Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- 6 Characteristics of Strong Families

Think about the last time you remember facing a situation that threatened your life– what were you last thoughts? Were you fearful for your job– bank accounts– status– or dirty dishes in the sink?

Probably not! Aside from our relationship with Jesus the next important thing in our life is family. Our family is our most important responsibility, achievement, and legacy. What we teach our children daily– through our words and actions– is crucial. The quality of family is important to our happiness, emotional well-being, and mental health.

Happy strong families have these 6 characteristics in common.

Commitment

The warm fuzzy feeling and loving environment in a home comes from commitment. It offers a shelter for family members against the destructive feelings of fear, anxiety, and loneliness.

Ephesians 5:25-28 NKJV

The heart of the commitment to a family unit is the dedication to the marriage relationship. God sees the commitment so important that He strongly condemns any violation of that marital relationship. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

Commitment means to be there and never abandon each other– doing whatever it takes to love one another as we should.

Appreciation

Expressing appreciation and affection strengthen relationships and build strong families. God has made it known that He wants to be appreciated. One example in the Bible tells of Jesus hearing the pleas of ten lepers who cried out for healing– and He healed all ten. However, only one of them came to say thank you. Jesus was pleased with the one that came back to give Him thanks and glory– He was displeased by the nine who did not.
(Luke 17:11-19)

Members in strong families express appreciation for even the small things. Showing gratitude– pointing out the good qualities in one another– encouraging each other– and sharing humor and affection.

Communication

Every person needs to know they are part of a whole. No one wants to feel alone. Elijah was becoming in low spirits when he was the only one standing up for God. Feeling alone carries its own mixture of feelings of fear and hopelessness. God assured Elijah that he was not alone.

Healthy communication is key in the process of having the sense of belonging– it helps us to feel connected to one another by exchanging information. Healthy communication also helps us with problem solving and conflict resolution in constructive ways.

Quality Time

Typically our best memories are from simple quality time spent with our family and friends– time that did not require a bunch of money or some form of elaborate plans.

Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes that the energy, time, and talents that we extend to things that are not of God’s will is a waste of time. Members of strong families spend a lot of time together playing, talking, laughing, having fun, and just hanging out. We need large quantities of good and healthy quality time together for families to flourish.

Our time is in high demand, which is what makes the quality time together such a precious gift.

Coping with Stress and Crises

People who are part of strong families are not exempt from stress or crises– they face the same daily challenges and frustrations as everyone else. The difference is that those in strong families call upon their commitment to one another and their communication abilities to resolve the issue. They manage to find good in the situation regardless if the only good they see is having each other. They rely heavily on their faith in God through times of difficulty.

Spiritual Well-Being

The importance of having a spiritual center in God cannot be stressed enough. Strong families rely upon the power above and beyond themselves– it is the glue that keeps them strong and holds them together. Jesus talks about how important it is to have a foundation in Christ.

Matthew 7:24-15

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Spiritual foundations give meaning and purpose to our lives– giving us freedom from fear, guilt, anxiety, and low self-esteem– as well as giving us hope, encouragement, and a confident outlook on life.

Spiritual foundations are the basis of all the guidelines we follow for daily living. Honesty, forgiveness, patience, kindness, and helping others. Families that have strong spiritual well-being know that God is there watching, guiding, and helping them every step of the way. They know they can turn to God at any time for help. (James 1:5)

When people believe in these basic truths and abide in God’s Word– they know their life has direction and with God’s help, they can know what is right and wrong. They have found value in putting God’s Word into practice.

James 1:22 tells us that we are called to ‘be doers of the Word, and not only hearers’

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for this message. Open our hearts and minds to hear your Word and your direction. Thank you for giving us the tools to build strong foundations that no storm can destroy. Forgive me for not seeking Your word and direction in my life and for my family from the beginning. Restore the relationships that have been affected by my lack of faith and willingness to stand upon your truth. Help me to grow in the six characteristics for strong families. God, we need your guidance and direction to know how to guide our children in the right direction– passing along Your foundational truths to building strong families. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home

Daily Devo- Exchange Your Human Strength for Divine Strength

As believers in Christ we are not to be trying to muster up our own strength to do the work of God, just as we aren’t to try to control our life or circumstances.

We are called to rely on God- to call upon Him in our time of need.

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

Sometimes life gets to us and we just don’t feel like completing another task– like our devotional time. These feelings are normal- we should confess to God and tell Him we do not feel like doing anything else for the day and ask Him to renew your strength and help you to have quality quiet time with Him.

