God is Bigger Then All My Fears!

Isaiah 12:2 (ESV)
“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”
A very good friend of mine once told me that fear is False Evidence Appearring Real. I have to admit that I have an unhealthy fear of negative emotions particularly anger. The false evidence appearring real to me is my belief that someone’s anger is my responsibility and that it can cause me harm. God does not want me to be controlled by someone’s anger. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control, 2 Timothy 1:7. I have had to tell myself that God is bigger than my fear and that He will protect me. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me? Psalm 118:6. If I give into my fear then I am saying that my fear is greater and I do not trust Him.
I know that I can trust Him. For when I stop and consider the wonder of the universe and that He holds the stars in their places and that God sent His Son to die in my place who am I to say that He can’t be trusted. There are quite a few verses that tell me to be strong in the Lord for He is with me wherever I go. Joshua 1:9; Haggai 2:4; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10 To overcome my fear of negative emotions I am to trust in the Lord. Psalm 115:11 tells me that I can trust in the Lord for He is my help and my shield. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put (my) confidence in man, Psalm 118:8. Psalm 118 will be my meditation this week. It is so good to read.
I encourage you to read Psalm 118 for yourself and see what God is trying to tell you. As for me, I will trust in Him and not be afraid for what can man do to me.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me when I give into my fears. I give You thanks for Your Word tells me that You are worthy of my trust and that You are by my side. I will trust and not be afraid for You are mighty and care for me. Amen.
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Let Your Yes Simply be Yes

And Your No Simply be No …
Matthew 5:37b
Anything more than that comes from the evil one.
 
Why is it that saying No is so hard? Each person has the right to say No without guilt or explanation. This is why I like this verse. I am to let my Yes be Yes and my No be No anything more is from the evil one. I need not explain the reason for my No. It is one of my hang-ups to be overly concerned about the other person’s reaction to my No. I am fine with someone telling me No because I know when I ask that it is an option that I have to accept. On the other hand, if I make a great deal about saying Yes like expecting someone’s gratitude in return then I am not acting properly either. The same can be said if I find myself trying to explain or defend my saying No. When I ask someone for a Yes or No, I am ready to accept their answer without any explanation for their response. 
 
I learned from the book titled, “Boundaries,” that in order for my Yes to be an honest Yes and not a reluctant Yes I need to be comfortable with saying No. So why is it so hard to tell a family member No? The answer is people pleasing. One has to be free from the fear of negative emotions to be able to say No. I have to recognize whose problem is it and then not take it as mine. The other person can be angry or not. It is not my place to fix it. I also need the freedom to be told no and to have my feelings about it and get over it by myself.

An honest answer is like a warm hug. Proverbs 24:26 from The Message. 
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. (NIV)

The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious and win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him. Ecclesiastes 10:12 AMP

So I encourage you to let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. Let us be honest with one another.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, help me to give an honest answer to anyone who asks. Let my Yes be Yes and my No be No. Forgive me when I do anything else. Amen.

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Thankfulness in ALL Circumstances

I Still Have Not Got This Right!
James 1:2-3 (AMP)
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
Colossians 3:15 (AMP)
 15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
I have to admit that I am not good at this. Yet, I know according to James that I should consider it joy whenever I encounter various trails and temptations because it has its purpose of developing godly character. After all how does one get good at something? Practice! There again I am not good at practice. I must admit that I want a shortcut to the change in my character. This is not how God would have it.
Looking at Colossians 3:15, above, I am to let the peace (soul harmony) that comes from Christ rule (act as umpire) in my heart to aid me in the questions that arise in me. And be thankful. I do want to grow in my faith and my character to be more like Christ. With growth, there will be pain and/or discomfort. With God all things are possible.
All in all, I am thankful that God loves me enough to do what is necessary to help rid me of poor character traits. I am thankful that He gives me the needed strength and promises to comfort me and never leave me nor forsake me. I give thanks reluctantly for those times of trials and temptations. With His help, I can get my attitude right when it comes to hardships. After all hardship is a pathway to peace. Therefore, I rejoice in my recent trial for God is in control and will use it for His purpose. By His grace, I can allow it work its purpose and practice what He has taught me.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for not giving You thanks in all circumstances. Thank you for helping to see that You have a purpose in all my situations. Let Your peace rule in my heart. Not my will be done but Your will be done. Amen.
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God’s Desire for Us

God’s True Desire for Us

God’s greatest desire is for His people to live in peace with one another. Yet, there is a big difference between making peace and keeping the peace. Romans 12:18, 14:19.

PeaceKeeper Vs. Peace Maker

Keeping the peace is not a healthy choice.  The person keeping the peace sacrifices one’s self for the sake of the other person thus losing and being vulnerable to manipulation later. The other person appears to get their way but in the end the relationship is only weakened. This perpetuates a nasty cycle. It is a win-lose situation which in turn becomes resentment later. I know I have been there done that.
Whereas the peacemaker works towards a win-win situation. People involved are free to discuss their opinions and ask questions in order to come to an agreement. There is mutual respect and they seek to understand one another. This is what I am striving to learn and act upon.

