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Jan 31, 2011

"Beyond Envy"

DAY #31 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:26 NASB

NIV - "Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
KJV - "Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
NLT - "Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another."
MSG - "...That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original."

Envy is the 'green-eyed monster' that creeps up in all of us at one time or another. I can say that it doesn't creep up in me very often though, as I do not allow myself to become envious or jealous of others or their things very often. I might think it would be nice to have... say a new home, or something. But I don't envy or covet what other's have.

Envy by definition is (according to dictionary.com);
–noun

1. a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.
2. an object of envious feeling: Her intelligence made her the envy of her classmates.
3. Obsolete . ill will.

enviousness. Envy and jealousy are very close in meaning. Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion. Jealousy also refers to anguish caused by fear of unfaithfulness. 4. resent. Envy, begrudge, covet refer to one's attitude toward the possessions or attainments of others. To envy is to feel resentful and unhappy because someone else possesses, or has achieved, what one wishes oneself to possess, or to have achieved: to envy the wealthy, a woman's beauty, an honest man's reputation. To begrudge is to be unwilling that another should have the possessions, honors, or credit that person deserves: to begrudge a man a reward for heroism. To covet is to long jealously to possess what someone else possesses: I covet your silverware.

Because we are all human, we do have the opportunities present themselves, where we do become envious or jealous of one another. However, we should not be living our lives as a 'show' boasting to others what we have, or what we can do, etc. We need not make others envious of us. We shouldn't 'challenge one another', as this verse in Galatians says. We must guard ourselves against boastfulness, and guard ourselves against envy, jealousy and covetness. We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord, and all have a part in His inheritance and grace. (If we believe in Jesus)

Envy itself is a sin, and if you get entangled in it, you will allow satan to get a foothold into your life, and that will bring on more problems. It's okay to love the colour green yet not the 'green-eyed monster'. Green should resemble the colour of life, not death. If you allow envy in, it will lead you to a slow grave of bitterness and more. SO CHOOSE LIFE! Count your own blessings, and wait on the Lord to bring you the desires of your heart. Remember, never be a 2nd rate someone, be a 1st rate YOU!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Jan 30, 2011

''Discipline Matters''

DAY #30 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: ''I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.'' 1 Corinthians 9:27 HCSB

NIV - ''No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.''
NKJV - ''But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.''

KJV - ''But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.''
NLT - ''I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.''
MSG - ''I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.'' (v. 26-27)
 
**Editor's Note: Reading different translations is always good. One thing about having the Bible online, you can do that quickly and easily. I usually use http://www.biblegateway.com for my Online Bible needs. A friend was just mentioning today that since their move, they have found a lot of Bibles. She/He didn't know they had that many. They were giving thanks that we live in a free country where we can read our Bible and not worry about being persecuted or killed because of it. Some people around the world cannot even have a Bible at their home, and these people had more than that. The BIBLE is a very important book, and should be treated that way. It is HISTORY... Historical NON-Fiction and it is the ONLY book that is alive. We are truly blessed to be able to get our hands on several different translations of the Word of God. Which one is right? Which one is the correct wording or understanding? Read in the translation that you desire, and seek the Lord to give you the true understanding and wisdom regarding His word. **
 
We need to discipline ourselves as diciples of Christ, so that our words, thoughts and deeds reflect the way we are sharing God's love and the truth of His Word with others. I love the Message Version "I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.'' We need to discipline ourselves for us #1, as we need to make sure that we are not missing out ourselves, yet we also need to do it as an example to those around us. We need to basically 'practice what we preach'. As this translation says, we need to 'stay alert and in top condition'. In the case of an athlete, they are alert and train to be in top condition when they compete in or play their sport. They can receive a lot of harmful injury if they didn't train properly before their sporting event. In the case of a team sport, they not only affect themselves, but they affect those others on the team with them. Same as Christianity, we are a 'body', and each of us plays a special part. If one person hurts, we all hurt.
 
To be disciplined, according to dictionary.com is;
–verb (used with object)
10. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

We need to allow ourselves to be controlled by God, we are no longer subject to being controlled by men around us, or by ourselves. (We still do have the free-will to choose this, yet the Father is the one who created us, and knows us best.) We need to be obedient to what the Father has said in his Word (or to us directly or indirectly through the prophetic). We are also disciplined by the Father (definition #12 above) in order to train, control, correct or chastise us to becoming the M.E. (Maximum Effectiveness) that He has called us to be.

