Thursday, January 31, 2013

God will take care of you!

"When you decide to live for God, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion.  There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.  Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God.  You count far more to Him than birds.

Walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers.  They never primp or shop; but have your ever seen color or design quite like it?  If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers, most of which are never seen, don't you think He'll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?

Relax, don't be so preoccupied with getting, so that you can respond to God's giving.  Steep you life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  Don't worry about missing out.  You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the times comes."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Living A Purpose Driven Life

A purpose driven life led by God can be likened to a journey. God's spirit is our guide & leads us daily. He is always guiding us to what is best for our life. The key to a successful and enjoyable journey is to follow Him.

So many times we get ahead of God. We may think we know the best direction to take or get impatient with His timing and make a wrong turn or take a shortcut because it seems quicker. When we realize that we've gotten off track, the good news is, God is there, waiting to take the lead again and show us the right way to go.

God has each of our journeys perfectly planned. He holds the blueprint that reveals the greater divine purpose He has for our lives. If we don't align ourselves to Him we will never experience the life of victorious living He has planned for us.

He loves us. He is good and righteous. We can trust Him to lead us in the direction that is right for us. We can trust Him to correct us when we stray and guide us back to the right place. We can trust Him with others on our path. We can trust Him with our life…period!

Follow His lead, because He knows the way and He will always stay with you. Trust Him to lead you into all the good He has planned for your life and in the process, enjoy the journey as He continues to take you to greater things & fulfill the greater purpose He has for your life. There's nothing better than knowing your right in the middle of where God would have you be, doing what He'd have you do & being who He'd have you be as you live a purpose driven life each day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The only approval you need!

Everyone wants to be liked, approved and accepted.  We've all have faced the same dilemma from time to time, going to extensive ends, ways, means and out of our way to impress and gain the acceptance and approval of an individual or maybe even a "click" or group of people.  For a period of time in my life, I was there; but, I'm grateful God has freed me of that today.  What a relief!  He put's the right people in my life at the right time and place.

"No matter how you may be feeling right now, no matter who's approval you haven't received on this earth, know that God loves you and approves of you today.  There's nothing you can do now or ever to change that.  You may be thinking, ' I've made so many mistakes, how can God approve of me? '  God may not approve of your actions all the time; but, He desires to help you grow and make better choices."

Today, receive His love, forgiveness, acceptance, grace---His approval!  Allow Him to work in your life.  Allow His love to empower and strengthen you because YOU ARE APPROVED and equipped to live in victory all the days of your life; but, the choice is up to you.  Will you seek God to help you make wise choices, put the right people in your life and find that life of victorious living or continue doing things your on way?  Today, take heart in knowing the only approval you need is God's, and that my friend, you already have!  

Monday, January 28, 2013

God speaks. Are you listening?

God can speak in many ways.  I've heard many people describe how God speaks to them:

  • Thoughts
  • A "still small voice from within"
  • Through others
  • From the God consciousness that's developed as they continue to grow in their relationship with Him

Regardless of how God's speaks, the fact is He does?  Are you taking time out of your day to "Be still and know" and to listen?  Have you developed selective hearing, listening to only the things you like, ignoring the things you don't, the things He's dealing with you about, the times He's saying "No", the times He's leading you in one direction and you want to go another?

I have 24 hours in a day.  How much of that time is spent seeking God in prayer and meditation?  How much of that time is spent listening?  As I'm going about my day, is my relationship with my Creator fine tuned enough that I'm open to have ongoing communication with Him and hear what He has to say, regardless of what or when it is?

"Choose to keep your heart at peace by staying focused and listening to God the Father.  Give life to your body by staying in agreement with Him.  As you listen, let His peace, guidance and direction guard your heart so that you can always be equipped to handle whatever life may bring, and live the abundant life He has promised you."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do you need to de-clutter & sweep somethings clean in your life?

"He has made Himself known in the inner consciousness of mankind."

In the busy-ness of day to day life, some often find it hard to consistently make time to nurture their relationship with God.  We are all pulled in a thousand different directions and can often get distracted and lose focus of what's really important, what should be priority, and what should come first and foremost in our lives.  In these times, it's easy for self-will to kick in and we begin running on self instead of listening to the inner voice of our Creator as He tries to direct our lives.  Often, after a period of time, pain will ensue, and a realization will follow that instead of leaning on our Creator, we've been leaning our self and often see the mess we've made of things.  "The day comes for every person when only God remains."

Do you need to de-clutter you life and sweep somethings clean?  Does something in your life have you distracted possibly causing your focus to be on the wrong things or in the wrong priority instead of seeking God to lead guide and direct your way first and foremost?  Are you finding that you don't have time for God?

"As fears, worries, resentments, and the distractions of daily life and self-will depart out of my life, the things of God's spirit come in to take their places and fill the void in my life.  Calm comes after a storm.  As soon as I am rid of fear, hates, and selfishness, as soon as I seek and work to satisfy God's will instead of my own, as soon as my focus is in the right place and my life is swept clean and de-cluttered from the distractions of the world and my own house is in order, God's love, peace and calm can come in."

Who's will are you running on?  Self or God's?  Today, may I work to keep my house in order such that nothing is a distraction from my relationship with God, His divine guidance for my life, and ultimately Him leading me to places He'd have me go, and molding me to become who He'd have me be.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

God cares enough to help!

God offers precisely what we want and need. He knows our every weakness and cares about them. We can trust that when we seek him for help in a situation, he’ll care enough to do something about it.

