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Accept One Another

 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

 Acceptance sets the tone in a trusting relationship. It ascribes value by making a friend feel special, especially if someone struggles with wounds from past rejection and hurt. Acceptance is an antidote for guilt and regret. It looks to bring meaning in the moment, not dwelling on former failures. It creates a non-judgmental, safe environment. Like a sympathetic nurse, it listens with empathy. Acceptance feels no discrimination or bias.
 
Who is hungry for your approval and acceptance? Is it a child, a parent, a friend, a co-worker or fellow Christ follower who needs to feel your warm words of delight in them? To not be an included team member is emotional torture. Passive rejection can be worse that blatant rejection.   Indeed, an accepting attitude says, “I believe in you”, “I need you”, “I am for you”. You give others the benefit of the doubt. A person who feels your approval has nothing to prove.

“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6 NKJV

Acceptance from Almighty God is found in Christ. He accepts the rejected. He invites those who wander from the faith to come home. Christ calls His children back from embarrassing situations and embraces them with open arms. His acceptance is unconditionally based on His love and grace. The Lord is looking for those in need of approval. He can’t wait to bless and believe in His own. Jesus accepts back those who have turned their backs on Him.

Therefore, accept others as Jesus has accepted you. Even sinners, you may ask? Yes, you can accept the individual without compromising your integrity. You grow in Christ’s character when others, who are unlike you, know you like them. You love those who love the world, without your loving the world. When you serve someone with competing standards, they tend to ask “why me”. Lovingly say, “why not you”–in order to bring praise to God!

“The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.” Romans 14:3

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for accepting me in Christ, so I can accept others in the same way.

Related Readings: Psalm 101:3; John 6:27; Acts 15:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:13 

Build Your Trust

(REBUILD YOUR THINKING BY STUDYING GOD’S WORD AND TRUSTING HIM)

In the book of Exodus chpt 7-12 Moses listened to God over and over again (11 times to be exact) and did exactly what He had told him. Even though each time he went back Pharoah’s heart was just as hard, Moses did not give up and He continued to listen to what God had told him. God never told Moses in the beginning how many time he would have to go to Pharoah, so I’m sure after like the 5th time it must have been VERY DIFFICULT, but Moses trusted God and he kept going back, he kept on believing.

I think of how many times I’ve given up and gotten weary because the things that God has told me to do seem to not be working. The people he’s told me to minister to don’t seem to hear me or give me the time of day. Yet, the burden remains for me to help them.
In my relationship with God there has not always been a great level of trust. So over the years I’ve had to learn that although He doesn’t give me everything I want, He’s always given me much more than I’ve needed. And the fact that He hasn’t given me everything that I’ve asked Him for is so good! I’ve asked God for many things that would harm me and the calling on my life not being aware of the fact that it would.
I’m so sure I’m not the only one. So what I’ve done and continue to do is build on my relationship with Him and trust Him more and more. With trust come peace. That peace that people do a double take and look back at you, like “Why isn’t she/he falling apart right now?”
So has God given you very specific instructions, and a very unique assignment? Do people laugh at you or ignore you when you go to them with it? I want to tell you to never give up! Do what He has commanded you even if you never get to see the results! Martin Luther King Jr. never got to see President Obama in the white house, yet he marched and he marched didn’t he?
MARCH, GO, and may God’s plans always be yours.

IT FALLS WHEN YOU NEED IT

The treasures of heaven fall upon the body like a mantle when you need it. Your position must be one of movement. We find the Lord moves after you. How else can David write in Psalm 23 that goodness and mercy would follow him all the days of his life?  If you are bound by present fear let this encourage and empower you.
I am an introvert and public speaking produces for me a great fear, but I am here to tell you, It Falls when you need it. In the last few weeks, I have had many speaking engagements and each one was not without fear, however I can tell you, It falls when you need it and the peace of God that passes understanding and the wisdom of God produces the required fruit.
Some may say “Lord I am waiting for your power.” It falls when you need it. Not a moment sooner. While I am in the chair waiting to speak, I am afraid. While walking to the platform and then right before I speak, the mantle falls. It falls when you need it. Do not fear today. God will show up, you only have to move first to see his power.
Single person waiting on the Lord? God moves after you. Struggling married person waiting on the Lord? God moves after you. It falls when you need it, but only after you move first.
Walking in Christ is no different than receiving salvation. For one only receives salvation after they confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in the their heart that God raised them from the dead. It falls when you need it, only after you move first.
Post courtesy of Roger Tharpe

Guidelines from God :)

Effective Immediately, please be aware that there are changes YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines:

1. QUIT WORRYING:
Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST:
Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can’t help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all… God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME:
Once you’ve given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE:
Don’t wake up one morning and say, “Well, I’m feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here.” Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It’s simple. You gave Me your burdens and I’m taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don’t you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do my job.