It is a learning process, and yes, you will mess up. I'm with you here... I am not preaching to the crowd, and ignoring what I say. I am in this struggle along with you. We need to discipline ourselves in reading His Word, meditating on it, praying at all times, trusting Him at all times, living in Faith and not by sight, humble ourselves, act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with Him, etc... the Scriptures themselves tell us how we should behave, how we should act. I have just named some of them. By obedience and listening to God, we are benefitted... but by disobedience and going ahead on our own strength, we are going to suffer the consequences of our decisions.

God wants us to be disciplined, diligent and mature and wants us to seek Him first in all things. (''But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.''Matthew 6:33) If we have faith and diligently seek Him, He will reward us. It's a promise in His Word; ''But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.'' Hebrews 11:6 NKJV


The responsiblity lays on our shoulders, yet the strength and power comes from Him, and we will be blessed for our disciplined life.

Remember (as in the picture above) Discipline is the bridge between your goals and your achievements!

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!







 

Jan 29, 2011

"Beyond Discouragement"

Day #29 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1 NKJV

This is a good follow-up devotion to 'The Gift of Cheerfulness' (click to read if you haven't already)... as we make the choice to be cheerful in whatever circumstance may come our way. When that circumstance leads us to discouragement or disappointment, we still can remain joyful knowing that God is in control, and that He never gives us more than we can handle. (See photo above - 'I know God will not give me anything I can't handle... I just wish He didn't trust me so much.' ~Mother Teresa)

As an example to this, the day that I did this devotional, I was claiming that I was going to have a 'fabulous friday' and I was going to remain cheerful. We are going to choose joy. I told the children in my Preschool class right out. Well, we have had a lot of sickness and disease going through our centre... which is obviously an attack of the devil, as God has created us to be healthy and whole. Yet it is also a test of our faith as our church just finished two of the greatest conferences to start out our year. We are tested in things to grow our faith, and to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. Anyway, we have been praying for healing and restoration in the centre staff, the children, and their families. Well this last week was supposed to be the END of the sickness plague, yet it was in full swing. We sent children home with fevers, diarrhea, vomitting, and more. We had children complaining of sore ears, heads, tummies, throats, and more. THIS HAS TO STOP, as it is bringing discouragement to the unbelievers in our 'family', and also is difficult for those believers. YET, we also need to remember to stand as 'gate-keepers' for our centre. As Christians we need to take a stand of courage, even when others around might not be standing tall. God gives us the courage we need to go through each and every circumstance that faces us every day. We should not fear man, nor should we fear the attacks of the devil, or the devil himself. We need to STRENGTHEN our FAITH and continue to have hopeful hearts knowing that GOD WILL BRING US THROUGH! So, FDN GOD WILL BRING US THROUGH, WE WILL HAVE THE VICTORY THROUGH HIM! In Jesus' Name! We are covered and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and we will walk in complete health and wholeness! <3 (Think of these last few sentences when thinking of your own struggles and discouragements - The Lord will bring you through!)

Do not let discouragement or disappointment get the best of you. Do not allow yourself to even feel the slightest of frustration, as that in itself is not of God either. Eleanor Roosevelt once quoted, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every great experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

Remember, "...the next time you find your courage tested to the limit... You're probably stronger than you think. And remember--with you, your friends, your family and your God all working together, you have nothing to fear." ('A Woman of Faith' Devotional. Day 29. ©2007 Freeman-Smith, LLC. Nashville, TN. 37202)

BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!

Jan 28, 2011

"The Gift of Cheerfulness"

DAY #28 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with a song." Proverbs 15:15 MSG

NIV- "All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast."
NKJV - "All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast."
NLT - "For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast."


