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Devotional- Be a part of making someone’s day

We all know that the world is full of people who hold on to hatred, act of violence, and speak with bitterness. Regardless of where you work, what city you live in, or the places you go in your free time, I can guarantee you have seen someone having a rough day.

I have had plenty of rough days myself, you know the days you wake up late– forgot your clothes in the dryer– spilled your coffee in the car on the way to work– and just can’t seem to catch a break– all before 8 o’clock in the morning.

A few years back I use to work full time with the public. If you have ever worked in customer service (at any level), you know that not everyone you come in contact with is pleasant.

There were days I would come in to work barely making it on time, having one of those rough days, only to be met by my first client who was NOT happy to say the least.

I often wondered how someone could be in such a fowl mood so early in the morning.

So, here it is 8:15 AM I have had a terrible morning, sit down with my first interview and before I can speak a word I am being cursed out. The famous ‘You people..’ (referring to the workers) comments were mind blowing. My intelligence questioned and my patience tested.

I did my very best to remain calm and help in any way I could. Many left feeling much better than they came in; however, some you just couldn’t please.

On the contrary, I have also had terrible morning’s only to arrive at work to a client who is happy, grateful, and willing to share a smile.

These days meant so much to me, it literally could take a bad day and turned it around in an instant.

The Bible instructs us to let go of bitterness, anger, evil, and anything of bad intentions. We are to treat each other with kindness. soft hearts, and quick to forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

God calls us to share His love and spread His joy, even to those who are not so kind to you. Gods greatest commandment is to love one another. (John 13:34-35) He also instructs us to bless those who curse us. (Luke 6:28) We are not to repay evil with evil. (1 Peter 3:9)

Reflection

Having read the scriptures above what is God speaking to you?

What if anything do you think God is calling you to change in your life after having read Ephesians 4:31?

Call to Action

I challenge you today to make it a point to stay positive and set out each day to spread love to at least five people. Through a smile, a kind word, or a kind gesture; it costs nothing to be kind.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy, and love. God we are not always quick to listen and slow to anger, forgive us for responding to others in any way besides love and kindness. Lord I pray that each person that reads this will hear Your message; touch their hearts and move within them Father. I pray each of us would seek to know You more and set out each day to serve You and spread Your perfect love. Lord, thank you for Your many blessings and Your hedge of protection each day. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- Examine Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Our hearts are fragile and unfortunately pain is not something anyone can escape. At some point or another in your life, you will experience broken relationships. This is a direct effect from living in a broken world that is full of sin.

People who have been diagnosed with serious heart conditions need to change their unhealthy habits to help improve their overall heart health. Those that are diagnosed with ‘hardening or blockage or the arteries’ have recurring heart examinations with their doctors.

Just as a person with a heart problem diagnosed by a medical professional has to monitor their condition and identify any potential problematic areas, so should we on a spiritual level.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart that everything in life flows from it.

Think about that for a moment– EVERYTHING flows from it.

That means the good, the bad, the bitter, the joy, the pride and selfishness, and the love or hatred that comes out through our actions and words. To live a truly joyful and blessed life– we need to intentionally examine our hearts (with God’s help) to identify any areas in which we need to grow and change.

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;

Examine your heart and pray– ask God to show you the areas in which need attention. Ask Him for discernment with your actions and words, that He would expose to you when you are reacting out of the flesh and not according to His will.

Psalm 26:2 NIV Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

Take a look at these 8 potentially problematic areas in our hearts when examining our spiritual health

  1. Pride: Do I focus on how much I’ve been wronged? Do I have a problem admitting my faults?
  2. Faultfinding: Do I rehearse the faults of others in my life?
  3. Avoidance: Do I avoid being around people with whom I have conflict?
  4. Silence: Do I shut down and refuse to speak about my problems or feelings in a healthy way?
  5. Isolation: Do I withdraw from those around me emotionally?
  6. Unfaithfulness: Do I worry and fret of circumstances outside of my control?
  7. Hopelessness: Do I lack faith that God can and will work out my situation?
  8. Resentment/Bitterness: Do I hold on to my anger and hurt until it turns into resentment or bitterness towards the one who the conflict is with?