God's Promise to Me
• I understand your weaknesses.
• I want you to come boldly into my presence.
• I will give you mercy and grace in your time of need.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Finding Peace living in the now by God's grace

"One way to develop consistent peace is learning to live in "the now".  We can spend a lot of time squandering hours in our heads thinking about the past or wondering what the future holds; but we can't accomplish anything unless our mind is focused on today."

A few years ago, I began to pray for peace in my life and in my home.  At the time, I didn't know where to even begin to experience peace in my life; but, after a lot of work on me, help from others, a lot of growth spiritually in my relationship with God, exercising a lot of faith, and learning to live life "one day at a time", I realized that I was beginning to experience just what I had prayed for, peace!  I'm grateful that it's become a part of my life everyday.

"Having an attitude of peace and calm is priceless.  It's an attitude that says, ' I'm trusting God, ' and it speaks powerfully to people; but, it takes time, focus and the grace of God to be consistently peaceful.  Too often our stress level is tied up in our circumstance---you're always busy, you're struggling financially or you're not getting along with someone you love or that's in your life."

Today, I'm grateful that God makes it possible to have extended and consistent peace and serenity in my life.  He gives sustaining grace and strength for each day to have the staying power to get through each moment as it comes.  I'll work to stay in the now and live a life happy, joyous and free, "one day at a time", enjoying every moment, exercising my faith in God, trusting Him through the ups and downs that life may bring.  Today, in giving Him my past, trusting Him with my future, and leaning on Him for guidance and grace for today, I'll continue to experience peace and serenity in my everyday life knowing, it's powerful, it's priceless and it's possible!    

Thursday, January 24, 2013

God promises: Nothing can ever separate you from My love

"With God on our side, how can we lose?  ...  Nothing---nothing, living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable---absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love."

"Most of what our world calls "love" is conditional.  You get to be on the receiving end only if or because you are a certain way or if or because you do certain things.  Stop being or doing those things and watch how quickly and how often the "love" disappears; except, when it comes to God."

The one constant in my life is God's love, His faithfulness, His sustaining power, His Grace.  We all fall short sometimes.  Maybe today you've done something that has shut you off from the sunlight of God's spirit and you may not feel the closeness to Him you once did.  He still loves you.  Step up and take corrective action to fix it, to make it right, to ask His forgiveness, to learn from the experience and work to not repeat the behavior.  He's ready and waiting to see you through to the other side of what your going through.  He still loves you and His grace is plentiful.

Today, in knowing God's unending love for me will never change, may I also exhibit that type of love to others and in doing so experience myself a little closer to my Creator and becoming a little more of who He'd have me be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How can I bring God into this situation?

"I don't have to attend every battle or fight I'm invited to."

Every felt over-committed, deadlines pressing on every side, people needing more and more from you and you just don't see clear for getting it all done and around to everyone?  Every felt like you need to clone yourself to get everything done and around to everybody?  Every felt pulled into the middle another persons problems, maybe one who thrives on drama?  You actually care about the person; but, you don't thrive on or want to be a part of or in the middle of their drama filled situation?  Possibly to make matters worse, because of your busyness you haven't taken time out to make sure you've invited God into the situation and are approaching it with His perspective.

Life is busy, demands on us and our time are constant, and some people just love gossip, drama, and attempts to tear others down.  Sometimes when we find ourselves in the middle of these busy or seemingly drama filled situations is when we often reach the boiling point of loosing it---our patience, tolerance, restraint of tongue and pen, and almost any sense of Godliness that we are clothed with.  I'm grateful today that in learning the importance of maintaining my relationship with God and taking care of myself spiritually that it's helped in many aspects of life, not only finding balance; but, knowing that it's OK to say "no", and when to walk away realizing that I don't have to attend every fight or battle that I'm invited to (i.e. pick and choose your battles wisely with God given wisdom).  

God promises to be our source of strength and support, that when we come to Him He will give us rest and that we can pray for His help to avoid temptation and find strength and that also includes the temptation to completely tell someone off when under pressure and the feeling hits you and as I like to say "you just wanna punch 'em in the throat".

Today, if or when I feel stressed, am dealing with drama, possibly facing a potential battle, have a temptation staring me in the face, or maybe just dealing with a situation that's a little unpleasant, I'll work to make sure God is invited in.  I'll stop and take time to get His perspective so that I can handle whatever "it" is the way He'd have me, being who He'd have me and walking away from whatever "it" is knowing that God is pleased with the way I handled myself because with His help, I did the best I could with what He's equipped me to work with!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's hard to complain when you're grateful!

"It's hard to complain when I'm grateful."

Complaining causes many people a great deal of pain and suffering often living a life of being miserable because their focus is always on what's not the way they might like it to be instead of taking an inventory of what they have to be grateful for.  We've been around people who seem this to be their way of life, and it often also carries over and makes for miserable company being around those who constantly complain.

"We need to ask ourselves, how quick are we to become impatient and begin to complain when stuck in traffic or while waiting in the checkout line at the local grocery or department store while Granny counts her change, goes through her coupons or carefully writes out her check.  How quick are we to spot and point out all the faults of our friends or family members instead of looking at our own inventory?  Do we complain about our job when we should be thanking God that we have one?

Today, I have much to be grateful for and I'm thankful.  I'll keep gratitude in the forefront of my mind and my focus and work to let it show in my attitude.  May others see a life lived with gratitude, faith and thanksgiving for God has truly been and continues to be good and faithful in my life.  Today I'll work to be positive and filled with gratitude and hopefully in the process others will see a little bit of God in me.

Monday, January 21, 2013

"You have not because you ask not."

