Tree of life or wicked evil

Proverbs 15:4 “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”  15:28 “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.”

I have found that one of the hardest things to do is to hold my tongue when I am hurt or frustrated.  Life is full of frustrating events and what we do in those moments says a lot about the state of our spirit.  When frustration peaks I don’t seem to have a problem telling someone that I am frustrated with their actions or lack of, however is this what God desires for me or my loved one?  I would dare to say no.

When I am frustrated I seem to verbally vomit all over someone and then regret my actions.  You see no one is responsible for my words except me.  How I respond to a situation is completely up to me.  I have a choice to become angry or sit for a moment with my Heavenly Father and weigh my options according to His word.  Lashing out in anger or frustration has never brought peace or comfort to my soul, let alone the person on the other end.

I am not saying that it is not ok to be frustrated or hurt.  God’s words tell us in those moments stop and seek His words which will bring life not evil.  I am learning that trying  to control my tongue is one of the hardest things to do when I am hurt or frustrated.  It is easy to be nice when you are not hurting, but God wants us to use our words for building up and not tearing down. So, speak with kindness and love.  When you are frustrated or angry hold your tongue and seek guidance from the one who sets us free.  Stop before you speak and write out your anger, frustration, and pain.  When you take the time to process your anger and frustration before speaking it helps you come from a place of construction instead of destruction.

Father, You have given me two ears and one mouth help me to use my ears to hear Your still small voice before I use my mouth to bring hurt or pain from my lips.  I want my words to be pleasing to you even in times of frustration and pain.  Father you are the healer of all and You bring calm to the storms of life, for this I am forever grateful.  In Jesus Name, Amen

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Hills and Valleys

Isaiah 55:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.’ Says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

Life is a series of hills and valleys.  No matter where you are right now, hill or valley, know that your Heavenly Father is with you.  When you are on a hill look to God because He is the one who got you there.  If you are in a valley, look up because God is holding out His hand to assist you up the steep slopes to reach the top.

Life is the most challenging when we are in the valley.  It is hard to see anything good sometimes, but hang on because God has something amazing on “the hill” waiting for you.  Your Father is there to wipe your tears away, remember that His grace is enough.   He will carry you so look to the heavens and trust God to walk with you.  You are NEVER alone no matter how you feel, because God cannot and will not break His promise to never leave you or forsake you.

You are safe in your Father’s arms.  So, when you are in the valley and life seems to be a series of struggles and failures,  lift your eyes to the one sees you there.

Thank you Father for never leaving me no matter what I have done in my life I can trust you when you say that I am Your child.  You promis to walk me through every part of my life and bring peace.  Thank you for your unfailing love and the security in knowing that You are my Father.  When I face the valleys of life send people in to guide me and lift me up.  People who will remind me that You are my strength and refuge.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Criticism is a destructive storm

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from you mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

If you have ever watched a storm move in you know that the sky begins to darken as the black clouds move across the sky.  These black clouds cause the sun to disappear and darkness to consume everything in its wake.  Although this can be a welcome sight it can also be scary because of what it is capable of producing.  These dark clouds are referred to as thunderstorm clouds because they being heavy rain, snow, hail, lightning, and tornadoes.  They leave behind destruction and pain, but are also responsible for beauty.

For some, these storm clouds are seen as beautiful and for others it brings a state of fear and anxiety.  The same is true of our words.  Our words can bring fear and anxiety as well as beauty.  Our words just like thunder clouds start somewhere.  Our words come from our thoughts and our attitude.  When we have a critical spirit we are able to eat holes in tender souls, etch deep scares in others, and mar forever the shine and beauty of faith, hope, and love.  The storms, yes, bring destruction, but what comes after is beauty from the ashes.

What challenges are you facing today?  Are you approaching these challenges with God by your side and being filled with His spirit.  Or are you walking with the storm of a critical spirit bring destruction?  Go to God and gain victory over your critical spirit.  If you have been hurt by a critical spirit go to God and seek peace for your soul.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for opening my eyes to the evil spirit or criticism that can cause destruction and devastation.   Open my eyes, Lord, to the attitude of my heart.  If I have a critical spirit raising up I ask you to help me recognize it and replace it with Your spirit of love.  I don’t what to steal any joy or peace from another due to my words or actions.  Forgive me for the times when I have been critical and hurtful.  Father, help me to be a light in the midst of a storm.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Abundance of God

2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

So many of us define ourselves by our failures or our short comings, but that is not how God wants us to live.  When we look at ourselves in the mirror we often focus on our flaws or what we wish was different about ourselves.  That is not how God sees us.  When God sees you he sees his child who he redeemed and washed clean.

