Spring Cleaning: Time to Get Your House in Order

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” Matt 12:25

As we eagerly wait for Spring to arrive and leave the harsh, bitter Winter behind, our minds are focused on warmer weather, budding flowers and spending time outside. We welcome fresh renewal by purging the old items we no longer want, cleaning our homes and reorganizing our spaces.

The foundation of our living space should be a peaceful dwelling place. I usually refer to home as “My sanctuary.” It’s a place where you should be comfortable and it should provide an escape from the outside world.

Sadly enough, some people do not have a steady foundation. Their homes are built on disrespect, lack of trust, abuse or neglect. Instead of the home being a place of refuge, it’s a place of war consisting of conflicts, stress and strife.

When your spirit (also known as your “temple” or “house”) is out of order, it mirrors your personal space. The confusion often felt on the inside manifests itself in the physical realm.

When your space is clean, organized and quiet, you have the opportunity to think better and even have more peace. You will also have harmony,  balance in your home, and increase in productivity.

The same way we clean a house; we should clean our spirit daily. We need to give up:  Sin, temptation, lust, jealousy, gossip and bad language. We also need to let go of the past, purge negative thinking and release pain, guilt or shame. We should forgive others, accept what we cannot change and begin to move forward with faith and hope. If there’s anything that is blocking us from getting closer to the Lord, we need to relinquish and surrender to be set free. When we welcome Christ into the midst of our house, the atmosphere will change (internally and externally). “Thou will show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

Scripture References:

“All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit is good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.Matt 12:31-34

 “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, I will return into my house from which I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept and garnished. Then goes he and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” Matt 12: 43-45

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord; till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12-13

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit; and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12

“Therefore whosoever hears this sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house (spirit) upon a rock; And when the rain descended, and the floods came; and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. (The Word of God). And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell and great was the fall of it.” Matt 7: 24-27

Photo Credit: http://www.pbjstories.com

 

 

 

How to Trust God in Difficult Times

“Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord.”  Jeremiah 17:7

 As we entered into 2014, we also entered into one of the coldest weather conditions in U.S. history. Meteorologist explained this strange weather patterns as, “The Polar Vortex.”

It’s a very thought-provoking term, “Vortex” which is defined as a “Whirlwind” which includes a second definition meaning, “A condition that you can’t get out of.”

Have you ever been in a situation or circumstance that you just  don’t know how to escape? It’s like you’re wrapped in a spider’s  web of confusion, fear, despair, isolation, discouragement,  hopelessness, depression, frustration, pain or worry. You don’t  have the answers and the future looks bleak. You have tried to  consult friends, family possibly even professionals with no  resolve.

It’s very hard to trust the Lord when you’re life has flipped upside  down and turned inside out. It’s even harder if don’t know God,  his promises or His character. “That I may know Him, and the  power of his resurrection” Philippians 3:10

Your life may have exploded and you’re left to pick up the pieces. When facing challenges, it’s hard to focus on the positive or have an optimistic attitude. I’m not going to lie but it’s a struggle we all face. The only difference is those who have experienced the Lord and those who have not. People tend to believe in coincidences, luck or happenstance without acknowledging the spiritual forces at work in their lives. We are living in very dangerous times in which it will require the power of God to overcome problems, situations and circumstances.

lords-prayer You may not feel like God is listening to your prayers but God is working behind the scenes. You    may not understand why it is taking so long for your prayers to be answered but God is not under  our time table or calendar. He is working things out according to His will and plan for your life. You  were designed for a special purpose. The Lord wants a relationship with you not just sudden request  when things go wrong in your life. “And we know that all things work together for good to them  that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

The Lord allows certain things to happen in our lives to prepare us and shape us for His purpose. Of  course, not all of the things we experience is God’s will, but He will turn things around for our good.  We must develop faith and patience in prayer and our daily lives. “That you be not slothful, but f    followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. And so, after he had  patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Heb 6:12, 15

Back to the “Polar Vortex,” The snowstorms has caused major disasters, increased depression, stress, isolation, and unfortunately roadside deaths.

All activity was frozen for a period of time. People were either stuck in their homes or on the roads. Somehow, I feel God was slowing us down to do absolutely nothing so He could get our attention! We were stuck, isolated and frustrated! But, we still did  not pay attention. It was time to yield and cease all activity. However, we continued to go about our business and let the weather stress us out.