Peace Maker

There is a really good book titled, “The Peacemaker,” by Ken Sande. In chapter 2, he discusses peace with God, peace with others, and peace within yourself. He states that this peace, which often is referred to as “unity,” is not the absence of strife and conflict. The unity is the presence of genuine harmony, understanding, and goodwill. From my experience, I have come to understand that some of the strife between people can stem from a lack of peace within themselves. I get my peace within from my personal relationship with Jesus because He gave me a right standing before God. He Loved me enough to die for me.

Hebrews 12:14 (AMP)
  Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.
Mark 9:50 (AMP)
Salt is good (beneficial), but if salt has lost its saltiness, how will you restore [the saltiness to] it? Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace and live in harmony with one another.
James 3:17  (TLB)
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. 
 
I particularly like James 3:17. It is God’s wisdom that can help us work out peace because it allows for discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. Praise be to God for this is where I am learning to operate from and now I understand better that it is God working in me.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ seek to live at peace with all people for this is how we reflect Christ to those around us. With God all things are possible.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I rejoice at this point in my life where I can strive to live at peace with others. Forgive me, Lord, when I fail to work toward peace. I truly desire to reflect You in my life to others. May we all strive to live in peace with one another. Amen.
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Priorities!

We All have Them But
Are They in the Right Order?
To be honest, I don’t always get my priorities in the right order, meaning I put myself first and what I need. Yet, when I do get them in the right order, meaning God first and me second, I have experienced more peace and stability as well as order in my life. I remember singing, when I was a child, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Alleluia!’ You will find this in Matthew 6:33.
Seeking God first. There are a few verses that I have found that address this quite well.  Psalm 105:4,  Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
 Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Proverbs 8:17, I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
 From these verses, I find that I am to seek the Lord continually, whole-hardheartedly, and diligently. What does it mean to seek? I looked it up in the Bible dictionary, ‘to seek or strive after, endeavor, to desire.’ It is an action on my part in my relationship with Jesus.
I have come to look at it this way. When we first fall in love with someone, what are some of the things we do? One, we seek to spend more time with that person and talk with the person frequently.  Another thing that we do is that we desire to tell others about that special someone. The same needs to seen in my relationship with Jesus. If I say that I love Jesus then my actions need to reflect it.
Another of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8,
 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
I see in this verse that God desires for me to walk humbly with Him. As I spend time with God, I will begin to reflect His character. Some of His characteristics that I know that I want to reflect  are to be slow to anger, to act justly and to love mercy as well as to be forgiving of others.

So I need to get my priorities straight in order to live a life that is pleasing to God and reflects His character.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for not getting my priorities straight. Give me, I pray, a true desire to draw near to You first and seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Amen.
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We Are Called to Be Free!

Galatians 5:13-14,
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]
 

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he was addressing the conflict over circumcision. He tells them not be bound by the former things because Christ has made all things new. He reminds them that in Christ, we are free but not to use the freedom to indulge the flesh, sinful nature. As believers, we are to serve one another humbly in love. We are to live by the Spirit, therefore, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law Galatians 5:17-18.

This is how we are called to live differently from the world. We are free from the consequences of sin as long as we choose to live according to the Spirit and not the flesh. Yet, if we fall short and we will. God is faithful and when we confess and turn back to Him, He will forgive us and give us a fresh start. I know that I have fallen short many a time and I have experienced God’s grace when I was prompt to admit my wrong.

In 1 Timothy chapter 6:17-18, Paul instructs Timothy to command the rich not to be arrogant or put their hope in their wealth but put their hope in God. They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.I believe that as believers we to are called to do the same, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous. This is pleasing to God. Paul summed it all up in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Footnotes: [a] In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verses 16, 17, 19 and 24; and in 6:8. [b] Leviticus 19:18 [c]  Or you do not do what (Bible Gateway) Scriptures taken from the NIV.
My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, help me to live by the Spirit so that I do not gratify my sinful nature. By Your Spirit, help me to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share so that in doing so it brings You glory and draws others to You. Give me the desire to humbly serve others in love as You would have me to do not as I would do. Amen.
Disclaimer: I am sharing with you what I am learning and what I desire to add to my life through study of God’s Word and prayer. May you also desire the same.

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Today’s Focus is on the Word “Be”

It is not what you do that is important as it is what you “BE.”
This is what a good friend of mine told me along time ago.
I came across several different scriptures with instructions as to be. 
The first one that came to mind was Psalm26:10, Be still and know that I am God.” 
Be still is not an easy direction to follow. Life is full of activity. How does one be still before God? Stop all activity and find a quiet place to be still and know that He is God.
2. Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (NASB).” 
Here I am instructed to imitate God and walk in love, just as Christ loved me. I am able to do this through prayer and study of His word. God enables me by the power of the Holy Spirit for I live by the law of the Spirit and not of the flesh, my sinful nature.
3. James 1:19-20,My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (NIV).”
I like the focus here to be quick to listen. How often do I take time to listen to what someone is saying to me? Often is the case I am in a hurry or I am trying to think of what I am going to say next. I need to take the time to listen. The next ones are just as important. I am to take time before I speak and/or become angry. For in my anger, I can do much to hurt or harm the other person. I need to stop and ask God to help me with my words. 