Let's look at cheerfulness vs being miserable; (cited from dictionary.com)



Cheerfulness:
–adjective

1. full of cheer; in good spirits: a cheerful person.
2. promoting or inducing cheer; pleasant; bright: cheerful surroundings.
3. characterized by or expressive of good spirits or cheerfulness: cheerful songs.
4. hearty or ungrudging: cheerful giving.
— adj

1. having a happy disposition; in good spirits
2. pleasantly bright; gladdening: a cheerful room
3. hearty; ungrudging; enthusiastic: cheerful help
Historically,
"full of cheer," Meaning "elevating the spirits" is from mid-15c.
Miserable
–adjective

1. wretchedly unhappy, uneasy, or uncomfortable: miserable victims of war.
2. wretchedly poor; needy.
3. of wretched character or quality; contemptible: a miserable villain.
4. attended with or causing misery: a miserable existence.
5. manifesting misery.
6. worthy of pity; deplorable: a miserable failure.
Historically,
early 15c., "full of misery, causing wretchedness" (of conditions), from O.Fr. miserable , from L. miserabilis  "pitiable, lamentable," from miserari  "to pity, lament," from miser  "wretched." Of persons, "existing in a state of misery" it is attested from 1520s.

This is yet again another choice we have to make each and everyday, usually more than once a day. I know it's something I have to choose to do. Through temptations, trials, troubles, pains, discouragements, sadness, and other testings we need to show that we have the love & joy of God in our hearts. We do not want to 'manifest misery' as the definition above states. That one stuck out to me. 'Manifesting misery' as opposed to 'Elevating the spirits' - - why on earth would we choose to be grumpy or not cheerful??

We as Christians have an example to follow in the life of Jesus. He was tempted many times, yet He never sinned. But the temptations, trials, discouragements, etc were still apparent in His life. When we follow Christ's example, we then are a living example to others around us. Our cheerfulness (not just a flighty happiness, but a true joy bubbling out) is not just for us. Some people think, 'Who cares if I'm grumpy, that's my business...' -- yet your life is a extension of those around you. Think of people around you (family members, co-workers, friends, etc) -- when they are grumpy or in an attitude that is not pleasing, it makes you grumpy too. You begin to think differently of them, and may begin to judge them. We cannot let ourselves go to that level of misery. God has given us HIS joy. You are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Who wants Jesus inside if all that comes out of you is anger, grumpiness or misery? People see those characteristics in the world enough, we need to start taking a stand CHOOSING CHEERFULNESS! Why do we let 'miserable' come in our lives? Through fits of temper, and frustrations... it's easy to be overwhelmed by the feelings inside. But we need to immediately give thoes feelings and thoughts over to the Father, so that He may begin the healing process. Through His peace, strength, love and joy and the other fruit of the Spirit, we may choose cheerfulness and be a light in this dark world. "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16 NIV)

We need to have a happy heart to have a happy face. "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." (Proverbs 15:13 - just a couple verses before today's verse)



May every thought, word and deed that we (me included) do today be glorifying to the Father. Now that's a BIG STEP... but remember the journey is not a lonely one. God the Father is protecting you, God the Son is interceding for you and God the Spirit is always with you guiding and directing your path (in thought, word and deed). CHOOSE JOY!

BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!

Jan 27, 2011

"Beyond Bitterness"

DAY  #27 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ." Ephesians 4:31-32 HCSB

We waste our own time, if we fill it with bitterness, anger or regret. God has such big plans for us and our lives, that He is not able to use us fully, if we don't submit to him every part of us. FORGIVENESS is actually a much better choice than BITTERNESS.

Let's look at forgive vs. bitter; (as forgiveness is the act of forgiving, and bitterness is the act of being bitter)
Forgive:
–verb (used with object)

1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3. to grant pardon to (a person).
4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies.
5. to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
–verb (used without object)
6. to pardon an offense or an offender.

Bitter:
–adjective

1. having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.
2. producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
3. hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.
4. causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill.
5. characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred.
6. hard to admit or accept: a bitter lesson.
7. resentful or cynical: bitter words.