" You have not because you ask not. "

As I was having my prayer and meditation this morning I read this and I got to thinking about it seriously (this is not talking about asking God for a Bentley, etc); but, seriously in looking back since I began my new journey with God almost 3 years ago; there hasn't been 1 time I could think of that when I've seriously prayed about something, surrendered something to Him and carried it to Him for an answer, guidance, direction or an outcome that He has not provided in some way ( often in ways beyond my comprehension ).

God wants to be actively a part of our lives not just a " now I lay me down to sleep " God or a " good morning God thanks for waking me up, give me a good day, gotta run" as we race out the door God.

The value of time spent seeking God and taking my cares, needs & concerns to Him in prayer is priceless. Spending time thanking Him or praying for my fellowman. My prayers don't have to be as eloquent as a priest or rabbi might pray, I just simply need to do it and do it often. I can't imagine starting my day with God & then leaving Him at home until I got ready to retire at night, not carrying Him with me throughout my day and keeping that constant contact going.

Today, if you "have not", could it be that you have "ask not"? Spend sometime making your prayers and petitions known to God the best way you know how and watch Him begin to work on your behalf, provide direction, provision and work things out in your life in ways you never thought possible.

Thanks God for continually seeing me through and providing the direction, provision & divine guidance I so need in my life.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

A personal journey of past hurts & imperfections & God's continued healing.

In prayer and mediation this morning as I sat in the mountains with a blazing fire burning in the fireplace at the condo and I began to welcome God into my day my thoughts began to be directed to imperfections, regrets, pain & God having a greater plan for our lives.

Never in life have I felt so closely knitted or one with my Creator. He continues to be faithful, He forgives imperfections & through His awesome healing of past hurts and a banged up life which got off course for a few years He has taken those things that almost destroyed me & helped others. They are not in vain.

The condos where I'm staying in the mountains are where Shanna & I had our last family vacation with our children. I believe there is a reason these were where I was directed to stay as I kept trying to book another location online & kept being sent here. You can imagine my thoughts have been everywhere thinking of the good times we had that year & how in the years that followed when my life got off track, I missed so much time with her and my children, searching for something I already had, something that was already there. Truing to fill the void in my life with so many things that only God could fill. God had not moved --- I had. He had not given up on me, I had given up on Him & began to run from anything to do with Him.

God brought more healing to past hurts this morning in my life. I found that after much prayer & asking for His divine healing for hurts from the past, I grew a little closer to being one with God, a little further along in forgiving myself as God has forgiven me. One of the biggest hurts I've had to overcome is not necessarily what others did to me; but the pain I caused others, which ultimately caused pain in my own life. I'm grateful God's given & continues to give me the opportunity to right the wrongs of my past as He opens the doors.

I'm grateful God is the God of second, third and fourth chances. I'll never be perfect as Him; but I am guaranteed to be a little better each day as long as I do a few simple things to take care of myself & I follow His lead---I continue to see Him in every aspect of my life. As I do this I sense the greater purpose of my life unfolding each day & anxiously await what He's gonna being forth each day.

Today, you may have past hurts inflicted by others or that you've inflicted. God loves you in spite of your shortcomings & is ready, willing & able to bring healing to your life, if you'll let Him & take you into the greater things He has in store for you. Today, don't let your past be a liability, instead let God take it and make it one of your greatest assets motivating you to become more each day who He would have you be.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let God transform your thinking, your attitudes, and outlooks on life.

"Let God transform you by the renewing of your mind and by changing the way you think."

Many of us can probably relate to times in which our thinking was not on a "higher plain".  Things happen in life, something didn't go the way we expected, we get twisted, and hours are squandered playing a tape over and over in our heads, thinking of the "if only's", and "what could I have done different's", "how could they", etc.  Often shocked by other actions, words, or deeds, yet knowing in the end we are powerless over other people.

I'm grateful today that God has brought about a change of thinking in my life.  I no longer have to squander hours in my head over people, places, or things, knowing God is leading guiding and directing my life---He is in control.  One of my favorite readings is "our attitude and outlook on life will change."  I'm grateful mine has.

If you find yourself in a negative mindset, let God re-direct your thinking.  Focus on how much you have to be grateful for and thank Him for the times He's seen you through, his goodness, grace, mercy and faithfulness.  Today, I'll let God direct my thinking where it needs to be and enjoy a renewed mind, a new way of thinking and living life to the fullest knowing He is in control and Has good things and greater purpose today, and in the days ahead, for my life.    

Friday, January 18, 2013

How are you using your mouth peace?

"Let Him who wants to enjoy life and see good days, keep his tongue free from evil."

Have you ever been in conversation with someone and every single word that comes out of their mouth is negative or has a negative overtone?  Maybe you've endured conversation that went from one topic to another, and the more you listened, the worse you felt as more and more negativity spewed from the other person's mouth.  I'm grateful that God has brought change in my life so that I'm not that guy anymore.

Words are powerful.  The words we speak often reveal our thoughts, desires, and the state of our heart.  How many times have I witnessed people get discouraged simply because someone spoke negative things to them or about them and maybe even assassinated their character just simply by spreading gossip and hear-say which were not based on truth; but, rather assumptions or hear-say.  So many times in life, people "think" they know the facts and often make assumptions without going to the source to actually get the truth and the facts of a situation.  In reality, somethings are just simply none of anyone's business; but, there will always be people in life who choose to try and make it their business.