Once we release the stress of dealing with cold, miserable weather and other things that we can’t control, we will free ourselves of things that we simply can’t change. By coming to this acceptance, we enter into peace. In the process, seasons change and flowers bloom. It’s through this process, we gradually come through whatever storm we may be dealing with in life. Unfortunately, the whole process may be postponed, delayed or slowed down. Although it may be an inconvenience or uncomfortable situation, we will get through it and obtain victory in the end.

Three Beneficial Things to Do When Facing Difficult Times

1.    Elevate Your Thoughts

God wants us to align our thinking with His thoughts. The natural mind does not understand spiritual things. It is a constant battle to think on a higher plane because our world is so negative and evil. It’s so much easier to think negative which immediately drains our energy. That’s why we should always be aware of our thoughts, actions and our environments.

As soon as our thoughts begin to focus on fear, disbelief, doubt or any other toxic emotion, we need to consciously change our thought patterns. It is very challenging to switch your thoughts when so many problems are staring you in the face. The advantage is knowing the Gospel and being able to draw from God’s promises and mediate on His word which is life and substance to your soul. Once we elevate our minds, we raise our energy level and begin to feel much better. It is a spiritual war that manifests in a physical realm. Often times, we use physical components to fight our spiritual or mental battles such as sleeping pills, medication, drugs, alcohol or sex. We may even contemplate suicide as a means of escape.

2.    Take Care of Your Body

We must take care of our bodies including eating healthier and exercising  daily. Many people overlook the importance of a well-balanced diet.  However, diet plays a vital role in how we deal with stress and challenges in  our lives. When we eat healthy, we have a clear mind. Our bodies are able  to  fight off disease and illness and even stress better. You can also take  vitamins  to supplement your diet such as B- complex vitamins which  alleviates stress.  It’s best to consult your doctor for specific vitamin  supplements based on  your physical needs.

Another important factor is to get enough rest. When all else fails, go to    sleep! Just make sure you have a balance. When we sleep, our stress levels  go  down. We are able to fight off illness, deal with problems and make  better decisions. We are less irritable and able to manage frustrations with  ease. We are also able to control our emotions and we are much more  productive in our daily lives.

“He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:10–11

Unfortunately, Satan understands our weaknesses and attacks us when we are most vulnerable which often means we are lacking rest. When we are tired or weary, it disrupts our peace of mind. When we have inner peace, we are able to interact with others much better as well as have the ability for the Lord to direct us in our daily decisions. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” I Corth 4:33

God is actively at work at all times even while we are resting. The Lord never slumbers. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. He that keeps thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121

3.    Seek Solitude in Prayer, Worship and Reading the Bible

Reading Glasses Resting on a Bible Most of all, this is the most obvious but required. We should     have    a set schedule to spend time with God. We should      continue to seek  God in prayer. We must not give up hope.    We should pray without  ceasing knowing that God will answer  our prayers in perfect timing.

We must also continue to worship Him regardless of our  situation.  It’s in the hardest struggles that our praise is      strengthened. No matter what the situation looks like we must  continue to be faithful in worship. There is always something  to appreciate and be grateful for.

We should read the Bible on a regular schedule to keep our  spirits  strong and to encourage ourselves daily. Faith is by hearing and hearing is by the Word of God. We should surround ourselves with a body of believers who will encourage and support us. This will raise our spirits, as well as our thoughts and actions.

When we take care of our mind, body and soul, it strengthens our spiritual well-being to hear from God. By developing and building trust in Him, it draws us closer to Him. When we begin to see how He delivers us out of our situations and circumstances, our trust and faith will be strengthened to overcome any obstacle that we face.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh no ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5

An Award-Winning Blog

yolandaberry:

Congrats to my fellow blogger, Mark Aldrich! Thanks for the nomination! I will be posting your link on my page and look forward to participating, sharing and connecting with other bloggers! Let’s make it happen! Ready, set, go! :?)

Originally posted on The Gad About Town:

liebster2A nomination for a “Liebster Award” is something of a blogger’s—or at least a WordPress blogger’s—rite of passage. In German, the word “liebster” means “dearest” or “beloved,” so sharing a nomination for the award and asking the nominee to pass it on (which is one of the stipulations of the award) is a way to make the world a little more dear. Billienominated me this week, so I am a dear in her headlights. Please visit her website—it is worth your time, and her design and approach have given some direction to my plans for this website.