Forgiveness causes healing, there is no longer resentment or anger. Forgiveness is like honey to the soul, wheras bitter is a harsh, acrid taste. Bitterness causes pain, sorrow and resentment. We are commanded to forgive others as Christ forgives us. Sit back and think of your thoughts, words & deeds... maybe just even in this past week... isn't it great to know that God forgives and forgets. We all make mistakes, we all have 'bad days', we all sin. We cannot judge, look down upon or have bitter feelings against someone. Look at those words defining bitterness...
*harsh, disagreeable acrid taste
*grievous, distressful, sorrow
*pain, piercing, stinging
*antagonism or hostility
*resentful or cynical

Who really wants to live a life of that? But we all do it at some point, if we do not walk in love and forgiveness. God wants us to be free, and live a life of love. There's a verse in the Word, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (James 1:19-20) But... "Being frail, fallible, imperfect human beings, most of us are quick to anger, quick to blame, slow to forgive, and even slower to forget." (cite source after)

We need to forgive one another, just as God forgave us in Christ... most importantly we also need to forgive ourselves as well.

...to be continued!

BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!

Jan 26, 2011

"Talk to the Father"

DAY #26 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "You do not have because you do not ask." James 4:2 HCSB
Talking to the Father... a very important and sometimes overlooked detail in our days. God doesn't just want to speak with us at mealtimes or at bedtime, He wants to be able to communicate with us all day long. When you are communicating with someone, it's usually a two-way conversation. Sometimes we feel that God should do all the talking. Why isn't He talking to me? When we are in trouble, one of the first things most of us do is call on God... or blame God. He wants us to share our hearts with Him, He knows our thoughts, our desires, but He wants to hear us ask Him for them. Sometimes as was shared in a previous devotional, the busyness of and the distractions in this crazy world around us get in the way of 'praying at all times'. (Romans 12:12 & 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

We too often try to rely on our own resources, knowledge and strength to get through our day... yet a simple call out to God can do so much more. With God NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, and we need the faith to believe that is true. God is the provider of all the grace, strength, love, patience, wisdom and more that we need throughout the day. All we need to do is 'A.S.K.' -- Ask, Seek & Knock! "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV) 

Faith in God opens so many doors of blessing that God has for us. There is an old song with the lyrics, 'Prayer is the key to Heaven, but Faith unlocks the door'. Are there unopened doors in your life right now? Would you like God to just open them for you? Well He cannot without you asking in faith for Him to do so. He is just waiting on our actions sometimes. Faith without works is dead afterall. (James 2:17 "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." and James 2:26 "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.")


... so as you go through your day, speak to the Father, and ASK for the things that you need. Even little things are important to God. Speak blessing and healing over people's life that you pass by and don't forget to thank Him for His many blessings in your life. It's amazing what a little 'faith can do'.

Check out this song by Kutless, 'That's what Faith Can Do'...


...and the lyrics, as they are powerful... yet not as powerful as God Himself!

Everybody falls sometimes

You gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think its more than you can take
But youre stronger, stronger than you know


And dont you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining


Ive seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesnt ever end
Even when the sky is falling
Ive seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
Thats what faith can do

It doesnt matter what youve heard
Impossible is not a word
Its just a reason for someone not to try
Everybodys scared to death
You may decide to take that step
Out on the water
But itll be all right


Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing
Overcome the odds
When you dont have a chance
(Thats what faith can do)
When the world says you cant
It will tell you that it can


(Repeat Chorus)


BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!

Jan 25, 2011

"Accepting His Will"

DAY #25 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?" Job 2:10 HCSB

Something to think about really... His Will, compare that to the will that we have for our lives, does it match? Do we think that we can only count on God to give us good gifts? He is also there with us in times of adversity or trouble. Remember we can always learn through our mistakes and past experiences that may not be so positive. We also receive discipline from God our Heavenly Father, just like our earthly fathers give... except that God is always showing unconditional love and forgiveness at all times.

What is 'adversity'?
According to dictionary.com (World English Dictionary) adversity can be defined as;
— noun , pl -ties