How are you using your mouth peace?  Notice the term "mouth peace" includes the word peace.  Are the words you speak bringing about peace in your life and the lives of others?  Our words have the power to build up or tear down, to encourage or discourage.  Our words have the ability to spread gossip and hear say that may be potentially damaging to someone's character or life.  They have the power to execute our faith, to bring encouragement, to potentially turn situations around in our life simply by speaking positive words of truth and God's promises over a situation in our life, or the life of a friend or family member, ultimately bringing Hope.

Today, how are you using your "mouth peace"?  Does it involve peace?  Today, may the words I speak bear witness to my faith, exhibit who God is shaping me to be and my relationship with Him, build up and encourage those around me, and be used to turn situations around for the better.  Today, "may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to God" and make a positive difference in my life and the lives of others.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Letting go and letting God

"With men it may be impossible; but, with God, all things are possible."

Let go and Let God!  Most of us have heard this phrase from time to time.  Sounds pretty simple; but, I don't know of anyone who at some point in their life hasn't had a challenge of simply "letting go and letting God."  It may be fear of not liking the outcome of what He provides?  It may be wanting something so badly; yet, God knows (as do we) it's not His best for us.  It may be that we are needing provision in the midnight hour and afraid that God isn't going to come through.  It's can also be challenging to stay the course and wait on God's timing in lieu of our own.

"Before we let go and let God be our all in all, we usually have to find out the hard way that we cannot do it all on our own.  The hard way means we keep trying and failing over and over until we admit total dependence on God.  It can be a long and painful journey and some never reach the end of themselves; but, for those who do, it is the beginning of living with their heart, soul, mind and life at rest.  They know they can't do it all; but, they also know that God can.  They enjoy watching Him do what needs to be done as only He can and watching Him work often becomes one of their greatest pleasures in life."

Today, I'm reminded that God does for me what I cannot do for myself and with Him nothing is impossible.  I'm reminded of where my strength, guidance, and good orderly direction (GOD) comes from.  I'll work to make it easier on myself by stressing less and doing a better job of simply "letting go and letting God" knowing that when I do, I get the right answers, outcomes, guidance, provision, and spiritual growth in my life.  In trusting Him, especially in times when my faith is stretched, I'll also grow a little closer to Him in the process. Today, have you "Let go and Let God?  Today, what in your life do you need to let go of and let God have?  He's ready, waiting and willing to help!    

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Be of good cheer!

"I have told you these things, so that in Me (God) you may have perfect peace and confidence.  In the world you will have tribulation, trials, distress and frustration; but, BE OF GOOD CHEER for I have overcome the world."

Not feeling really cheerful somedays lately?  If nothing else, 3-4 days of dreary weather can cause us to feel blue.  It's a proven fact that the sun is a source of Vitamin D which boost our serotonin levels and can make us feel better; but all that aside, what about the real challenges, the real surprises, the unexpected changes and things that life brings our way?  Are you able to remain cheerful during these times, secure enough in your relationship with your Creator that you know He's got your best interest at heart and ultimately things/you are going to be OK?

God promises peace in the midst of the storms.  Sometimes it's hard to relate to having cheerfulness in times when you feel like your world is upside down; but, it is possible!  I have experienced it.  What's required to have peace in the midst of the storm?  For me it's been total and complete trust in God with full reliance on Him during times of not knowing the outcomes, how things are gonna work out, or what's ahead.  It's remembering His promises and all the times in the past He's been faithful to see me through.  It's remembering the times He's taken nothing and made something incredible out of it.  It's the times He's worked things out in a way that I could have never imagined.  If He's done it before, He can do it again!

"Remember, when difficulties arise, focus on the fact that in being secure in your relationship with God, you will have ultimate victory.  Don't let fear paralyze you; instead, put your faith and hope in Him.  Those things that seem meant for evil, destruction or that seem to be working against you may be the very things that God uses to promote you and turn things around for your good.  He can lead you out stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before."  Today, if you are facing uncertainties or unexpected challenges life's hit you with, be of good cheer knowing God is in control and that He may be up to something far better than you could have ever imagined when you see the outcome on the other side of what you are going through!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What greater gift?

"See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called Children of God?"

Love.  When you hear this word that do you think of?  Do you think of an elderly couple who've celebrated many years of marriage together?  Do you think of loving your neighbor as yourself?  Do you think of the love for your children (if you have them) or maybe your parents?  Maybe it's love for friends and family?  Google the the definition of love on the internet and you will find many definitions, many the same, many the different.  One I liked in researching the definition is --- Love:  A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive quality, or a sense of underlying oneness.

This morning in prayer and meditation, as I read and prayed, God really spoke to me about love.  How through His power and might He changed someone like me who had become a cold hearted, hated individual into someone who has kindness and compassion for his family, friends and fellowman.  One who has a heart for hurting people and rejoices in seeing people turn their lives around in finding their own way into a relationship with God.  One who can feel, breathe and sense the things in life so often taken for granted.  It's hard for me at times to fathom the person I had become, far from God, spiritually bankrupt, unrecognizable to friends and family, and the shell of a person I was a few years ago; but, a new found relationship with God (after hitting rock bottom and running for so long) changed all that and I'm eternally grateful for God's love that drew me in.  I'm grateful for His grace and outstretched arms that called me into His presence as if to say "come to me my child weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest for I have a future, a hope and great plans for you're life."  

I have by no means perfected love; but what greater, gift and example of love could there be than the Father, our Creator's love for us?  What greater honor than to be called children of God?  To know and have the security and assurance that He cares enough about the details of our lives to take care of them if we follow His lead and stay in tune with His will for our lives.  How great to think that He has great purpose, future, and divine purpose for us.