4. Ephesians 4:32, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
I am encouraged to show kindness and being tenderhearted forgive others as  God in Christ forgave me. For I am told in Luke 6:31 to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. 
If I take time to be still before God and confess my sins, He will not only cleanse me from my sins but also enable me to be an imitator of Him, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry as well as be kind and forgiving to others. He does make it all possible. All I need to do is trust and obey.

I will continue more on this theme on Wednesday. I pray that you will take time to BE still and know that God is God. Come and know Him better.
Disclaimer: This is what I have experienced and learned for myself. I share it with you so that you can know what I know. God’s grace and peace be yours.
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My Thoughts on Good Friday

Scripture Must Be Fulfilled in Jesus
Jesus was not a victim when He went to the cross. He was obeying the will of His Father, God. He willing went to the cross to fulfill scripture.
Jesus said in Luke 22:37, For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment. 
Jesus was referring to Isaiah 53:12b, because he poured out his soul to death
 and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many,
 and makes intercession for the transgressors. 
He who had no sin (Hebrews 4:15) was numbered with us (transgressors)  when He went to the cross.  According to Romans 3:23 all have sinned (transgressed) and fall short of the glory of God. Fulfillment means completion and this is why Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished.” He did what we could not do for ourselves. He paid it all. Jesus also intercedes for us.
The cross was a place of shame but Jesus came to do the will of God. Jesus, despising the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2), suffered an excruciating death so that believing in Him and His resurrection we would be saved from the wages of sin which is death (Romans 6:23) and eternal separation from God. 
On this day in history, Jesus was scorned, beaten, and tortured to death for all. But as I was reminded recently, Sunday is coming! Jesus was not a victim but the Victor!
May you remember on this day what Jesus willingly suffered for you!
Disclaimer: I know that there are many out there who would discount what Jesus did but I wholeheartedly believe that He did this for me. I want others to know Jesus as He wants them to know Him.
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Hanging on the Words of Jesus

Valuing Jesus’ Words
Luke 19:47-48
And He (Jesus) was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men …were seeking to destroy Him, but they could not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on His Words.
The phrase were hanging on his words” stands out to me. How often do I hang on the words of Jesus. He told his disciples in John 6:63, “It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken are spirit and life.” Therefore I should hang on His words. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus came to give us abundant life. The truth sets us free to live abundantly. Jesus is the truth that sets us free from the law of sin and death. The apostle Peter said in John 6:68-69, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.
Whoa, you might be saying. You might think that I am getting too deep. But this is what Jesus is calling us to. There are some who think I am wrong and that’s okay. Let me put it this way. If they are right and I am wrong, I have nothing to lose. But if I am right and they are wrong, they have everything to lose and I have gained eternal life (a changed life now and living with Jesus forever in the next ). I have experienced the changed life now. I am not who I used to be.
So let me ask you. Which side to you want to be on? Romans 10:9-11 tells you how you can have the assurance that I have.
As for me,  I will choose to hang on to the words of Jesus.
Disclaimer: I share with you what I have learned and what I have experienced so that you too may believe in Jesus Christ.
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An Attitude of Gratitude Can Bring a Smile to Your Face

Gratitude

Looking for Things to be 

Thankful for in Everyday Life!

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
This verse tells us that in whatever we do, in word or deed. This means when I go shopping, going to the doctor’s, cleaning house or just about anything do it in the name of the Lord. It also refers to what I say to my family or the clerk at the store. Therefore, I am to speak as if Jesus were listening which He does. I am to give thanks to God the Father through Him. There are time when I do not always get this right but if I stop and think about it, it is a game changer.

An attitude of gratitude is what separates the believer from the unbeliever. It should also be what attracts others to Jesus. Gratitude is the state of being thankful. So on my trip to see my father last month it was easy to see many things to be thankful for. But upon returning home that I seemed to be challenged to find things to give thanks to God. Now I try to focus on the little things that I can be grateful for and give thanks to God. For His love endures forever.

Developing An Attitude of Gratitude

 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV)
 
Gratitude for the simple things in my life brings a smile to my face. I am thankful today for the Christian women in my life. I am thankful for the cancellation at a doctor’s office so I could be seen. I appreciate it when the traffic lights are green. When someone tells me that they were thinking of me when I call makes me smile. God somehow made my time multiply and I was able to get much accomplished before my flight tomorrow. Getting to hold a child even for a little while brightens my day. My husbands calm and collective reasoning to help me work through my emotions to make a right decision. My loving young men who ask how I am doing and give me hugs. Most of all I am forever thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made so that I may reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him in the next.
What little things in you life that you can be thankful for and give thanks to God? Smile for Jesus died for you!
 
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