1. distress; affliction; hardship
2. an unfortunate event or incident

Some of us have never really seen 'adversity' at it's worst, we may have had a little bit of unfortunate events, troubles, or failures, and minor suffering and pain. Others of us have had a bit more, and faced a large amount of adversity like Job the man who speaks this line in the Bible. Historically, Job was a man blessed by God, yet God allowed him to be tempted and shown 'adversity', yet he still remained faithful to God. In chapters 1 & 2 of Job (which you should read here and here) God and satan are having a conversation, and satan thinks that if he can allow man to face trials, pain and suffering that man will curse God, and turn from Him. So in chapter 1, God basically says satan can do what he wishes without touching the man himself... so satan takes out his whole family - his sons & daughters - his future generations. Yet, Job still remains faithful and blesses the Lord. Then in Chapter 2, satan comes to God again, and says that man will curse God, and lose all integrity, especially if he is cursed in his own life. God tells satan, very well then you may attack him physically, but do not take his life. So, in verse 7, satan attacks him with a skin disease from the top of his head to his toes. Job still remains faithful, although, as we pick up in verse 9, his wife even tells him 'Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!' This unfortunately was only the second of several attempts by the devil against Job, and already his wife is telling him to 'curse God and die' to get out of his problems. Some of us today have tried this already, cursing God in times of trouble, or better yet sinning against Him to get out of our problems. At the first sign of trouble, we blame God and really God is there all along, but He might be working in us, to strengthen us and teach us endurance. Back to the Scriptures, in verse 10 (today's verse) Job replies to his wife with a wise answer, "You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
Job was a wise man, who was honest and true to his Father God... God quoted to satan earlier in verse 3, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." Compare God's thoughts of Job, to those words that came from Job's wife, and Job himself.
 
We may face trial of many kinds, but I'm sure most of them are not as bad as what Job faced... and yet he remained faithful to the Father. We need to bless the Lord at all times. 
 
"I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall always be on my mouth." Psalm 34:1
 
BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!
 

"Busy with Our Thoughts"

DAY #24 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: Proverbs 20:5 NCV "People's thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there."

"Because we are human, we are always busy with our thoughts. We simply can't help ourselves. Our brains never shut off, and even while we are sleeping, we mull things over in our minds. The question is not if we will think; the question is how will we think and what will we think about."
('A Woman of Faith' Devotional. Day 24. ©2007 Freeman-Smith, LLC. Nashville, TN. 37202)



We are to think on things that are lovely, pure, holy, and more. The Bible says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 NIV

**Ok, so I tried to post this on the 24th, yet I missed it by a minute, and my daily Bible verse changed to exactly this one... so this is the verse for today (the 25th) -- try to live it out TODAY!**

I am one of those people who's mind is always going... unfortunately it is still going in my sleep sometimes, and that is frustrating especially when I want to receive a dream or vision from the Lord. My mind can wander all day long as well... it brings back to remembrance a song written by a friend of mine, who is a great worshp leader, Dan Macaulay. (Chords for this song in the key of F, can be found here.) Check out his tunes at http://www.danmacaulay.com. ENJOY!

Captured Again - D Macaulay

My mind keeps wandering Lord
To other things I adore
Come again and capture me

My life's pursuits can all be
So often centred on me
Let my first love burn

In my heart there's a longing for
The glory of the Lord
Here I am lifted hands
Lord I'm walking through the door

I want to stand in your presence in all of your glory
And worship at Your feet
And as I lay down my idols and reach out for You
I am free   I am free

And you come with mercies from heaven
like I've never dreamed of
And shower me with grace
And as the earth fades away
I am captured again
In Your face Lord, in Your face.
© 2002 Dan Macaulay (Admin. by Spirit Born Music Publishing / Doxa Praise)
CCLI Song # 4370862 www.danmacaulay.com http://www.spiritbornmusic.com/

So allow God to refine and renew your minds through Christ Jesus. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2 NIV)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:6-8 NIV)BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!


Jan 23, 2011

"Stillness"

DAY #23 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

Sometimes it feels as if there is not enough hours in a day to worship, pray, work, make dinner, eat, get ready, take care of kids or other family members, etc... but each day we have to do it. The most important priority on that list should be worship and prayer... spending time with 'Daddy' in stillness, meditating and listening. How often can you sit 'still'? I know I hate to be 'still', I like moving and usually noise of some kind around me, like worship music or the TV or something. Just sitting in the peaceful quiet is not something I am used to. However, God wants us to spend quality time with Him alone. Unfortunately, there are so many distractions and frustrations around us that take our thoughts away quite quickly. "But if we allow the distractions of a clamorous world to separate us from God's peace, we do ourselves a profound disservice. If we are to maintain righteous minds and compassionate hearts, we must take time each day for prayer and meditation. We must make ourselves still in the presence of our Creator. We must quiet our minds and our hearts so that we might sense God's will, God's love, and God's Son." ('A Woman of Faith' Devotional. Day 23. ©2007 Freeman-Smith, LLC. Nashville, TN. 37202)
So sit back today and take a break from life... although Sunday's for us is a pretty busy day in itself as we have church in the AM and in the PM. We can receive God's love and peace freely, and we receive it, so that we can share it with this dark world.