As I have detailed elsewhere, my column won a prize from the New York Press Asssociation some years ago, but most of my pride that day was for the writers I edited who won awards for their work, themselves. Those were some of the best phone calls I have…

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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace we are saved.”Ephesians 2:4-5

Love is lacking or non-existent in our nation, communities and most importantly in our homes. Some may have felt it, yet abused it. Others long for it while others desperately search for it. Many may take it for granted while others never felt it or experienced it. But, unconditional love is something that can’t be forced.

Credit Source: Carunderwater-x of DeviantArt

Credit Source: Carunderwater-x of DeviantArt

How does a four letter word carry so much weight and complexity? It can drive someone over the edge or force another to change their personality, values or morals to please.

There are so many levels of love: Loving a parent, sibling or child as well as a husband or wife, partner and friend. We can also love our houses, cars, sports, electronic devices and other treasured possessions.

Love is a powerful emotion. It can wound us. Reject us. Control us. Destroy us. However, this is a human kind of love.

Pure, genuine love heals all wounds. It is forgiving. “Without love the most magnificent manifestations of gifts and the most heroic self-sacrifice means nothing. Love suffers long, having patience with imperfect people. Love is kind. Love does not envy since it is non-possessive and noncompetitive. Love actually wants and allows other people to get ahead. It wants the best for you. It does not parade itself. Love is self-sacrificing. Love is not puffed up or treats others arrogantly. It does not behave rudely, but displays courtesy. Love does not seek its own or demands precedence, rather it is unselfish.

Love is not provoked; it is not irritable or touchy, rough or hostile but is most graceful and merciful under life’s demands and pressures. Love thinks no evil and does not keep an account of wrong doings but instead it erases resentments. Love does not rejoice in iniquity finding satisfaction in the shortcomings of others and spreading gossip. Instead love rejoices in the truth, aggressively advertising the good in people. Love bears all things, defending and uplifting others in discouragement. It credits others with good intentions and is not suspicious Love hopes all things and never gives up on people, but continues in affirming their future and hope. Love endures all things, persevering and remaining loyal to the end.”  

We have the capacity to love because God lives within us. There is no other love on earth like God’s love. We can search for people or things to fill the void in our lives but we will continually come up short. We will never come to terms with being loved by God until we understand the capacity of God’s love for us.

Unfortunately, we often feel we are not good enough to be loved by people or by God. We live in condemnation, fear and judgment thinking that God could never love us. When things go wrong, we feel God is punishing us for our mistakes, behavior, thoughts and actions. We often blame God when things go wrong.

Some of Satan’s greatest weapons is the use of fear, doubt, shame, guilt, regret and confusion. He constantly taunts us of our faults, failures, weaknesses, circumstances and problems. The end result is a spiral of negative thoughts and emotions due to accepting defeat and failure. The devil is a liar.

The devil uses the same plots and schemes. He is not creative. Once you recognize his bag of tricks, you will understand how to defeat him through the Word of God.

Consoling one anotherGod is forgiving. God loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. He loves us no less than He loves His Son. He actually waits for us to come to Him in prayer. God celebrates us!

Sometimes it is much easier to forgive others than ourselves. You will not have peace until you learn how to forgive. The guilt or shame can weigh you down and eventually destroy you. You must also learn to love yourself just as much as you love others.

Please don’t let shame or guilt rob you of believing that you’re in bondage. “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” John 8:36

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12.

The Lord will redeem your mistakes. Every evil thing that the enemy meant for your harm will be turned around for your good. Genesis 50:20.

Building a relationship with the Lord is not built on repentance only. It is based on worship and praise for who He is; not on what He can do or provide.

God understands you and knows your heart’s desires. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).

The Lord’s characteristics is of peace and not of harm. “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm; plans for a hope and a future.” Jer 29:11

You are deserving of God’s love. It is the reason He shed His blood on the cross so we may have eternal life. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

His love does not have to bought, earned, manipulated or controlled. In 2014, let’s walk in love by first receiving and accepting God’s love as a prime example of His nature and honoring our bodies, minds, thoughts and actions by serving one another in love.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35.

“For I am fully persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor thing to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Pressing Towards the Goal

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Photo Credit: Bruno Candeias on Flickr.com

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14

Do you ever feel like you are constantly going in circles? Using a lot of energy but not getting anywhere?