The key is to take it to God. To call upon God in every area of your life. Surrender your life to Him and He will sustain you and help you through.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank You Lord for Your promise of renewed strength. Help me to remember the scripture in Isaiah 40:31 in times of exhaustion throughout life. Lord, I confess and I am sorry that many times I try to do things in my own strength, power, and will. Lord, forgive me. I pray for discernment when making my schedule and ask that You help me to be strong in my spiritual discipline. God, I will do my best to come to You first in all things- I surrender my control to You in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Life, Family, Encouragement

Not Falling Apart-Falling into Place

During one of the most trying times in my life to date- I felt as if my world was falling apart. Each day came with a new surprise that would bring more pieces crumbling down around me.

It seemed as if no matter how hard I tried, I prayed, I cried, and begged God to help me- nothing ever changed. I literally felt as if I was losing my mind, my body, my family, and my life in general.

I studied the Bible, sought after God’s direction, and desperately wanted change. However, it seemed as if the more I fought to overcome- the more that seemed to be going “wrong”.
I held on to my faith knowing that God’s word tells us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have tribulation but to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.

My problems were big but I knew my God was bigger. I couldn’t help but to feel hurt, forgotten, ignored, and many other emotions as things continued to not work out the way I wanted them to.

I was also aware that God’s plan is what will prevail but as many of us do, I seemed to have “forgotten” this little- yet VERY important piece.

A very dear friend of mine, a co-worker at the time, told me to listen to the song Just Be Held by Casting Crowns. It was an emotional day so I immediately took my break and listened to the song.

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! This song was PERFECT! I broke down in tears and balled like a baby. This was just what I needed to remind me of who is in control, the one I have in my corner fighting for me (even when we don’t see it or feel it).

If you haven’t heard the song you need to… “Your world is not falling apart-it’s falling into place! Just be held..”

God spoke to me through this song in such a powerful way. Reminding me that I am like an infant child to Him. He holds me, protects me, wipes my tears, and carries me through the storm. EVERY SINGLE TIME- NO MATTER WHAT! All I have to do is reach up my arms and ask Him to help me, hold me, protect me, and get me through this trying time.

God doesn’t want us to worry, stress, and feel overwhelmed by the things happening in the world today or in our personal lives. God only wants us to TRUST IN HIM and LOVE HIM with our whole heart, mind, and soul.(John 10:27)

Sometimes when life gets us down and we feel as if we are being kicked repeatedly by the enemy- we need to change our perspective. God works all things for the good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28)

So remember the next time it feels like your world is falling apart…ITS FALLING INTO PLACE. Find peace in knowing it’s in God’s time and He will ALWAYS carry you through if you ask Him.

Home, Motivational Monday

Rise Up – Don’t Give Up

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Hope in His Mercy

A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a feeling of trust is the definition of hope.

Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm is how mercy is defined.

The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil this is the meaning of redemption.

Now let’s take these three definitions and replace them in the scripture for the words used. This will give us a more clear understanding of what Psalm 130:7 is telling us.

O Israel, expect or desire a certain thing to happen,have the feelings of trust in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone who it is within His power to punish,
And with Him is abundant action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.

The Bible is telling us in Psalm to expect or desire a certain thing to happen that we should trust in the Lord. That God is compassionate and forgiving towards us and that He will save us from sin, error, and evil– abundantly!

That alone should bring us peace and give us a great reason to put our hope in His mercy. God is patient with us and always by our side showing compassion and saving us from our sins and the errors in our ways. God knows we will make the wrong choices from time to time and find ourselves in a mess and He is already there waiting to save you– to rescue you from the evil.

We have to keep our hope in His mercy in order for us not to become defeated and choose to give up instead of pushing through. The Bible also tells us in Psalm to be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart as you keep your hope in Him.

Psalm 31:24
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

God wants us to come boldly to His throne– to ask Him for help in our times of trouble. (Heb. 4:16) Without God we can often get wrapped up in trying to solve our own problems in the ways of the world– only to leave us feeling hopeless. With God we can be of great courage, confident, peaceful, and full of hope in His promises and His mercy!