I want to share a song, although you are supposed to be 'still'... It's sung by Hillsong, and called 'Still'. Here's the lyrics...

Hide me now

Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust



BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!

Jan 22, 2011

"Your Own Worst Critic?"

DAY #22 - "A Woman of Faith" Devotional
Verse: "A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God." 1 Timothy 6:6 MSG
NIV - "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
KJV - "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
NLT - "Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth."

The definition of 'devout' according to dictionary.com is;
–adjective, -er, -est.


1. devoted to divine worship or service; pious; religious: a devout Catholic.
2. expressing devotion or piety: devout prayer.
3. earnest or sincere; hearty: He had a devout allegiance to the political regime.
—Synonyms
1. worshipful; holy, saintly. See religious. 3. intense, serious, fervent, ardent.

We are to live our lives devoted to God, as worshipful, faithful, loyal Christians. We have all the wealth in the world that we need living for God. We need to live with godliness, and with contentment knowing that He is our provider, and the lifter of our heads. ("Many are saying of me, 'God will not deliver him.' But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain." Psalm 3:2-4 NIV) Godliness is not a means to financial gain, but God can, will and does provide exactly what we need. We do not need to 'hoard' anything! We live in the faith knowing


Usually in life, we are our own worst enemy, or our own worst critic. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, when we compare ourselves to other's, when we look at the things that we do (ie; things we make with our hands, a job we have done, etc.) We need to understand ourselves more, and who God has created us to be. We are not meant to all be 2nd rate Angelina Jolie's or Mother Teresa's. You are created to be 1st rate ___________. (insert your name in the space)


There are so many self-help books, websites, programs, conferences & workshops out there, and yet the only one we need is the Bible itself. "The Bible affirms the importance of self-acceptance by teaching Christians to love others as they love themselves (Matthew 22:37-40). God accepts us just as we are. And, if He accepts us-- faults and all -- then who are we to believe otherwise?" ('A Woman of Faith' Devotional. Day 22. ©2007 Freeman-Smith, LLC. Nashville, TN. 37202) The Bible is indeed the answer to all our problems. God has created you to be unique and with the gifts, talents and characteristics you need. We shouldn't be striving to do or be like someone else. We can look to other's for mentoring, etc, who've been there, or who are in a place where your giftings might take you... but we shouldn't strive to be 'them'. We should be striving to 'be like Jesus'.


We need to maintain a healthy self-image, as the devil is deceiving and scheming to attack us in any way he can. The devil can use our thoughts and imagings as we speak them into the air... he is the prince and power and ruler of the darkness of this world.  "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12 KJV) When we speak out about our failures (or what seems to us to be failures), the devil and his schemers are listening and will run with those to use them against us. For if we see ourselves, or our giftings as insignificant (or as failures not to try again) that allows him to keep us from doing God's work that God has planned for us to do. God wants to use our failures and mistakes as learning experiences for ourselves, and so that we may possibly also help others who may be in the same mindset or problems as well. (IE: If you self-inflict wounds (or have in the past) to remove pain, and God has healed you of it - the scars still remain, yet the healing has gone much deeper to your heart. We can't always see what God does on the inside, yet the changes are there. And now, you can be a living example and mentor to other young girls in that predicament. Sometimes you can catch them, before they begin. God has a plan for you!)
{Editor Note: If you, or someone you know is suffering with this, check out this site, 'To Write Love on Her Arms' -- http://www.twloha.com/index.php)


We also need to remember that 'God has to change your heart, before He can change your shirt' -- those words are found in a song by Casting Crowns - 'What This World Needs'. (Here is the video with lyrics added.)