Today, can you love?  Are you running from something, someone or some kind of pain in your past that causes you to keep up walls and boundaries not letting anyone into your life because you are afraid of being hurt---afraid of being loved?  Are you able to love others without a price tag, expectations, and exactly where they are or do you have a checklist, criteria, or agenda to be met prior to extending love to someone?  Do they have to look a certain way, act a certain way, have certain interest, be wealthy, give your certain things or shower you with gifts, etc.?

"Love must be learned, and learned again, there is no end to it.  Hate needs no instructions; but, only waits to be provoked.  Love is a gift that must be given freely, there is nothing we can do to control someone else's choice to love us or not.  All we can do is our part by learning each day to love as best we can.  It can be frightening to trust another person enough to take risks and let go of the outcome; but, LOVE IS A RISK THAT'S WORTH IT!"

Today, I will work to love others after the example of God's love for me, for us, for His children.  I may not be able to perfect it; but, I will do my best to love others no matter where they are and leave the outcomes and ends results to God.  That means that in loving I will also forgive as God has forgiven me.  "I am learning that I don't need to be perfect to be accepted and loved by others and that I don't need to expect perfection from others to love and accept them."  I am learning that when I follow the example of the Father's love for His children, as I work to love others, I can't go wrong!  Thanks God!

Monday, January 14, 2013

God looks at the heart!

God Promises:

  • I will always be personal and will always be with you.
  • Others look at the outside and I will always look at your heart.
Today, as I realize God is with me and see's my heart, may I be sensitive to the things that need to be changed in my life.  May I be grateful for His grace.  Grace that allows me to have a relationship with Him.  Confidence in knowing He loves me in spite of my imperfections and His ongoing guidance that continues to shape and mold me into who He'd have me be.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

" I will be here. "

God promises:
-To never leave us or forsake us
-To walk beside us

If God isn't walking beside me it's not because He's gone anywhere, moved, changed course, or disappeared---it's on me!

Today, I'll work to walk hand in hand and beside my Creator & not let anyone or anything get me off course or cause me to take a spiritual hit that would distance me from Him, His presence & the greater things & purpose He has in store for my life!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

"People hold on to pain and suffering because it's familiar to them."

"I can't help it."

How many times have you heard this term used; or maybe you've even used it yourself.  God gives us the ability to be able to "help it'.  No on our on power; but, by the might and power that comes in a relationship grounded in Him.  "I can't help it" is nothing more than an excuse.

I was reading about a famous person who was sexually abused from childhood by her father.  While many of us can't fathom this type of thing happening, it happens more often than we'd like to think.  When she reached 18, she moved out and ran from the abuse, thinking it was the answer; but the issue was she never dealt with the abuse and for years acted in bad behavior, using "I can't help it" as an excuse.  We've heard that "hurting people, hurt others."  We'll that's exactly what she was doing.  She blamed bad behavior and all the pain she inflicted on others, on the abuse from her past, using it as an excuse.  The pain and suffering were familiar to her so she stayed in it, and in a victim mentality until one day she became miserable, dealt with what had happened to her, and let God set her free from the victim mentality and the bad behavior she had been living in---taking out her on pain on everyone else.

You may have had bad things happen to you in life.  I have.  You may have a past that you're not real proud of.  I do; but, I don't live there anymore.  Thank God when those things are surrendered to Him, and we truly deal with them, we don't have to live in a victim mentality anymore, constantly saying "I can't help it".  "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."  You don't have to let bad, unfair or undeserved circumstances hold you back from being all God would have you be, and from experiencing the life of fullness He has in store for you.

"People hold on to and stay in pain and suffering because it's familiar to them."  It's not necessary.  Today, let God take your past and make it one of your greatest assets.  Today, the lady mentioned above has a thriving ministry and helps millions of people in various ways.  She has allowed God to set her free from the pain of her past and use it to help others overcome.

What are you holding on today?  What are you running from?  Are you finding yourself saying "I can't help it."  We'll you can---maybe not on your own power alone; but, with the power available to you through a solid relationship with your Creator.

God can take your "I can't help it's" and turn them into "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."  Let God take what could of destroyed you from your past, and make it one of your best assets.  Let Him move you from a victim to a victor mentality and begin to experience the freedom and fullness that awaits as He takes you to places you never thought possible and sets you free from the pain of your past!

Today, God is able, the question is, will you let Him and His ability set you free or will you continue to live in the bondage of your past and in a victim mentality?  Will you continue to use the "I can't help it" excuse?  I'm grateful today that God makes beauty for ashes and can take what was meant to destroy us and make it one of our strong points, one of the things that presses us and motivates us to be better each day and may even allow us to help others who have had similar experiences.  Today, let God take your " I can't help it's" and turn them into " I can do all things through Him who gives me strength! "  Today, I can help it, and it's by His power that I can !  Thx God!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What's holding you back?

God promises that He has good plans for us. Good not evil.

Are you seeing those promises come true in your life? If not, what's holding you back?

Deep within each & everyone of us we have the ability to be guided by our Creator. We know if the way we are conducting ourselves and the things we are involved in are in line with where He is leading us to the greater places He has in store or if its holding us back.

Asking God to turn His head while we involve in certain behavior or continuing behavior in which we know better is like saying to God "I got this, I don't need your help, I'll call you when I need you." I don't think that's the kind of relationship He wants to have with us!

Today, as I take my own personal inventory, I'll look to see if there are areas of my life, things I'm involved in or ways in which I'm conducting myself that aren't pleasing to God & in-line with His best for me. Today I will work to align my will to God's asking for His power to carry out the knowledge of His will for my life! In doing so, I'll reap the full range of benefits that come in doing things God's way and not my own.

