A lil encouragement

Let me encourage you today to keep your eyes on Jesus. You will stumble if we look away from Him to look at the circumstances around you. Then you’ll apt to become discouraged. Are you weary of the race? Remember: God is not looking for perfection but for persistence. As you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will get the courage and stamina to keep going until the finish line. And if you stumble, He’ll be there to pick you up and get you back in the race again.

I press on

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:14

This morning I was led to this scripture to meditate on, another of my favorite passages and I wanted to share it with you. If you know who you are in Christ—that He alone has already made you victorious when you received Him as Lord and Savior—then you can start, run and finish the race like a champion. This truth will set you free to empower you to run like a winner because you already are a winner at the beginning of the race. You either believe this truth or you don’t. It is a matter of simply trusting and obeying, no matter what your circumstances. God’s truth and grace gives you every edge you need along the way. But you have to believe it and apply it to your life.

Too many people try to serve God in their own strength, not by His Spirit, which wears people out because God will always call us up higher than we can go on our own. A major key in running the race is to not give up, no matter what. God has predestined our destinies. And we have a choice whether we are willing to cooperate. Jesus is the leader and completer of our faith. And since He endured the cross for our benefit, how can we say “no” to Him?

Your thoughts matter!

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23

God is far more interested in changing your mind than changing your circumstances. We want God to take away all of the problems, pain, sorrow, suffering, sickness, and sadness. But God wants to work on you first, because transformation won’t happen in your life until you renew your mind, until your thoughts begin to change. Why is it so important that you learn how to manage your mind? Let me give you three reasons.

Manage your mind, because your thoughts control your life. The power of your thoughts has tremendous ability to shape your life for good or for bad. Manage your mind, because the mind is the battleground for sin.

One of the reasons why you get mentally fatigued is because there’s a battle in your brain 24 hours a day. It’s debilitating because it’s intense, and it’s intense because your mind is your greatest asset. Satan wants your greatest asset! Manage your mind, because it’s the key to peace and happiness. An unmanaged mind leads to tension. A managed mind leads to tranquility. An unmanaged mind leads to conflict. A managed mind leads to confidence. An unmanaged mind leads to stress. When you don’t try to control your mind and the way you direct your thoughts, you will have an enormous amount of stress in your life. But a managed mind leads to strength and security and serenity.

God is with you in your troubles.

Let me encourage you today that if you want God to be God of your trouble, then you must let Him be God in your heart. God honors those who honor Him. If you’re facing problems, don’t just start kicking and screaming and begging Him to save you from them. Honor Him by going to His Word and doing what He says to do. We can be encouraged in our own difficulties, in those moments when we wish we could hide safely under the bed again, that God offers us that same place of protection, that same shelter and that same help as He did for King David.

“You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7. As we trust in Him and come to Him with our troubles, God promises to be our safe hiding place as well. There is nothing more soothing than knowing the love of our Heavenly Father. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Granted, there may be times we feel as though He has neglected us, but He is always there.

Your thoughts…

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23

God is far more interested in changing your mind than changing your circumstances. We want God to take away all of the problems, pain, sorrow, suffering, sickness, and sadness. But God wants to work on you first, because transformation won’t happen in your life until you renew your mind, until your thoughts begin to change. Why is it so important that you learn how to manage your mind? Let me give you three reasons.

Manage your mind, because your thoughts control your life. The power of your thoughts has tremendous ability to shape your life for good or for bad. Manage your mind, because the mind is the battleground for sin.

One of the reasons why you get mentally fatigued is because there’s a battle in your brain 24 hours a day. It’s debilitating because it’s intense, and it’s intense because your mind is your greatest asset. Satan wants your greatest asset! Manage your mind, because it’s the key to peace and happiness. An unmanaged mind leads to tension. A managed mind leads to tranquility. An unmanaged mind leads to conflict. A managed mind leads to confidence. An unmanaged mind leads to stress. When you don’t try to control your mind and the way you direct your thoughts, you will have an enormous amount of stress in your life. But a managed mind leads to strength and security and serenity.

Having a Grateful Heart!

Good morning my precious friends and family!

Cultivating a thankful heart is the key to overcoming discouragement, grief, pain, or discontentment. If we develop the habit of counting our blessings then we, like Paul, can learn to be content—even joyful—in the darkest of times or most difficult of circumstances. Have a wonderful day as you maintain a grateful heart regardless of your circumstances.

“Give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.” Psalm 105:1

The psalmist here reminds us that the greatest benefit of a grateful heart, and therefore the greatest motivation to a thankful spirit, is not the blessing that it brings to us but the witness it is to others. Anyone can be happy and thankful when everything is going well; but what a testimony it is when God’s people are rejoicing among the ruins of their temporal pleasures!

When a child of God is seen searching through the wreckage of shattered dreams, lost loved ones, or debilitating pain for reasons to praise their Lord it is an unparalleled proof of the power of Christ to transform and to satisfy His people. When they publicly call upon His name, making His deeds known among the masses, the gratefulness of God’s children redounds to the glory of God’s grace.