The heart examination only works if you are truthful with yourself and God about your feelings and results from ‘your exam’. Finding problematic areas in your heart does not mean you are a bad person or even that God is displeased with you. The condition of our heart and circumstances never surprise God– nor change His love for us.

True freedom and happiness in Christ comes when we acknowledge our problematic areas and seek to change them. Pulling each bad habit, thought, or opposition to God’s Word and will out by its roots and planting new healthy habits; creating new root systems based on His word.

Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Father for giving Your direction and help throughout every day of our lives. Lord, it is because of You and You alone that I am able to share Your love and truth with others. These words are not mine but Yours and I pray that all the glory be brought to Your kingdom. Lord I confess that I have not put much thought into my heart health on a spiritual level, forgive me God, for I only want to please You. Help me to search my heart Lord and expose to me problematic areas. Show me where I am lacking and help me to seek and understand Your truth and will. Lord, I pray You will guard my heart and give me discernment and peace, so that I will not hold on to hurt or anger and allow it to take root in my life. I pray for Your strength to help me to change from the inside out; owning my faults, and seeking to make each right according to Your will. In Jesus mighty name I pray
Amen

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Daily Devo- Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a a normal part of life. No one can escape the pain of broken relationships– it is part of living life in a broken, fallen world. Although pain may not be able to be avoided– becoming bitter over the pain caused can be.

The Bible presents to us the ‘freedom of forgiveness’. It also shows us that Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, gives each believer the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

Before we can reconcile any differences- we must first diagnose the condition of our own heart. Checking ourselves against the eight potentially problematic areas.

8 Areas to Examine in Our Heart

  1. Pride- Do I focus on how much I have been wronged?
  2. Faultfinding- Do I search and rehearse the faults of others?
  3. Avoidance- Do I avoid being around those I have conflict with?
  4. Silence- Do I shut down and refuse to share what I am feeling in a healthy way?
  5. Isolation- Do I withdraw emotionally?
  6. Unfaithfulness- Do I share unnecessary information about my opposer?
  7. Hopelessness- Do I lack faith that God can work in any situation?
  8. Resentment- Do I hold on to my anger until it turns into bitterness?

Hebrews 12:14-15

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled

The Bible tells us to pursue peace with all people.

How to reconcile

The process of mending relationships and reconciliation of conflict can occur when both parties are willing to listen and communicate without interrupting each other. Both need to show respect and acknowledge there are two sides to every story, two sets of feelings, two hearts that need healing, and two different perceptions of what happened.

6 Do’s of reconciliation

  1. See the situation
  2. Repeat back what you heard
  3. Use words that are encouraging
  4. Be open minded and respectful
  5. Accept you only have the power to change yourself
  6. Be at peace

6 Don’ts of Reconciliation

  1. Don’t forget your opposer is also God’s creation
  2. Don’t hold on to resentment, bitterness, or hatred
  3. Don’t use ‘you’ statements. (You should…You made me…You always..etc)
  4. Don’t get drawn into useless arguing
  5. Don’t expect change immediately
  6. Don’t assume every situation can be reconciled

Apologize and Forgive

The healing of two wounded hearts can’t happen if both parties refuse to ask for forgiveness from the other. We must be careful not to further offend or complicate the situation when we are asking for forgiveness.

5 helpful tips when apologizing

  1. Don’t make excuses
  2. Don’t use the blame game or ‘you’ statements
  3. Accept full responsibility (My attitude was inexcusable)
  4. Accept full blame for your part in the situation (No one can make someone else sin- I acknowledge I sinned against you…)
  5. With a humble heart and attitude explain you have tried to see the situation from their point of view….)

All healing takes time– regardless of the type of wound– physical, mental, or emotional. A wound cannot heal if we don’t leave it alone. Forgiveness works in a similar manner– it can not do its’ job if we don’t give it time. God can use us to help the process by taking these practical steps:

  • Recognize that forgiving someone does not mean they are ‘off the hook’. It means you are no longer carrying the offense and have turned it over to God to handle. It transfers it from your hook to God’s hook.
  • Make the decision that you no longer want to bare the pain from the past.
  • Recognize the unmet needs of the one who hurt you and pray for them.
  • Make a list of each offense you are holding unforgiveness about and release each one to God.