5. TALK TO ME:
I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I’m in control. But there’s one thing I pray you never forget. Please, don’t forget to talk to Me – OFTEN! I love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. HAVE FAITH:
I see a lot of things from up here that you can’t see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I’m doing. Trust Me; you wouldn’t want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part – How hard can trust be?

7. SHARE:
You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven’t heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT:
I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND:
Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences.

10. LOVE YOURSELF:
As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one reason only — to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don’t ever forget…..

– GOD

Post shared via SweetLife15’s Blog

Pay Down Debt

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

A nation, business or home built on debt is owned and controlled by outside forces. There is no freedom or liberty to be found in leveraged ownership, only obligations and payment plans. Debt is unemotional and uncaring when it decides to call your loan, or make new demands you are unable to fulfill. Debt is deceptive in its ability to draw us into its pleasures in exchange for our time, energy and focus.

Short-term borrowing is subtle, because it can easily become a shortcut that only satisfies our immediate gratifications but with long-term ramifications. I have missed God’s best because I got in a hurry, and thought I had to make things happen, so I presumed on the future. Ease of credit can lead us to grow impatient with prayer and make purchases pre-maturely. However, blessings come from waiting on God’s prayerful provision.

“LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

Thus, start immediately and implement a plan to pay down your debt. Begin by paying off the credit card with the smallest balance, and cease from spending with the convenience of credit’s plastic purchases. Eradicate your mortgage by the time your children start college and you will have added margin for their extra educational expenses. Delayed gratification is a discipline God blesses. Like a hiker with a light backpack, without the weight of debt you are able to freely follow the Lord’s call.

Turn to Christ instead of credit, and watch Him create opportunities you never conceived. Waiting to pay in cash is an exercise in faith, and a refraining of the flesh. A smaller home and older car, with peace and contentment, is much better than more, with regret and restless nights. Debt free living liberates your life and increases your generous giving. Therefore, pay down debt so you are free to love and serve others more effectively.

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” Romans 13:8, (NASB).

Where can I begin to aggressively pay down my debt and increase my giving?

Related Readings: Isaiah 30:18; 64:4; Micah 7:7; Hebrews 11:8-12

A Brutally Honest Letter to God

A young lady I have a blogging friendship with posted this and I found it so touching and felt so many may be able to relate in one way or another that I had to share. All of her post are so honestly revealing so if you get a chance check out her blog but for now I share this post:

My Brutally Honest Open Letter to God

written by Paramourinwaiting

Dear God,

I don’t know how to address you, especially after all this time. I can’t imagine you this bearded old man (or woman) in the sky. I can’t imagine you perched in pages of someone’s testament. I can’t imagine you in a deep and unfamiliar voice that boldly sprouts from nowhere. So I write to you instead. My mother used to write you. She never knew this but as a child, I used to read her letters to you in her Bible. I know that was a violation of privacy but I’ve always been in love with words penned on pages. They tend to be more candid—or at least in our case. Her letters were uplifting and full of wonder; other broke my heart. Her faith quivered but I could tell that it was still there. I probably also thought that I could understand you more through her.

My parents always spoke of religion and you interchangeably but I could never fully embrace it. There seemed to be so many holes in religion and I feared coming off as the spawn of the devil if I dared to ask. A part of resented them for making me believe in notions that I did not seem to cling to. They seem so stifling and I imagined you as free and uninhibited as my thoughts. I’ve seen you in contagious laughs and spellbinding smiles of children, in kind eyes, in good thoughts and deeds, in poetry, in music, in art, in tears, in happiness, in every “I love you”, in every changing season—somewhere in the stillness swirling furiously and touching everything and everyone that crossed your path.

