t always bend in the direction He wants me to go, there are times when I resist. It is in those times that I need to be broken so that He can remake me again.

As I go through this process over and over again with Him I learn to trust His guiding hand. I have learned to trust His word. Sure the process is still painful at times but I know that it is for my good. That is when being in His word gives me strength. I need to have His word in me so that I can lean on those scriptures that I know to be true.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”  I may not always understand but I still need to trust and acknowledge Him.

I follow my husband’s leading when it comes to making decisions — no, not all the time and not without kicking of heals. But when I reflect on his history with decision-making he has never steered me wrong. I’ve realized I need to trust him. God reminds me that my husband has my best interest at heart. God is like that, except perfect.

When I look back over my life I see God’s hand in the good and the bad. I see Him guiding me and looking into my heart and giving me what I need. I trust Him and I know that I can take Him at His word. He has my best interest at heart because He knows my heart.  He knows yours, too.

This week is to try setting aside time to strengthen your connection with Him. Start off simple with 5-10 minutes, and then increase as you feel led to. I heard someone say today that obedience will lead to desire and desire will lead to joy. If I am honest I have not quite gotten to the joy part consistently. I am barely at desire on some days, so my goal for now is just obedience. Ask God to look into your heart and allow Him, through His word, to meet your need.

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.

The Monday After: Why You Can Trust the Bible {Sheryll}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, January 19, 2014 : Getting Through What You’re Going Through {click HERE to listen!}

By Sheryll Belonga

Why can I trust the Bible? How can I know that what the Bible says is true? Why should I believe what the Bible says?

These are all valid questions that have been asked by many people all around the world and at one point by me. The answer I came up with: why not?

It’s funny how we struggle to believe the truth of the Bible. It may be that some of the stories seem so farfetched that we just can’t quite grasp them. Maybe it is because we weren’t there and can’t check its validity with someone who was.

For a moment let’s look at some of the things we find easy to believe:
• What we read in the newspaper or see on the news – After all, could they print something that wasn’t accurate. I mean, they did get it from a reliable source, right?
• What we see on TV – We basically make those characters a part of our family. We grieve when they grieve. We get angry when they are wronged. I am an emotional person so I know how it goes when you get caught up in it all.
• What we see on social media – It always surprises me how fast things get shared, especially those things that have negativity attached to them.

Now let’s look at the reason why we believe these things:
• We allow the stories to become a part of who we are. In doing so we let them into a place in our heart that gives them control over our thoughts, our actions and how we live our lives.

The difference between our belief that the Bible is true and all of the other things in is life application. But there can’t be life application without first reading the Word and letting it in.

When I first started seeking God I had someone show me what the bible says and tell me what they believed it meant. So when I read it I believed it to mean what they said it did. I never established ownership of those beliefs allowing me to trust what the Word said. I felt this was a wrong way to lead someone to the word of God. I essentially became a law abiding citizen of the land of their beliefs. I took up residence in their thoughts.

Years later, under the guidance of someone else, I was instructed on how to read and interpret the Word in order to take ownership of my beliefs. I was told that I needed to ask God to reveal to me the truths of His word. I was taught to pray and ask God to show me what He is trying to say to me through the Bible. I got quiet and listened for His voice. After consistently spending time seeking Him, His voice became clearer and clearer.

I prayed His word and asked that my thoughts and the desires of my heart line up with His. I let Him and His Word into my life thus making it a part of me. I gave up control and asked that He control my actions. I became not only a hearer of the word but a doer. It wasn’t long before I saw His Word become reality in my life, and I knew that I could trust in it.

That doesn’t mean that I never doubted again. It doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes question whether or not it is true. It doesn’t even mean that I understand it all. It means that I choose to just believe that it is true because it hasn’t failed me yet.

In December, after much prayer, I quit my job, and in January we became faced with some financial challenges. In the midst of it my trust remains. God promised in the Bible, the words He wrote for me, that He would supply ALL of my NEEDS and I believe that. So I will continue to wait for Him to work things out.

Why can you trust the Bible? How can you know that what the Bible says is true? Why should you believe what the Bible says? I don’t think that anyone could give you an answer that will be enough. You simply have to find the answer for yourself. Open the bible and seek Him. Only He can reveal the truth that you seek.

Lord, I pray that you give us all ears to hear and hearts to receive Your word. I love You!

Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.