As we enter into a New Year, we set out to make new plans and set new goals.  We often want to make so many changes that we become overwhelmed in the first few weeks of the year that we eventually return to our old ways of thinking and doing. Our enthusiasm quickly fizzles and by the end of the year we are feeling depressed for what we haven’t accomplished.

Motivation and hope is the most important thing to hold onto during the year. I truly believe that’s why the majority of people get stuck, get off track or simply quit.

Most people try to make preparations and major decisions in their own power but they do not realize that they need guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. It takes prayer, stillness, worship and relationship with the Lord to supply spiritual power to make the changes that you anticipate.

Unfortunately, we have a fast food mentality and expect things to work instantly. Text messaging, Wi-Fi connections, social media communications have spoiled us. Patience is no longer an option, but with God it is the ONLY option. He requires us to have patience. Through time we are molded into His character. “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” Psalm 130:6

I recently read a book that contained brief chapters. I finished the book on December 31st to be exact. I believe that I was motivated to complete the book at record speed because of the short chapters that it provided.

Instead of setting such high goals at the beginning of the year, we should try setting attainable, short term goals that should be reviewed on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Don’t worry if you mess up or fall off your schedule. Just start over. “It is the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed because His compassion fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lam 3:22-23

Our biggest resolution should be striving to be better than the day before. Don’t carry the burdens of last year. Even though there are things that have not changed as of yet, try to have a new, fresh perspective. Things will eventually shift because nothing in life remains the same. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corth 5:17

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Old things have passed away, behold I am doing a new thing.”

 Use each day to work towards your goals, but take time to rest. Resting is essential to productivity. You cannot think clearly if you are constantly running on empty which also requires a healthy diet. When you align your mental, physical and spiritual self, you will regain fulfillment and peace. A balanced life is essential for victorious results.

If you have consistency, determination and resiliency, you will see the fruits of your labor. Preparation, organization and delegation also plays a big part in managing your goals and plans. By the end of the year, you will experience transformation in ways that you could never imagine. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6

“For I know the plans that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jer 29:11

 

 

 

God With Us

Christmas is a time for gathering with family and friends. It’s a time of great activities and celebration. During this time of year, we are busy putting the decorations on the tree, cooking extravagant meals, baking Christmas cookies and shopping for that special gift.

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Sometimes we are so wrapped up in the holiday activities that we forget about our priorities and responsibilities until the upcoming year which brings on additional stress.

For others, it’s a time of sadness because of a lack or loss. We may have lost a loved one and may still be mourning the loss. Others may not have the means to buy gifts and food which are highlights of the Christmas season. Just having the basic necessities is a struggle.

This time of year can be very sad and depressing in the hearts of the elderly who are left alone or the sick waiting for their pain to go away.

Unfortunately, life brings on difficult situations that may be very difficult to handle. Whether you’re on the top of a mountain or in the valley, God is with us. He does not discriminate. Jesus is the greatest gift that was ever given to us. His Love surpasses all that we could ever achieve or want. Every moment we breathe is a gift from God.

We will continue to search for things and strive for more to fill the void in our lives. In the end, things get broken, lost, forgotten, worn out or you just get plain tired of it. Those things that made us so happy at one time; leaves us feeling empty.

The void in our lives can only be filled with the love of Jesus. There is healing in the name of Jesus: Deliverance in the name of Jesus; Protection in the name of Jesus; Provision in the name of Jesus; Power in the name of Jesus.

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Photo Source: Unfurledlife.blogspot.com

We must remember his presence as we go about celebrating the festivities and know that He remains forever with us as believers. We should take solitude time during the holiday to commune with him. You are His treasured joy and He welcomes relationship with you. “He will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior or you would like to rededicate your life to him, simply open your heart to him and pray the following prayer in faith to receive Jesus as your Lord.

“Heavenly Father, I come to you in the Name of Jesus, Your word says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” and “If thou shalt confess with your mouth that the Lord, Jesus died for our sins and shall believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Acts 2:21; Romans 10:9 I pray that you will forgive me of my sins, renew my mind, cleanse me and make me whole by the power of the Holy Spirit. I make you my Lord and Savior of my life to guide me, protect me and teach me all things. In Jesus Name. Amen.

“And, she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. And all this was done; that it might be fulfilled which was spoke of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child; and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name Jesus.” S. Matthew1:21-25

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