God’s Fruit or Life’s Pains

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

The Lord is the Spirit and the Holy Spirit lives in you.  So, this means you are free.

We are not free from hurt, pain, illnesses, or even abuse.  We are free to come to the Lord with all our hurts, confusion, and afflictions.  God hears our cry and because we have the Spirit we have the Lord.  Find comfort in knowing that, no matter what you face, you are NEVER alone.

If we look at this a different way;  we have the Spirit, which means,  we also have the fruits that come with the Holy Spirit.  We don’t have to focus on our pain and brokenness.  Life is going to throw horrible and painful things our way but, through it all we can choose to focus on the pain or the fruit.  Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  I don’t know about you but, focusing on God’s fruit is much better than focusing on the hurts in life.

Father, thank you for the reminder that you are always with me and ready to offer Your fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Lord, life seems to get so crazy sometimes and the hurts cloud my ability to see You and everything Your relationship has to offer.  As I go through my day, help me to see You in everything that I do.  Give me the wisdom that comes with knowing You.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Forgiveness Brings Healing

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 “If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him.  And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for you sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

When we think about forgiveness we often think that this means the person who wronged us is “off the hook”.  What we are forgetting is that forgiveness is not about them, it is about us.  When we hold unforgivenss we are only hutting oursleves and giving power over to the darkness, that is pain.  That pain holds us captive and we become filled with darkness, pain, and negitivity.  This is the opposite of what Christ wants for our lives.

Forgivening someone for hurting you is not easy and, to be honest, you cannot forigive on your own.  Only throught the power and work of God can you even think about forgivenss.  There is healing in seeking Christ in the midst of your pain.  You may have to forgive this person everyday.  That is ok beause God knows it is not easy.  Every time you turn your pain over to God more healing will come until it is but a memory that holds no power over you.  So, begin Your journey of healing and freedom in forgiveness.

Father, I know I hold unforgivenss in my heart.  I come to you seeking healing from past hurts.  Help me Lord release the pain caused by another.  Help me to release the hold their sins have over me.  Help me release it so I can live at the  full life you have for me.  Whenever the pain washes over me, prompt me to come to you and release that pain at your feet.  Give me strength to walk the path to freedom in Your presence and grace.  In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen

Flawed, yet Redeemed

1 Peter 1;18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were reeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

When you look in the mirror what do you see?  Do you see a flawed human being or a child of God?  Actually, you should see both. However, which one are you choosing to focus on?

When we focus on our flaws we become beat down and overcome with sadness.  When we focus on our relationship with Christ we are freed to feel joy, peace, and love.  I am tired of spending my days focusing on my flaws.  It is time to start living a loved life.  One where I recognize the precious blood of Christ has washed over me and cleansed me from my sins.  When you look in the mirror, thank God for the life He has given you because no matter where you are He has redeemed you.  That doesn’t t mean you will be pain free, but it does mean you have a companion to walk through the fire with you.

Father, thank your or giving me a life, although not exactly what I had planned, where I encountered You.  I could not, and don’t want to, imagine where I would be today if it were not for the precious blood of Christ.  I have not, and will not, live an empty life.  I will continue to grow in my relationship with You knowning that You are the author.  Continue to carry me, guide me, and call to me everyday of my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

God Does Not Expect Perfection

1 Peter 1:14-15 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;…”

Striving to live a perfect life is not what God asks of us.

We often think that if we are Christians we should be perfect.  God never said he wants his followers to be perfect.  He wants us to be transformed.  He wants us to recognize our evil desires and reject them instead of giving into them.  He wants us to be set apart and holy.  He wants us to trust him.  He wants us to reflect and seek forgiveness when we have sinned against his commands.

I don’t know about you, but I am grateful that I serve a God that does not want perfection, but instead wants reflection.  When I make a mistake I can seek forgiveness and with that comes the freedom to try and trust.

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me through my difficult days and drawing me ever closer to you.  Draw me to you throughout my day, place reminders in my path to seek you in all that I do, say, and feel.  Father, I know that I have evil desires that take my focus off of you and onto things of this world.  Continue to transform me Lord; make me holy in your eyes.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Asking “Why” is OK with God

1 Peter 1:10 “The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about the gift of life God was preparing.”  ~Message

I have heard people say that it is not okay to question God.  I believe today I have discovered that, according to scripture, we can ask why.  When we ask questions we tend to find answers.  Is that not the point in asking questions?

When I compared the NIV and The Message version of this scripture it became clear that the prophets asked lots of questions about the coming Messiah.  They wanted details, when, where, why the suffering, and what about this Holy Spirit?  Through their questions God gave clarifying, but not complete answers.  So, ask God your questions, but don’t sit and wait for the answers to come to you; you must seek and study for things to be revealed.

Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit that allows me to not only ask question, but to hear Your still small voice.  Father I can rejoice in knowing that You have a plan.  You will not condemn me for being curious and seeking answers.  You have given me a mind, curiosity, and Your Spirit to bring clarity where there seems to be none.  Help me find the answers to my why questions and speak truth into my heart.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Inexpressible Joy

1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

In the midst of being bombarded with continual news of horrible tragities we can still have joy.  Sounds crazy, but it is a promise from our Heavenly Father.  We can experience inexpressible and glorious joy, not because of the things that happpen in our lives or the stories we hear but because our souls will not stay on this earth forever.  we have been saved through Christ which means, we will live in the crazy world for just a short time then, we will live eternity in paradise.  When we put our focus on that we can experience peace, joy, and love in the midst of life’s circumstances.

Father in Heaven, thank you for the inexpressible joy that can only be found in you.  I know that because of your shield and love that I can find peace, joy, and love in all of life’s circumstances.  I know that I will face turbulent and difficult times, but I also know that with you as my guide I can and will find joy.  I praise you and thank you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen

Shielded By God

1 Peter 1:5-6 “..through faith (you) are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

No matter what life throws your way you are “shielded by God.”  He is protecting you every step even though “for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”

Every moment of every day we are faced with decisions.  From the moment we awake until our bodies finally fall into sleep we make choices.  We decide if we become offended or praise God.

I am learning to recognize cracks that allow others opinions, actions, and words into my life that I know to be false.  These actions, words, or opinions have the ability to steal the joy Christ has given me.  If I choose to focus on God’s shield I can choose to reject things I know to be false.  When I choose God over others false words, actions, and options my day will be filled with joy and peace, not anger or frustration.

Father God thank you for your shield that continually protects me from the world.  Help me to recognize when I allow doubt, fear, and false thoughts into my life.  Open my eyes to the difference rejoicing can make in the midst of trials.  You alone are my protector and guide, walk with me today and protect me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Living Hope

1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and father of our Lord Jesus  Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

Peter, is a perfect example of what happens when we allow God to heal our wounds.  He was one who questioned his faith yet became such a powerful leader in the church.  God has a way of opening doors and my eyes to the fact that I am not alone in my struggle to understand what He did and what it means for you and for me.

Peter, walked with Jesus, saw Him do miracles, heard Him preach, and denied Him.  Peter was a real person, like you and me.  He faced many of the same challenges except, he knew Jesus in the flesh.  Peter was freed from his guilt and shame when he allowed Christ to work in him.  He lived his life allowing the Holy Spirit to guide him.  We too have the gift of the Holy Spirit and can live a life full of joy, peace, forgiveness, and love if we allow Christ to live in and through us.

Father free me from the chains that hold me captive.  Free me form the guilt and shame that seem to keep me from living a joy filled life.  You alone have the power to forgive and free me from the chains that bind.  Open my eyes to the love, peace, forgiveness, and joy You have in store for me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Are you giving your all?

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Are you giving you all?  Jesus gives us the opportunity to choose what measure he will use.  I never really thought about this statement quite like this; I Jesus stood before you and showed you measuring cups and asked you to choose.  “Now choose carefully,” he might say, “because whichever one you choose will be used the one I use to bless you.”

I don’t know about you, but I would choose the biggest one that was available.  Now, go back to the first part of the scripture.  For the same way you judge others or measure others will be used on you.  So I ask you again, are you giving your all?  Are you giving your all at work? Home? Church? Neighborhood?  This list can go on and on, the reality is, God gave us gifts so we could bless others, are you a blessing to your family, loved ones, patients, students, co-workers?

Father, forgive my selfishness, I know that I do not always do act, or say what is pleasing and good.  LORD, I am sorry for using a different measure for those around me than I am willing to use for myself.  Father, help me to be reflective on how I treat and judge others.  I know I am guilty of judging others by their actions and myself on my intentions.  When my intentions do not line up with my actions Father, please open my eyes so I can own it.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Strength to Keep Fighting

Isaiah 35:4 “…’Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”

The climb was slow and steady.  I felt as if I would never reach the top.  My body became weak and weary, I wanted to give up.  Out of no where I felt the amazing strength.  The strength to keep going and live another day.

The path we walk In this life we do not walk alone.  There are times when you might feel lost and alone.  It is in those times when Christ shows us in the simplest of ways: a smile from a friend, a text message, an amazing sky painting, the list could go on.   Chirist is with each of us as I walk through the valley.  There is  to beauty on th either side, keep walking Christ is with you.  Rely on His strength and you will one day see His glorious hand as you walked through the valley of the shadows.

Father in Heaven, You are gracious and loving.  You are my strength when I have none.  You are my guide when I am lost,  You are my comforter when times are hard.  You alone are my King.  Let Your kingdom rain down on me this day and give me what I need to live today side by side with You.  Protect me against evil spirits that want to draw me away from you.  Help me to show grace to others.  Strengthen me with Your mighty hand.  In Jesus Name, Amen