I guess you’ve noticed that we haven’t talked much in a while. I think I brushed off nearly all of your presence after you did not come when I needed you the most—as I was being raped. I began to see you differently. But I did talk to you sporadically—mostly as a promiscuous teen begging not to become pregnant. I promised that I would change my ways if you just granted this one prayer. That one prayer morphed into several more. It was our recurring storyline. I eventually realized that perhaps this wasn’t the type of prayer that you really wanted to hear. I mainly saw you as the modern day Plan B pill. I did not take you seriously. I saw you as a convenience and wondered if I somehow became a nuisance—an ungrateful child tugging on you.

When my sanity fluctuated, I asked you why I was born. I never hesitated to let you know how much I hated fragments of myself and life. After a couple of half-hearted suicide attempts as a teen, I contemplated a nonexistence throughout my entire adulthood. My guilt, self-destructive behaviors, and the lack of courage were the driving forces that kept me here (or so I thought). I wanted to prove to you that you weren’t as awesome as others pegged you out to be. I decided to disregard you. I rarely thanked you. I infrequently acknowledged you. I silently mocked those who were delirious in their love for you. You were that elephant in the room that I made sure I always tiptoed around in the dark to avoid. They say elephants never forget; neither did I no matter how hard I tried.

I was humiliated. I knew if I faced you, I would reek of disappointment. Disappointment would ooze from my pores and flood my entire being. I could picture the literal disgust on your figurative face. I could imagine you holding your nose and avoiding all eye contact. I had to spare myself from further embarrassment. I’m so filthy and can’t possibly see myself in you. Sure, I have some noble qualities but not too much of me is pure—especially my intentions. I am always faltering. I can’t even trust myself sometimes. You’ve tried to reach me through others. I’ve watched their lips move but wasn’t open to the vessel of truths that cascaded from them. You felt inaccessible to me. It’s like you’re in the VIP section and I’m on the outside watching you fulfill others because I was not properly dressed to grace your presence. It’s like you’re flying first class and I achingly peer through the curtains to see others licking their lips from the champagne of your being. I feel as though I cannot afford you. I feel spiritually bankrupted. I feel snubbed. Maybe I’m the one who has been snubbing you this entire time and for that I am sorry.

I am finding my way back to you. I’ve been away for far too long. Please forgive me for resenting you all these years. Please help me to forgive myself. Help me heal so I can forgive others. Help my find purpose. Help me to love myself. Help me to live my life without fear because I feel so consumed by it. Help me see the splendor of life. Save me from my destructive behaviors and thoughts. Lift me up because I’m tired of falling apart at the seams. I’m tired of doing this without you. I’ve treated you and myself with reckless abandon. I need help to make it up to the both of us. Thank you for the things that you’ve already done for me that I have so blatantly ignored. I will be more appreciative and receptive towards you.

With Love,

Nisha

 

Scripture Meditation

My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in you and were never disappointed. (Psa 22:1-5 NLT)

Prayer: LORD, some days, I feel this way too – alone and abandoned. The feelings are real, but the reality is that You will never leave me or turn a deaf ear to the cry of my heart. Help me look beyond the feelings and trust You in the dark times as well as the good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What You Can Learn from Pain

Author Michelle McKinney Hammond shares how to get past disappointment by listening to your pain

I recall being so in love with a man once I could hardly stand it. The trouble was that he wasn’t in love with me. I played games with him and me. Every bit of attention he gave me, no matter how small, I took as a sign that he had feelings for me. My friends tried to rein in my attitude and behavior as they gently told me the truth, but to no avail. I didn’t want to hear it. I refused to hear it. I wanted what I wanted.

Yes, he thought I was nice, but he didn’t love me. He didn’t want me that way. I couldn’t receive or accept this. As time went by and waiting for him to realize what I already believed went past my heart’s deadline, the pain finally forced me to confront him. “Are you ever going to marry me?” I asked. Without blinking or hesitating, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “No, Michelle. I am never going to marry you.”

My entire world crumpled before my eyes. The pain was excruciating. I wanted to die. And yet, deep down inside, I had already known the truth. I’d just refused to face it.

The truth can hurt. It can cut deep, slicing our strength into shreds and threatening to chop our hearts into little bits. Even though we might not realize it, this is when we are able to really breathe. Even if we don’t like the truth, it still will set us free…free to move on. Denial is bondage. We can’t move forward if we’re stuck in “where we wish we were.” We need to acknowledge fully where we are and then move past it. Accept the pain as the attention getter it is. Let it burn going down, removing anything that impairs our vision from seeing the situation as God sees it. Although it hurts, it’s a “good” hurt because it is helping us grow and embrace change.