Today, God may I carry out your will not mine today & reap the benefits of aligning my will to yours. Thanks God!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

God. Part-time or Full-Time?

In this world in which we live, bad things happen and often to good people.  Is God to blame?  No?  Does he often get blamed?  Yes.  Trials and sorrows are part of life.  God is bigger and more powerful than any challenges we face.

In knowing trials and sorrow are a normal part of life, just as rejoicing in good times and celebration, I'm reminded today of my need for God in ALL times, not just when the 911 calls are necessary.  He has the final word & works things out beyond my comprehension, providing the sustaining power to get through the ALL times.  He has my back, my needs, cares, and concerns held in the palm of His hands as He does for all of His children.  He is powerful and sovereign over ALL my life---the good times and through the challenges life may bring.  May I ALWAYS look to Him whatever the case may be, knowing He and only He can sustain me through ALL the times life brings.  Today, I'm grateful that God is full-time and always on time in my life!  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Freedom from the opinions of others

Opinions---everyone has one.  One of the greatest freedoms in life is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you.  Not from a spirit of arrogance; but from a security in your relationship with God and who He's molding you to be more each day.  This is often referred to as an aspect of emotional sobriety.  "It's not my place to worry about what others think of me." Being comfortable in your own skin is a gift that many search for their whole life and never find because they are looking in all the wrong places and trying in self-will to make this happen on their own.  When God fills the void in your life that only He can, you will find this happens over time.  You're no longer looking for a people fix, worried so much about the perfect appearance, driving the best car, owning the best house, having the most prestigious job or title, what others think or building an entourage of folks around you to make you feel or look better trying to be in the supposed "in crowd".  You lose the feeling of needing to constantly be in a romantic relationship or having someone on your arm and are willing to wait on God to send the right ideal person for you.  You no longer use people as objects to make yourself feel better; but, realize they are people too, with feelings, a heart, emotions, and a soul.  You're no longer consumed with the whole "seen and be seen" insanity.  You are secure and confident in who you are and in your own skin which God makes possible.  

Follow your heart and God's guidance from within. Don’t accept the safe and easy choices afraid of what others will think. Stand up for yourself in a Godly way and know in doing the next right things, even if it's hard, you'll be re-warded for God is watching.  God didn't design you to be anyone's doormat.  

Don’t let small minds convince you that your God given dreams are too big, that you're a failure or that you're not good enough. For every person who doesn't affirm you whether it's their own choice, a decision based on hear-say or formed opinion from gossip or character assassination by others without one really getting to know who you are, God will send people who will affirm you and you'll too find yourself surrounded with the right people in your life that build you up, not tear you down, that aren't afraid to tell you the truth in love, that love you in spite of your difficulties and shortcomings and are always there, regardless.  You too may find that "you will be loved by many, hated by a few and liked by a lot" and with God being in control of your life, that's perfectly OK!

Today, let God set you free from the bondage of the opinions of others.  Let Him fill the void in your life and make you comfortable in your own skin.  Enjoy the wonderful gift of walking in a spirit of freedom like never before as He continues to mold you into who He'd have you be and places the right people around you at the right time and place for His greater purpose.  

Thanks God!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Are your thoughts on a higher plain or is your mind a battlefield?

"Our thought life will be placed on a much higher plain when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives."

Thoughts---most words and actions begin with a simple thought.  If you are like me, sometimes the mind can go 100 miles an hour, one thought to another, even on awakening, if I'm not careful to invite God quickly into my day, my mind can begin racing into a million directions from one thought to another---thoughts about the day ahead, reflecting on things that happened yesterday or thinking about things in the future.

Thankfully through a lot of good mentorship, spiritual guidance, spiritual growth and maturity in my own life, I've learned the importance of inviting God into my day early, on awakening and asking Him to direct my thinking early on.  I start the day and end the day with Him.  In reality, could there be a better way to live?  When I ask God to direct my thinking, my thoughts clear, I can focus on the tasks at hand, the confusion and battles that often can go on in the mind are calmed, and instead of my mind being a battlefield, my mind is a free and open to God inspired thoughts and thinking.

Where are you thoughts today?  Are you squandering hours in your head over something that happened yesterday, a few weeks ago, something facing you in the future, something fancied in which you don't have all the details so you don't know for sure if the facts you think are the facts are real?  Have you given those things to God, let Him clear your mind and made room for Him to direct your thinking?

Today, I'll be conscious of what's going on in my mind---my thoughts.  I'll let God direct my thinking, casting off the thoughts that hinder, for we all know that thoughts produce actions, words and deeds---good or bad.  Today, I want the fruits of my labor and the principals I practice in all my affairs to be worthy of being called a child of God, not an embarrassment to Him, my family or friends.  Today, I'll ask God to direct my thinking and mean it.  Instead of my mind being a battlefield, it will be a place ordained with room for God to lead my thoughts so that my actions, words and deeds align to who He would have me be and how He would have me conduct myself today.  

Today, instead of letting your mind be a battlefield and letting something or someone "rent space in your head", let the battle or battlefield belong to God, and let Him truly place your thoughts on a higher plain so that you to can think, act, and be who He would have you be!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yes, with God's help, you can avoid temptation!

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face.  Remember God WILL never let you down; He'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you come through it, making a way of escape."