Each person has to accept that there is a chance that the end result could be a negative outcome. Sometimes, the relationship just may not work out between two people. The responsibility cannot fall solely on one of them. Effective and freeing reconciliation comes when both parties handle the process in a Godly manner.

Romans 12:18

18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your forgiveness and guidance on reconciling our differences. We know that conflict is going to happen and we ask that you help us handle it in a Godly manner. Forgive me for not always seeking Your counsel before handling situations in the past. God I hand each offense I carry today over to you. Lord help expose to me my own heart and show me where I need improvement. Guide me in the process of reconciliation and help me to remember the do’s and don’ts. I pray that you would help me to live peaceably with all men and forgive just as you have forgiven me. It is in Jesus name I pray

Amen

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3 Mental Barriers preventing a relationship with Christ

In times like we are in today, when the world is turned upside down, as fear and panic are being pumped through the media due to the Covid-19 Pandemic- the nation and its people need to be running to God, not from Him.

I find myself in an awe of disbelief when reading comments and posts from local news stations. The amount of people that are belittling, mocking, and/or denying God and His almighty power is shocking to say the least.

This is a time to stick together, to rise stronger than ever before, to call upon our Savior for help, and to spread the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

Easter was this past Sunday and I don’t find it coincidental that at a time like this we are all having to “carry our own cross.” God is faithful, trustworthy, powerful, and He is the only hope we have to rise above and be saved from our own sinful nature.

It’s hard for me to read comments from others that are bashing and mocking God and His power, when I myself have seen God at work first hand in my life. This brought me to the question of why.

Why are people fighting His love, His power, and His ever present help when we are all in need of something?

The world may be full of uncertainty right now, but one thing remains certain and that is God’s plan. God has already won the battle- He already knows how all of this will end.

So what is holding us back from the relationship with God?

These 3 mental barriers likely have a lot to do with the “why” in your life.

1. Pride
Thinking I got this, I can figure this out, I don’t need anyone’s help

2. Fear
Thinking about what others will think of you, fear you will turn into a “Jesus freak”, fear God will not want a relationship with someone like you

3. Bitterness
Holding on to hurt from the past, growing your heart hard from all of life’s disappointments, and closing your mind and heart off from allowing anything new or positive in

Can you relate to any of the above mental barriers?

I know that even as a devout Christian and follower of Jesus, when I find myself having a “dark season” full of problems and uncertainty, I can usually take a look at my inner being and recent interactions or lack of with God and pinpoint exactly which of the three barriers above has me blocked from overcoming and moving forward.

I’m encouraging you today to do a soul search on yourself.

Do any or all of the above mental barriers exist within you? Are you avoiding a relationship with God because of one or more of these barriers?

Maybe these barriers exist within other relationships as well, not just your relationship with God.

It’s time to break the barriers!

Seek God’s word and His guidance- read the Bible, starting in the areas that you struggle with most and Pray, Pray, Pray!

God can and will redeem and restore you. It takes time and fervent prayer but God is faithful- He is a promise keeper!

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for all You do and all You are. Thank you for this message and for Your promises. Lord, I am a sinner and I need Your help, I can’t do this on my own. Lord save me from my sinful nature and wrap my in Your arms. I struggle with mental barriers of pride, fear, and bitterness. Lord, renew my mind, remove the fear, pride, and bitterness. God, show me if there are barriers I am not recognizing. Lead me and guide my paths. God, I need You, I want to run to You first, I want to feel Your love surround me. Lord, deliver me from the enemy and protect my mind, body, and soul. I pray for good health, restoration, and protection over myself, my family, and every nation effected by this pandemic. God we know you have the whole world in your hands and do not wish for any to perish but all to have everlasting life. I pray all the glory be given to You and Your kingdom in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen


Daily Bible Verses

D.B.V.- February 23, 2017

Ephesians 4:31- Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, will all malice.