This world does need a Saviour, and that Saviour is JESUS! He is God the Father's Son, He is not just a prophet and He is God! He is the Word! He is the WAY, the TRUTH & the LIFE! (See John 1:1 and John 14:6)


I'm going to post the lyrics here as well, because as I am writing this devo' and listening to the song, they are so super true. What this world needs... is not us, but JESUS!

What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind

Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society
What this world needs is not another sign waving super saint that's better than you
Another ear pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Another prophet in an Armani suit

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them in their time of need
A Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

What this world needs is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can't see
God's gotta change her heart before He changes her shirt
What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can't see the difference
And it's the difference that sets the world free


Jesus is our Savior, that's what this world needs
Father's arms around you, that's what this world needs
That's what this world needs

What we need to remember is that God does look at the inside, and it is much more important than our outer appearance. We can have implants, lifts, tucks, etc on the outside to try and improve on God's creation (why? who knows, because everything God made is 'good')... but we cannot fake what is going on inside of us, the change that we allow God to do. "But God told Samuel, 'Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.' " 1 Samuel 16:7

Keep your heart diligent, devout and pure! Be Yourself! Again, 'A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.' -- Read the chapter of 1 Timothy 6 in the MESSAGE translation... WOW! (right-click the link, and open in a new tab or window) -- Put your name in, in place of the name 'Timothy', and let God reveal Himself to you in a new way as you try to "...Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to..." (1 Timothy 6:11-12 MSG).

...and stop being your own WORST critic, and be the BEST you that you can be! Be the M.E. that God has called you to be. (M.E. = Your 'Maximum Effectiveness'!)

BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!


Jan 21, 2011

"His Answer to our Guilt"

DAY #21 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV


What is 'guilt'? According to dictionary.com guilt is defined as;
–noun

1. the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, esp. against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.
2. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
3. conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.

When we do something wrong, or sin, which we ALL have done we feel guilty sometimes about committing that sin. Guilt can be an intense feeling that tries to rob us of all the benefits of the Father. We think that the Father doesn't love us anymore, or that He is not going to bless us because of our sin. We can get troubled, and worried and even stressed over our guilt. God doesn't want to see us in bondage to our guilt. There is an easy way to lose guilt... forgiveness!

God wants us to be remorseful or sorry for our sin, and to repent of it. If we confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us thoroughly and unconditionally. He puts our sin away from Him and us as far as the east is from the west. ("...as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12 NIV) He wants us to live a fulfilled life, holy and pure as He is holy. We cannot be in the presence of God filled with sin in our lives, we cannot fully participate in the blessings that He has with sin in our lives.

All of us have sinned, and we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) and the consequence for sin is death. But thankfully, God has made a way for us through His Son Jesus, so that we may live. Jesus died ONCE AND FOR ALL, so that we may live eternally through Him and His Father. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

As today's verse found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, IF and when we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways (or repent and get rid of guilt), THEN He will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sins (and our guilt), and He will heal us! Praise the Lord! Isn't that good news?

So step out in faith today, speak to the Father, and tell Him of your heart. Are you full of guilt or bitterness, or even depression or anger? Leave them all at the feet of Jesus, and He will take your requests to His Father, who will do what He says He will do! You can count on God... others may let you down, but God's Word is true and will remain forever! <3

BE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!

Jan 20, 2011

"Living on Purpose"

Day #20 - 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." Philippians 2:13



We should all be striving to live our life for a purpose. Each of us has a special purpose for being here on earth. God has given us our own unique identity and calling to be lived out. Each of us has our own destiny, which can be lived out if we live according to His Word, His Will and His purposes for our life.

We do have the free-choice to live our lives the way we choose, but God has created us to become the best "Me's" we can be! He has given us gifts, talents, character traits, and desires that all fit along with the calling on our lives. We just need to be obedient and available to live those out. Sometimes by our own choices we have more troubles than joys... but it is in those times that we are learning to put our trust in the God above, who cares so deeply for each one of us.

We need to live up to our 'MAXIMUM EFFECTIVENESS' (the "M.E." that He has called us to be.) Through the help of Holy Spirit, mentors, teachers, pastors, good Christian friends and the Word of God we can make those choices that BEST help us to live our lives on purpose. God offers us all the stuff we need, we just have to take the first step. We need to stop trying to do things our way or on our own, and we need to allow God control over our thinking, speech and actions. How passionate are you? Then let your actions match your passions!