When you accepted Christ as your savior he washed away the dirt and left behind radiant light.  He became a part of your soul.  God does not see flaws; He sees flawless and redeemed.

As you go through your day hold captive any thoughts that are negative about who you are and remember that you are a child of The King.  No mistake you have made can keep you out of the loving arms of Christ.  Come to Him and seek shelter.  Ask for help with the areas of your life that are not pleasing to Him and He will fill those places with love.

Father, thank you for saving me and washing me clean.  Help me today to focus on your grace and peace.  When I look at myself and all I see are “failures” remind me that You fill me with peace and grace.  My “failures” do not define me.  In the areas of my life where I struggle, give me strength and courage to overcome.  Fill those empty spaced with Your love and mercy.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Who you are created to be…

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Ever wonder why people are so afraid to share who they truly are?  Why they seem to change when they are around certain people?  Is it because deep down they are afraid?

God tells us throughout the Bible to not fear yet, so many of us live our lives that way.  We fear failure, intimacy, being hurt, or countless other things.  It boils down to we all just want to belong and be accepted for who we are yet we are afraid to show the world who that is.

What if we lived our life only wanting to please God?  Would you live your life differently?  Would you be free to explore who you were meant to be?  Everyday we limit what God can do in our lives because we limit who we really are out of fear.  Don’t allow fear to hold you back from being who God meant you to be.  Allow Him to hold you and encourage you to become who He created you to be.

Father, thank you for being with me, holding me, strengthening me, helping me, and holding me in your righteous right hand.  Strengthen my relationship with you so that I do not become broken down or lost.  I don’t what to be ashamed of who You created me to be.  Help me to live a life pleasing to you and when I face challenges to look to You.  Father, so many times I have been afraid to do something because of how others will see it, guide me in this walk to be who you created me to be.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Dream

Mark 10:27 “Jesus looks at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'”

There are times in our lives when we feel like giving up.  We look at our circumstances and don’t see any way to achieve a goal or get ourselves out of the rut we are in.  If we cold take a look outside of ourselves, see life as a joyous gift, maybe we could stop feeling sorry for ourselves And embrace the challenges as hurdles instead of barriers.

I saw this video and cried.   https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKSWXzAnVe0  When I think about the challenges that I have faced in life, I need to remember to focus on the dream and not the limitations.

I often tell my students that the only one stopping them from achieving their dreams is themselves.  There are times I need to remember that these words apply to me as well.  Although my dreams have changed over the years, I still need to remember to dream.  What do I want to do when I grow up?  As long as I have breath in my lungs God is not done with me and I have a job to do.  Don’t ever give up on your dreams because if you do you are missing out on the joy that God has instore for you.

Father, thank you fo all that you have done in my life to bring me right where you want me.  I know that You are carrying me every moment of every day and I need to trust in You.  Lord, when I face challenges or difficult situations remind me of the dreams You have for me.  Help me to find my strength in You.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Don’t Quit

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, attention in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  (MSG) “Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.”

Yesterday another “famous person” took their life.  I am at a loss of words when I think of the pain his family and friends are going through.  When someone famous takes their life we hear about it, but what we don’t hear are all the others that also made the same choice.  My heart breaks for the friends and family that are left behind when someone chooses to end their life.

I love the MSG version of this scripture because it uses a semicolon.  In writing, authors use periods, question marks, and an explamation marks all signal the end of a thought.  A semicolon represents when the author could choose to end the sentence, but instead chooses not to.  When someone takes their own life they are placing a period where a semicolon should be.  Allow God to write your story by choosing prayer.  I know this sounds easy and simple; life is not easy nor simple.

We all face days when we fell hopeless and alone with no way to escape or lessen the pain.  I assure you that when you feel this way PRAY and pray faithfully, God is listening.  When feelings of hopelessness enter you are not always able to think rational thoughts and prayer is not the first thought.  Sometimes this life is just overwhelming and we cannot see past our own pain.  Let God write your story.