Pain is best treated as a friend. I remind myself of this often. God gave us the ability to feel pain because it lets us know there’s a problem, and it forces us to deal with what is wrong or what we’ve buried, overlooked, or refused to surrender to God. When we stop and listen to the hurt, we uncover secrets our deceptive hearts may have believed or perpetrated. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else.”

God stands patiently, waiting for us to open our hands to show Him our hearts so He can do what He does best—pour on the oil of love and forgiveness and heal us. So often He says, “Give me your pain,” and we reply, “What pain? I don’t have any pain.” Our denial keeps us slaves to the very thing we want to be rescued from. We don’t want to go there because change might be required. You see, admission or exposure of the truth bears great responsibility.

“What are you going to do about it?” That’s the next question I don’t like to hear. I say, “I don’t like how this relationship is going.” And God says, “What are you going to do about it?” We want to check out the alternatives for getting the life, the love, the circumstances we want before giving up what we have. But the walk of faith doesn’t always expose those options until we face the truth and surrender to the will of God.
Sometimes God simply says, “I know the plans I have for you.”

And we say, “What plans might those be exactly? I’d like to know if it’s going to be better than what I’ve been clinging to. Even though I don’t like it, at least I know what it is.”
And God says, “I have plans for you—for good and not for evil.”

And we reply, “Well, that’s just too vague, God. Can you be more specific?”

And the conversation continues until our pain forces us to scream the truth: “My choices and decisions aren’t working!” There we’ve finally said it. When we turn to God and open our tear-stained hands and say, “God, look at the mess I’ve made,” He gently extricates what we’re holding and makes it right. That’s all God wants. For us to be honest with Him and with ourselves. “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow’” (Isaiah 1:18). Just in case we are afraid of the work it’s going to take to fix our situation, God offers to do the hardest part for us. He cleanses us and then empowers and encourages us to cooperate with His restoration plan.

Acknowledging the truth about where we are and where we’d like to be is the beginning of the route to freedom. Acknowledging both of these illuminates the path to get to the other side of our situations. The truth is our guide, noting where we want to go, where we are now, and calculating the best route to arrive at our desired destinations. But it can’t do that without first knowing where we are. When we grow weary of our location personally, spiritually, financially, professionally, or emotionally, we can let our exhaustion give way to the truth instead of making excuses for staying where we are. Don’t wait until life stares you in the eyes and asks for what you don’t have. Take a deep breath, exhale, and talk to God today…right now. Tell Him the truth and ask for His help.
Reflections
What is the truth about your current situation?

Are you having difficulty embracing or confessing this truth?
What needs to happen so you will face the truth and do something different this time?

What coping strategies are no longer working for you?

What are you going to do about that?

A Little at a Time

Written by Victoria Osteen

If you’re like me, you probably have a “to do” list somewhere nearby. It may not necessarily be written down on paper, but maybe somewhere in the back of your mind is a list of all the things you hope to get done today or sometime soon. I’ve found that we can get so busy in our minds thinking of all things we have to do that it overwhelms us and zaps our energy! We aren’t even able to think of anything else! Sometimes our “to do” list, though full of good intentions, can actually distract us and keep us from God’s best.

God wants us to live in balance. In life, everything doesn’t happen all at once. All of our dreams, desires and goals aren’t fulfilled instantly; it happens a little bit at a time. You grow one step at a time. You increase little by little. You strengthen your marriage a little bit at a time. You lose weight gradually over time. You get healthy one choice at a time. You pay your debt off a little at a time. Scripture tells us that “with God, all things are possible;” but notice that it doesn’t say, “With God, everything happens instantaneously.” Yes, we do serve a God of miracles. We should look for Him to act on our behalf, but we should also do our part to be faithful. Proverbs 12:24 says, “The hand of the diligent will rule.” Hebrews 6:12 says that “through faith AND patience, we inherit His promises.”

Today, I just feel like God is saying to all of us, “Learn balance. Learn to rest your mind. Get into the peace of God.” The only step you have to focus on in life is the next one. Let Him lead and guide you in the way you should go. You don’t have to figure everything out today; you just have to take that next step. You just have to start making that little adjustment. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by what you know you need to do in life. Just start doing a little bit at a time because before you know it, you will see those dreams and desires come to pass in every area of your life!

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin… (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).