We did a song one year at a VBS 'Outrigger Island' and one of the songs was 'Let my Actions match my Passion', so I found a version for you on YOUTUBE. Enjoy!

...so get out there and DO SOMETHING GOOD for the Kingdom!

Remember, "Victory is the result of Christ's life live out in the believer. It is important to see that victory, not defeat is God's purpose for His children." ~ Corrie Ten BoomBE BLESSED & BE A BLESSING!








Jan 19, 2011

"Prayer Now"

DAY #19 -- 'A Woman of Faith' Devotional
Verse: "Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction; be persistant in prayer." Romans 12:12 HCSB

Prayer is important... and should be something that is done all day long, each and every day. Persistence does pay off. Is there something that you are hoping for, or something that is afflicting you... for most of us, that is probably a resounding YES! Well, then this verse says that you should be persistent in prayer.

What is the definition of 'persistent'?
–adjective

1. persisting, esp. in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering: a most annoyingly persistent young man.
2. lasting or enduring tenaciously: the persistent aroma of verbena; a persistent cough.
3. constantly repeated; continued: persistent noise.
4. Biology .
a. continuing or permanent.
b. having continuity of phylogenetic characteristics.
5. Botany . remaining attached beyond the usual time, as flowers, flower parts, or leaves.

So, in spite of opposition, obstacles or discouragement we are meant to be persistent and persevere through and pray. We are to rejoice in faith and hope, knowing that our Creator and Father is watching over us and that He is in control of the entire world, and our little life in that entire world. Having faith in God that He will take charge and fix our problem should allow us to be patient in affliction or times of trouble. God is our Father and our friend. Prayer is just simply communicating with Him. It doesn't always have to be a long drawn out 'Oh gracious Heavenly Father, hear our humble cry...'; it can be a simple 'Help me Lord...'.

Most of our big prayers are at mealtime, or at bedtime or the like... but we should be communicating with God all day long. He knows what we want, and He knows what we need, but He still wants to hear it from us. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 it says, "...pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV) Continually, means it should be always on our lips. If we are to continually breathe in and out, then that means we breathe in and out ALL the time. It just comes natural to us, that our body just does it. Prayer should be the same.

Usually we keep trials, troubles, despair, discouragement, tough decisions in our minds... we think them over, try to fix them ourselves, sometimes we let ourselves get filled with bitterness or despair. The mind is a battlefield... yet we are to turn those problems over to God, and not dwell on them. His power is greater than our power, His thoughts and ways are always higher & greater than ours. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9


It has been said, "Pray as if it's all up to God, work as if it's all up to you." (Anonymous) and that is so true. However, it is all up to God so you can pray accordingly. If it's God's will for you to have that desire, then He will grant it under certain circumstances. If it however is not in the will of God, then God will grant you something else to fill that void. Yet His love is always the best filler!

So, open up your heart today, NOW, and more times throughout the day... it may be a quiet whisper, or a regular voice tone, or even a loud shout. It may even have to be a prayer in the mind. Take authority that He has given over your rough situations. Ask for healing in your own body, or for those around you. Ask for those desires that are sitting in your heart unfulfilled yet. But please don't forget to THANK Him for all He has done for you... that is an important part of prayer too. But first of all, remember to repent and ask forgiveness, so that you may BOLDLY go into His throneroom. We can repent for the sins we commit in THOUGHT, WORD & DEED, intentionally and unintentionally, consciously and subconsciously. (Some things you have done require forgiveness, and you don't know that you even 'sinned'.) Jesus' blood covers and cleanses us clean as the snow. You can even tell Him your struggles, yet remember the devil is listening too, and he likes to add to those, so you can pray those in your mind or you can speak in tongues (if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit), cause that confuses the devil. HA HA HA! Remember we are to NOT FEAR the devil... there is NO fear in God. The devil is under our feet, and you can stomp on him throughout the day while you go about your day, and especially while you are praying! You are an OVERCOMER!

"Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." (Romans 16:19-20 NIV)


Have a great day, be blessed and be a blessing!









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