Temptations.  We all face them.  Maybe it's going to the mall knowing we don't need to spend money.  Maybe it's an addiction---drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, and being around negative influences or certain places when you weak and aren't spiritually fit puts you in harms way?  Maybe it's pornography and the temptation to succumb to lust and lustful desires of the flesh, ultimately treating people as objects instead of children of God like yourself?  Maybe God has been dealing with you deep within to clean up your language, as He works with you to clean up your character.  Maybe it's anger, and God is working with you on being more patient with those who really tick you off.

We all face temptations; but, does that mean we have to succumb to them?  The good news is NO!  "In your own strength and by your own ability, you can't always avoid temptation; but, when you lean on God's strength and trust Him and His promises, there's no temptation that you can't overcome."

There are 5 things that I've read which are very true and can make all the difference in overcoming temptation:

1.  Be wise.  Think about the choices your about to make and the consequences before you make them.  Wisdom looks ahead and also learns from the past.  Don't find yourself insanely doing the same things over and over expecting different results.  

2.  Believe that with God's help you can resist temptation.  Don't let condemnation, guilt and shame build momentum and make you feel like your sinking and can't get through what's facing you.  God's right there with you.

3.  Think of facing temptation as part of normal life.  If your on guard, expecting temptation to come at some point, then you'll have those "ah ha" moments, realizing what's happening when your caught in the middle of it and be able to adjust, adapt, and rely on God for strength to endure and make the right choices and do the next right things.

4.  Avoid areas of weakness.  Don't put yourself in situations where you can easily fail i.e. if you struggle with managing your money, don't go to the mall.  If you struggle with an alcohol addiction and feel the urge to drink, don't go to the bar.  If your feeling lustful, don't flip the laptop over to Google and start surfing porn, or pick-up the phone and call the "shure thing" object of a person you use to change how you feel.

5.  Don't give yourself too much credit.  We don't graduate.  It's easy to think you've matured enough spiritually that you're beyond stumbling.  An "I got this" mentality causes more people to fail and is one of the biggest tripping points than anything and when that mentality develops you make yourself an easy target.

God wants to bring victory to every area of your life and He can't do it if you are constantly giving in to every temptation that comes your way and placing yourself in harms way.  Yes, we all fall short and sometimes make mistakes---we're human; but, there comes a point in our lives, we simply know better and our arguments for succumbing to temptation are nothing more than mere excuses.  We have learned in building our spiritual relationship with God where our strength comes from and at that point, giving into to temptations at times becomes a choice, not a mistake, an accident or just an "I couldn't help myself".

Today, if or when tempted, trust God to see you through.  Don't put yourself in harms way. Lean into Him for strength to endure and be an over comer and continue moving forward into the greater person and purpose He has for your life.   He has promised to always make a way of escape when we are tempted.  Today, we have a choice and the choice for not taking the exit door away from the temptation is on us!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Enjoy where you are on the way to where you're going.

Be content and satisfied to the point that you are not disturbed by whatever state you're in.  Don't let yourself to get upset with where you are at the moment.  Look forward to where, with God's help, you're going knowing He has greater plans and greater things in store for your life, as you follow His will, His ways, and His guidance from within for your life.  

Turning my will and life over to God, YES, was a commitment and a decision at one point in my journey; but, it didn't end there, it's one I must renew and live in active consciousness of each day.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the day to day dun-drum of life and the same old seeming routine.  Sometimes things catch us off guard, hitting us blindsided.  People can be extremely difficult to deal with and down right nasty at times.  If we are in default mode, versus centered spiritually with our Creator directing our thoughts, actions and deeds, old behaviors, attitudes, and actions can crop up when we encounter these situations---then we get to pay for it!

Does it seem you can't catch a break while others dreams are unfolding and their lives improving with things seemingly always working out for them?  "Oh well that's just how things always go for them..." (I've had that spoken to me before).  Is there a reason that's happening?  Do you need to take a deeper look and inventory how well you are following God's will and ways for you life.  Could there be something you know you are doing that's blocking you from the sunlight of His spirit and His best for your life?  In reality, don't things always work out?  Seriously, do they not always, somehow, someway, work out?  Maybe not the way you wanted, or hoped; but, they do work out?  Could it be that God has a better way, plan, a better companion, a better job, a better answer overall and may have spared you from pain and difficulty down the road by saying "NO" and not granting the answer to that prayer, or giving you what you wanted at the time allowing things to work our the way you hoped?  Could it be ultimately for God had your back and it was for your good?        

Today, Let God help you learn to enjoy life where you are while you're on the way to where you're going.  If God's placed a dream in your heart and it seems far out of reach and you can't in your own human mind comprehend how it could ever come to pass, remember with God, ALL things are possible!  God will help you live the dream and vision He's given you, step-by-step, one day at a time, if you don't give up hope, lose heart, faith and continue trusting Him to see you through.  Don't let the challenges of life, criticism or difficultly dealing with others wear you down or cause you to grow weary, quit or give up.  God has a great plan for your life, even if you don't see the whole plan.  Today, believe it!  Let Him help you conceive it!  Let Him help you find your way to those dreams He's placed within coming true.  Let Him take you to the greater places He has in store.  In trusting Him and following His will and His ways you'll begin to see the greater purpose He has in store for your life unfold and the greater things He desires for you coming to pass.  It may not happen overnight; but, in-time---His time---it will happen!  

Today, with God's help, enjoy where you are, on the journey to where you're going!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Year in the Rear-View

Where I ended is not where I began!  Thx God!