Prayer

Heavenly Father,
Lord I want to thank you for your mercy and redemption. My hope is in You alone Lord. I am thankful you have called us to come boldly to Your throne and I ask You today to fill me with Your Holy Spirit– let me be filled with Your hope and love. God, forgive me for trying to solve my problems in my own strength. Forgive me for allowing myself to feel hopeless in my efforts and not seeking Your guidance first. I pray that You will strengthen my heart as I hope in You, in Jesus mighty name I pray.
Amen

Blog, Daily Bible Verses

Daily Bible Verse- February 16, 2020

Psalm 18:39

For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

Blog, Daily Bible Verses

Daily Bible Verse- February 12, 2020

Psalm 18:28-29

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
29 For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.

Blog, Daily Bible Verses

Daily Bible Verse- February 4, 2020

Psalm 18:1

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.

Blog, Daily Bible Verses

Daily Bible Verse- January 22, 2020

Psalm 15

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things shall never be moved.

Bible Stories, Blog

The Battle of Jericho

This story is from Joshua chapter six in the Bible. I use the New King James Version– that is just my preference. Although the story is below I always encourage each person to look it up for themselves and read it directly from God’s word.

The Story

The town of Jericho was shut-up no one came in or went out. The Lord told Joshua that Jericho was to be his–that he would be king. God instructed Joshua how to take over the city of Jericho. He was very specific in His instruction.

God said ‘ You shall march around the city, all of your men of war; you shall go all around the city at once. He told them to do this for six days. He said that seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams horn and on the seventh day they shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow their trumpets. God then instructed Joshua that with the blast of the rams horns when they hear the sound of the trumpets all the men shall shout. God told Joshua that when he and his men did this the walls will fall flat and the city will be his.

So Joshua called the priests and told them what God had said to him. Then the seven priests, the armed men, and the guard followed Joshua. Joshua instructed his men not to shout or make noise until the day he instructed them to.

Each day for the next six days–Joshua and his men got up and marched around the city and rested back at camp, just as God had instructed him. On the seventh day–they marched around the city seven times– and on the seventh time blew the trumpets and the men all shouted. The walls of Jericho came down and the city was doom by the Lord’s destruction. The city and all who were in it were doomed–except for Rehab. Rehab was a harlot but she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy on Jericho. So when the walls fell and the city was doomed– Joshua spared Rehab and all those in her house– he saved them.

Joshua and his men went into the city and they burned the city and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord and Rehab and her relatives were spared.

Take a deeper look

The story of Jericho shows us a lot about God and how His will works.

Often times we pray and ask God for direction and to lead the way but then are not willing to follow Him when He calls. God uses ordinary, broken people to do His work through His power. We can’t expect to pray and ask God to help us and lead the way and not be willing to do whatever He asks of us.

It is like saying God– Here I am– Send Me!!

Then He calls and says– Ok, Go here or do this– And we CHOOSE not to listen.

You know– the okay God I want to follow you but not this one–not this time–pick someone else– use me somewhere else.

Why do we do this? Why ask Him if we do not intend to listen? I think a lot has to do with our unspoken expectations. When we pray we kind of think we already have the solution all figured out one way or another.

So when He calls us to do something outrageous much like He did with Joshua– we find reasons not to do it. Either because we don’t like what He is sending us to do, we have fear, or we are plain stubborn and make excuses as to why we can’t do it, shouldn’t do it, or even convince ourselves that it’s not God sending us.

God works in mysterious ways in order to build trust and reliance on Him and in Him as the almighty God– the one whom has it all figured out. He sees a far bigger picture then what we do.

Let this story be great encouragement for your to push forward and follow God no matter how crazy or how hard the path may seem. Remember if God is for you–who can be against you? The Lord will always protect you through what He has called you to do.

The story in Joshua is one of great strength, faith, and obedience to God. It shows God’s faithfulness to those who listen to Him and follow His lead. It shows He can and will use anyone– no matter what their past is.

God used Rehab to protect the messengers (spies) He sent–Yes, God used the Harlot Rehab in order to fulfill His will– He used her, He is using me, and He can use you too!

No one is too broken or too lost to fulfill their purpose in Christ– In fact, that is why each of us have been put here.

Chase God! Chase your dreams! Follow your heart!

Reflection

What do you think God is saying to you through the story in Joshua 6?

Can you think of a time God called you to do something– that seemed out of the ordinary? Did you do it? What happened?

Have you ever felt God is calling you to do something-but you feel unqualified?

If you said yes to the question above let me take a second to encourage you to follow God’s lead.. He doesn’t call the qualified- He qualifies the ones He calls.

Write down one dream you have– Give it to God– Seek His direction to achieve your goals and more so– Your Purpose in Him.