Father, thank you for my loved ones and for giving me strength and courage to walk beside them when they needed me the most.  Continue to strenghten me as I walk the path before me.  I ask You to cover all the family and friends that have lost someone in this manner.  You alone are the author of our “Story.”  Cover the hurting today and bring someone to their side that is able to speak hope in to the hopeless.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Praise in the Midst of Challenge

James 1:2-4 “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

If you were to lose everything, ponder that for a moment, would you bow down and worship God?  When I was faced with living life without my husband I felt scared and hurt.  Two years later I was faced with the thought of  losing my youngest son.  This could have sent me to a dark place however; God stepped in and rescued me.

When we face difficulties in our lives how often do the praise God?  When I look back at that time of my life and  of the potential loss, I remember that I didn’t wallow. I found strength in my faith.  God saved not only my son and my husband but my marriage as well.  I praise God everyday for the lives of those around me because in a moment they can be taken from you.  Look at your life and see it through God’s eyes, a blessing and a gift.

We are going to face challenges and loss, but when we go through these storms of life remember that God is walking with you and there is a blessing on the other side.  When I walked through those difficult days I was able to be strong because of the Lord and His might strength.  That does not mean that I was not sad or frustrated or scared.  It does mean that I got up everyday, went to work, and supported my family.  I know that on my own I could never have faced the day-to-day life without the strength of Christ.

If/when you face the storms of life go to God and find strength in Him.  You may not see it in the midst of the storm, but He is there shining down on you and giving you strength to make it through.

Father, thank you for the storms in my life that have made me who I am today.  Continue to strengthen me in Your mighty work.  Lord, I know that I faced these challenges so that you can do a good work not only in me but in those you are leading to me.  Help me to share my story so others can find strength in You.  You are my strength and my hope; in you I find peace.  Continue to strengthen me as I face the challenges of today.  Protect me from Satan and his demons as they try to take my mind and heart away from You.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Knowledge Vs. Wisdom

Proverbs 2:12-15 “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked people, from those whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.”

I often thought knowldge and wisdom were synonyms.  They are similar but are not synonyms.  I found this interesting because when someone tells you that you have wisdom that is a bigger compliment than telling you that you are knowledgable.

Knowldege is knowing the skills or what to do while wisdom is using judgement to follow through.   For example, you are out with friends and have had a little too much fun.  Your head (knowledge) tells you that it is wise not to drive home.  Wisdom uses that knowledge to call a taxi.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge.

I know that God exists and He is my savior, but have I changed my life as a result of what I know?  When we have wisdom we are able to discern right form wrong and act upon what is right and pleasing to God.

We all have knowledge, but we all do not act upon that knowledge for the betterment of ourselves or our loved ones. Which means that we are not wise.  Just knowing what is right is not enough we must be changed as a result of our relationship with Christ.  To me this explains why some “Christians” act one way at church and another once they leave.

Father, thank your for giving me knowldge so that I can know you and your will.  I need your help applying that knowledge because there are days when I am lost and confused.  Give me the wisdom to change what needs to be changed.  Walk with me guiding me in knowldege and wisdom.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Unclean

Matthew 15:11 “What goes into a persons mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.”

When I was a little girl I had a teacher that was not very caring or compassionate.  The impact she had on me with her negative words has lasted a lifetime.  My parents tired to meet with her and she never seemed to be available.  I remember her saying such negative things such as, I would never learn to read nor would I amount to anything.  I became a teacher inspite of her not because of her.

You see, her words in themselves didn’t make me ‘unclean’ but allowing those words to define me and using those same words today would make me ‘unclean.’

Another person’s words or beliefs can only affect you if you allow them to sink into your heart and come out of your mouth.  In this same scripture God also says that, “For out of the heart comes evil thoughts…” So, parents tell their children to think before they speak, this is wise advice because one the words leave your lips you cannot take them back.  Have you ever notice how the negative words seem to come pouring out after you have been hurt?  Words are powerful so use them with caution.

Father, thank you for the power of words.  Help me to use  words as a tool to build others up and to make a positive impact on those around me.  Help me to control my tongue and only speak words that are pleasing to you. I have felt the power of ‘unclean’ words and the sting that remains once they have been uttered.  Father, release me from any words that have been spoken over me, cleanse me form the evil that is tied to them.  Help me to hold my thoughts captive and to do what is pleasing and right in your eyes.  In Jesus Name, Amen