As I look back over 2012, there have been many celebrations, yet there have been sorrows.  There have been times of rejoicing, yet times of tears.  God has brought new people into my life that have helped me grow, and has increased my territory.  Circles of friends have changed, changed, and yet changed again; but there are constant friendships that have remained in tact, faithfully providing friendship to walk beside me through the challenges of life and the celebrations, loving me where I am regardless of where it may be.  

2012 started with a blown head gasket in a car that was paid for which led me to sell the car in need of repair and the door opened for me on the same day I sold the defective car to buy a used Lexus in good condition that I could pay for and not have a car payment.  God took a car with a blown head gasket and provided me a used luxury vehicle that I could afford, pay for and provide the dependability that I needed to travel to see my children and family, and a have a dependable way to work.

Later in the year, my step-father took ill.  What seemed to be mini-strokes turned into the diagnosis of cancer in the brain, lung, etc.  For a minute I wanted to say God can I just catch a break here.  My step-father's spirits where good; but, regardless of the outcome he proclaimed He was ready to meet His Creator.  After multiple radiation and chemo treatments, we lost my step father a brief 8-weeks later.  His quote through the whole ordeal (which I will never forget), "Life is difficult.  God is merciful!  Heaven is sure!"  He passed peacefully; but, His loss is still new and fresh to my family and He is missed dearly; but, He no longer suffers.  God has sustained my mother, and our family through this time, to give us the strength needed to get through the dark days, and move forward as best we can.

There was a car accident in June in which I was not a fault.  It ended up being more traumatic that initially thought.  It was unclear if the girl at fault's insurance was going to pay for damages; but after much waiting, the insurance company took sole responsibility and settled the damages without question.  God took care of the details and met my needs.

Shortly following the car accident was a 6-week notice to be moved from my home as the complex in which I was living was being torn down for the Mt. Brook Village renovation.  When the notice came, I began to pray and look for a new home.  I kept feeling deep in my gut that I was to end up living in loft, and after much exploration of various properties, nothing felt right.  One day I walked into work and our intern said call this loft property, my uncle lives there and I think you'll love it and be able to afford it.  The door opened and three weeks later, I was moving in - one week sooner that my notice to move would have expired.  What a blessing from God it has been!

During and among all the challenges, there have been blessings.  J, a bundle of joy, entered our lives in the summer after Chelsey and Nick (my daughter and son-in-law) became certified foster parents.  The first meeting with him went well and everything just began to fall into place.  In August, they were awarded primary custody of him approximately one year to the date of the tragic loss of my former wife and my children's mom---Shanna.  He has been a God send and immediately taken to our family as if He's always been with us.  He will soon be an adopted member of our family.  He has brought much joy, celebration, and good times to our lives.  And yes, He loves "Papa D".

See during all the times I was being pressed on every side with big things facing me, I never lost hope or faith that God would see me through---that He would take care of the details of the car accident, He would provide a new home, and He would comfort my step-dad and our family, regardless of the outcome, that He would take care of the details of Chelsey and Nick's adoption of J.  I've kept the faith, it's not always been easy; but it's been possible as I've been taught the importance of taking care of myself spiritually each day.  Yes, there were many times I felt like dropping and then I would press a little harder into God drawing strength from Him to see me and my family through the things that faced us and He has continued to prove Himself faithful and a strong arm!

As I woke New Years Eve early while Chelsey was bedded down in the guest bedroom at the loft, and little J was tucked in my bed snoozing away, I had some brief time to reflect on 2012 and ask God into my day.  As I was staring down a flight of stairs and looking at random artwork in the stairwell, I immediately felt God's presence, and the thought that immediately came was "where I began in 2012 is definitely not where I ended!"  Thank you God!  

On your journey of life as you look in the rear-view mirror at 2012, getting off the exit ramp to 2013 with it staring you in the eye through the windshield ahead, is where you ended up, where you began in 2012?  Where do you wanna go in 2013 and are you willing to let God's greater purpose and plan unfold in your life?  Are you prepared to suit up, show up, and be who you need to be on the tough days just like the easy ones?  Are you willing to allow God to take you to the greater things He has in store for your life?

Through everything I've experienced during 2012 a few things I know for sure:

  • God doesn't allow more on me than I can bear.
  • He always makes a way of escape when I'm tempted to drift into old behaviors and ways.
  • He never leaves or forsakes me.
  • He can bring good out of bad.
  • The gray days may seem and feel like they will last forever; but, if I press through them keeping the faith, the sun will shine again and God's mercies will abound new.
  • When I have faith, not knowing the outcome and continue to trust God to get me to where I need to be and provide what I need, He does and in so many ways I couldn't have ever dreamed possible or penned on paper.    
  • People may disappoint, fail me, turn their backs on me, speak poorly of me; but, God knows and will never let me down.  He is the one constant in my life.  
  • My value, validation, worth, and confidence don't come from people or things external; but, from my relationship with my Creator.

Today, I enter 2013 with a new affirmation to God that I will trust Him regardless of what the year may bring.  I will continue to turn my will and life over to Him for His purpose and use.  I will not give up Hope that with God, all things are possible and there are always better and brighter days ahead with greater purpose for my life as long as I don't lose heart or faith.  Today, as I look at 2012 in the rear-view, I'm thankful that where I ended is not where I began.  I'm reminded of one of my favorite readings "the things which came to us when we placed ourselves in God's hands were far better than we could have planned."  That's sums up 2012 for me.  I enter 2013 with an awesome excitement of what God's gonna do in the year ahead not only in my own life; but in the lives of those around me---friends and family!

Thanks God for being faithful in 2012.  I know you will continue to prove your faithfulness in 2013 and I'm excited with anticipation of what your gonna do in the year ahead and where your going to take me!