We are nowhere as able to shine for Christ as in the darkness of our own heartache and loss. In that moment we have the greatest potential to fulfill the greatest purpose of our lives — to exalt the name of our Lord Jesus. So, no matter what your current circumstances, give thanks to the Lord, calling on the name of Christ as your joy and sufficiency. Make known His goodness among the masses.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” (KJV).

Another word for “chasten” is “discipline.” The passage goes on to quote Proverbs 3:11-12, which says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proper discipline is a proof of love.

Throughout Scripture, God portrays Himself as a Father. Those who have received Jesus as Savior are His children (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26). He uses the analogy of father/son because we understand it. He compares Himself to a loving father who not only blesses but disciplines His beloved children for their own good. Hebrews 12 goes on to show that those who do not receive God’s discipline are not legitimate children (verse 8). A loving father carefully watches his son, and when that son defies his orders and heads for danger, the father disciplines him to keep him safe. God does that with us. When a born-again child of God heads for sin or refuses to resist temptation, our Heavenly Father brings chastening into his life to direct him back to holiness.

Chastening can come in the form of guilty feelings, unpleasant circumstances, loss of peace, relationship fractures, or any number of negative consequences for choosing sin. Sometimes, the chastening of the Lord can be physical illness or even death (1 Corinthians 11:30).

Often, people ask if God is “punishing” them for wrong choices in the past. All our punishment for sin was exhausted upon Jesus on the cross (Romans 5:9). The wrath of God was poured out on Him so that for those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) no wrath remains. When we give our lives to Christ, our Substitute for sin, our sin is forgiven and God remembers it no more (Hebrews 8:12; 10:15-18). However, often, our wrong choices in the past have brought about unpleasant consequences now. God does not necessarily remove the natural consequences of sin when we repent. Those consequences are tools God can use to teach us, to prevent us from repeating the same mistakes, and to remind us of God’s grace.

Examples of chastening are found throughout the Bible. The Israelites were continually disobeying God’s commands (Numbers 14:21-23; Judges 2:1-2; 2 Kings 18:12). He was patient with them, He sent prophets to plead with them, and He warned them many times. But when they dug in their heels and embraced idols or evil practices, God brought chastening upon them in the form of plagues or enemy attacks (Jeremiah 40:3). He still loved them, and in His love He could not allow them to continue in behavior that would destroy them.

There are many examples of personal chastening in the Bible, as well, even upon those in whom the Lord most delighted—Moses (Numbers 27:12), David (1 Chronicles 28:3), and Solomon (1 Kings 11:11), to name a few. Notice that, although these men made mistakes and were chastened for them, God did not stop loving or using them. He brought discipline appropriate to the crime, but always forgave the truly repentant heart. God always restored the relationship.

When we sin, we can expect that our loving Heavenly Father will not let us get away with it. Because He loves us, He desires us to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15-16; Romans 8:29). If someone professes to know Christ but is living a lifestyle of unrepentant sin and claims to “feel fine about it,” with no qualms, then that person is not a legitimate child of God (Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5-11; Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12; I John 3:4-12). God “punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).

HOW DO YOU SPARKLE?

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8

Diamonds are wonderful things. As women, we like them. Of course we do! They sparkle. They shine. They are valuable. No wonder they are called our best friend. Diamonds are beautiful and when we are the Christian women God intended us to be, we can be beautiful too. We can sparkle and we can shine. Diamonds don’t start out beautiful. They come from deep in the earth. It’s just like when we come to Christ for salvation. We come from deep within the mirey clay of sin.

One of the characteristics of a diamond is its clarity. That involves whether there is the presence of any impurities or inclusions in the diamond. Depending on its visibility, the grade of a diamond will go up or down. As a Christian, any impurities in us will bring us down in grade as a Christian too. Others may not even see our impurities or our sins because it may not be visible with the naked eye, but remember that Christ can see our hearts. He knows what the scale of our clarity is.

Diamonds don’t automatically shine and sparkle. Diamonds that are uncut are rough and aren’t like the diamonds we wear in our jewelry. Only the cut diamonds sparkle. A diamond has to be cut by someone who is skilled in diamond cutting for it to sparkle and reflect light. Only the cut Christian woman can sparkle too. We as Christians have to be cut by our Master Designer in order to sparkle and reflect the light of Christ in the way that we should. An idea cut for a diamond causes all the light to be reflected back through the top of the diamond so that it reflects the maximum brilliance that it can.

When we allow Christ to mold us and to work in our lives and to cut the lines in us in the way that He as our Maker wants, then we reflect His light to the maximum in our lives. If we are living that way and allowing Christ to mold us, there are just some things that we will do if we are going to reflect Him in our lives.

D- Delight In The Lord

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall
give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

I- Increase In Love

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in
love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12

A- Abide In Christ

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

M- Minister To Others

“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Romans 12:13

O- Obey God’s Word

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3

N- Never Give Up

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set
down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1,2

D- Die To Self

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live
in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

So, how well do your sparkle?

Don’t worry…Listen to the Birds instead.

Don’t worry. Listen to the Birds instead.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:26-34