What do you treasure?

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

When I look around at all the “things” I have I  become overwhelmed.  God has blessed me with so much; however I don’t think I have often appreciated what He has done for me.  What matters most is not the home I live in, what my furniture looks like, or even how clean my home is.  What matters most are the relationships that I have and the way that I treat people.

God gives and God takes away, but my soul is forever His.  If I am truly living the way God wants me to live I would be more concerned about how I treat people instead of playing the comparison game.

I, like a lot of people,  lived by trying to keep up with everyone else.  I would spend money I did not have, buy things I did not need, and be stressed out over all the “stuff”.  I realize that by doing that I missed out on so much.  I am not living with regret just new prospective.  The relationships that I have built and continue to build are what matter most in life.  When I am dead and gone my “stuff” will disappear, but I will continue to live because of the lives that I have touched.  So, when I am feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in my life I need to remember that the stuff will disappear, but my heart remains.

Father God, thank you for all the blessings you give me everyday.  I thank you for all the little things like a pillow to lay my head on, blankets to cover with, and a bed to sleep on.  I praise and thank you for the people you have placed in my life; without them I would not be the person I am today.  You have blessed me with an amazing family who have given me the courage and strength to be who I am.  You continue to amaze me with every passing day.  Help me Lord on days when I feel overwhelmed by life or my feelings get hurt to remember that it is not about the “things” but instead about relationship: love, grace, kindness, and forgiveness.  Strengthen me today to walk the path less taken and find strength in the little things.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Heart of Stone becomes….

Ezekiel 11:19 “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Imagine if you will, a piece of petrified wood.  Petrified wood happens when trees are covered with sediment and groundwater rich in minerals seeps into the tree.  These minerals harden over time causing the tree to become a fossil instead of decaying and returning to the earth as nutrients.

As we live life often times we allow the negative words and actions of others to seep into our hearts causing them to become hardened or calcified.  When a heart becomes hardened it is difficult to see anything good in life; we look at life through the lens of negativity.  Just like the wood becoming a fossil takes years, our hearts too take years to become hardened.  It starts small then over time grows until all we can see is negativity, no matter what is going on in our lives.

God knows that we are prone to this type of thinking and that our hearts have the ability to become hardened by life.  When we seek God, moment by moment, we allow Him to replace our hearts with a new spirit.  This new spirit allows God to remove the negativity from our hearts and replace it with a heart of flesh.  This heart of flesh is open, honest, loving, and most importantly, forgiving.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for opening my eyes to the pain I hold in my heart.  I seek your peace and ask that you soften my heart where it has become hard from life.  Open my eyes to see the blessings in my life and not focus on the past, but allow you to mold and guide my future.  Put in me a new spirit that replaces my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.  In Jesus Name, Amen

Find healing in forgivness

Ephesians 4:31-32 (MSG) “Make a clean break with all cutting, back biting, profane talk.  Be gentle with one another, sensitive.  Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”

Are you in the midst of a suffering? Are things in your life going well?  No matter how you answered these questions become fervent in seeking God.  Create a passion for knowing more about His love for you.  We are all going to make mistakes no matter what that mistake is we can learn from it.  Be passionate about your life and live each day with a passion for Christ so, when you make the mistake you can seek forgiveness.

Remember that once you have hurt someone and sought forgivness you have been set free in Christ.  Whether that person chooses to forgive or not is not up to you.  Some of us have walked a path where forgiveness was given even when the other person never asked to be forgiven.  Remember that forgiveness does not excuse the actions; it brings healing to your soul.

I have found that one of the hardest things for me to do is to forgive myself when I have done something to cause harm to another.  A few years ago someone challenged me by reminding me that if God has forgiven me why am I playing god and not forgiving myself.  I don’t know about you but I am glad God is God and I am not.

Fatehr thank you for the gift of forgivenss.  Thank you for the passion you have given me to know you more and to be still and listen.  Help me to let Your passion shine in all areas of my life.  When I do stumble help me to recognize my faults and seek forgivenss not only from you but from those I have hurt.  Help me to be gentle and sensitive to those around me.  In Jesus Precious Name, amen

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

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