TODAY’S INSPIRATION:SHINE LIKE A STAR!

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: SHINE LIKE A STAR!

No matter how secure you feel today in your life, relationships, or business, there will come a time when the clouds roll in. That is life and no one, no matter how they pretend or try to hide it, is excluded. Especially believers of Christ because we are satan’s enemies.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)  

Life can be hard. Your finances may be extremely tight. Prices are steadily rising. You or someone you love is extremely sick and you have been praying but they do not seem to be getting better. You are mentally drained, and depression keeps trying to sneak upon you. The entire world seems to be going up in flames or to the pits of hell. The question is what do we do on the cloudy days or in the seasons of darkness? Does your head begin to swim in confusion, does your heart grow weary? Do you become angry or lose faith as the light around you start to disappear? Or do you remember the promises of God? In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we do not have to worry or fear because He has overcome the world.

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34)

Whatever is happening inside or outside of you, remember God is good. And nothing will stop His great plan to replace darkness with light, coldness with warmth, hatred with love, and loneliness with union. Nothing will stop or block His love and care for us. Not war, violence, pandemics, sickness, darkness, depression, politics, or even death. All these things are temporary. But God’s love and promises remains. Therefore, we can be confident that it is going to be ok.  

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39) NLT

So next time you feel fear rising in your heart with anxiety, despair, or panic, take a deep breath. Look up at the stars. They have been shining from millions of miles away, all these years. As nations crumbled. As new kings and presidents rose to power and then died. As wars were waged. And as peace was made. As plagues swept across the earth and claimed millions of lives, and as those plagues disappeared. As economic booms took place, and as those booms faded into dismal recessions. Through all these changes, these same stars have been shining. Quietly singing and dancing and giving their silent praise to God. Let us do as the stars, and no matter what is going on keep shining. Hold your head up. When you are looking down, all you can see is what is down. It limits your perspective and lowers your expectations. When we look up, we can start seeing beyond our present circumstances. When we look up, we see the beauty of God. When we look up, we see all the possibilities. When we look up, we begin to believe for a better tomorrow. When we look up, we can begin to see that God is at work, even in our trials. When we look up, we can face tomorrow.  

“Clearly, you are a God who works behind the scenes, God of Israel, Savior God.” (Isaiah 45:15)

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We will not let anyone, or anything dim our shine! We will keep shining, doing God’s work, and giving Him the glory. We will not lose faith, in the good times or the tough times. We will bear witness to the fact that God is good, and that He has the entire world in His hands. Love and Blessings…

“So that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15)

TODAY’S INSPIRATION:LONG-SUFFERING…

LONG-SUFFERING & PATIENCE

I pray for patience daily, to be honest it is something that I struggle with. Every time I think I have made progress; something happens, and I am in God’s face again asking for more patience. Sound familiar? When we think of patience, we think of the waiting. Today I had a revelation. It is not just about the waiting, but also endurance and long-suffering. Long suffering from the Greek word “makrothumia” means “long-tempered” or patience.  

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:10) NIV

Where I and many of us slip up is our stamina when it comes to patience. How long are we supposed to be patient, how long is too long? Who are we to determines how long we should be patient with a person or situation? I hate to think about what it would be like if God gave us a timeframe of how long He will be patient with us. If God’s Word told us to have patience for a few minutes with someone or gave us a timeframe in a desperate situation, we could probably manage that: but the longsuffering the Bible speaks of is a patient endurance. Our God is long-suffering.  

“The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18) KJV

Long-suffering means enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently. This describes Jesus perfectly, who was cruelly wronged, terribly sinned and transgressed against, and who had both the authority, the ability, and the power to avenge the wrong, but does not do it. Long-suffering is one of the fruit of the Spirit and it requires endurance and patience. Do not believe that because you are patient and long-suffering, you are weak and have to be a doormat. Actually, it makes you bold and strong in character, able to resist quick and rash decisions or allow people or situations to snatch you out of your character. Our God is the essence of patience and long-suffering, and He is by no means weak!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Galatians 5:22) KJV

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5) NIV

In our trials and tribulations where we see no end, it is not easy to be patient. And it may require long-suffering and sacrifice. However, it is a sacrifice that makes us more like Jesus, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. When difficult people, situations, and trials come our way, we must remember that they are going to help us reach our goal as believers, which is to become more Christ-like each day. We want to get to the point where we can patiently endure hardships for a long time without complaining or giving up. We want to face problems and trials with the confidence that we are not alone, God is always active and helping us develop and grow spiritually.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) NIV

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) NIV

Human patience or long-suffering runs out pretty quickly when there are no visible results or end. The patience and long-suffering that the scriptures speak of requires us to allow God to work on and in us. We all are a work in progress. We cannot do it ourselves. It has to be the work of the Spirit of Christ in our lives. The Holy Spirit will put into us the long-suffering nature of God himself. We will be able to tolerate anything and do all things through Christ who will strengthen us. The key is to focus on God, not the trials. We can be patient, knowing that there is hope. Hope that God’s Words and His promises always come through in the end. Hope that whatever happens it will be for our good even if we do not understand at the time. Hope that in spite of everything God has saved us, and we have eternal life!  

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) NIV

“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:11-12) NIV

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) NIV

The love Father God has shown us is definitely patient and long-suffering. As God has shown us, we must make every effort to do the same for others. Through our trials and tribulations, we must belong-suffering. We must keep her eyes on the Lord and not grow faint. Love and Blessings…  

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4) NIV

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32) NIV

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3) NIV

“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16) NIV

“Wait for the LORD; BE strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14) NIV

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: SEND ME…

I do not remember the exact time or place I surrendered my life to Christ. Someone said it does not matter if you do not remember when you were saved as long as you remember you are saved. We have heard of God supernaturally, miraculously appearing to people in dreams and visions, leading them to finding Christ and accepting Him as their Lord and Savior. This is amazing when it happens! But usually, the way people hear about Christ is God uses someone to tell them the Good News of Salvation. Jesus was clear and straightforward to his disciples on what he wanted them to do. The authority was delegated to the disciples to announce the Good News to all. Jesus uses us today as His disciples to spread the Gospel, so that the Lord will be with them and live in them. Saving souls requires that we introduce them to Jesus who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Every Christian is either someone who is being sent to preach the gospel, or we are someone who God uses to help send those who are being sent. Either way, every one of us is called to God’s mission to save lost souls from a Christ-less eternity. God does not want to lose one soul! Whether it is around the world, across the street, or in your household, we must spread the Good News. People need to hear this incredible story of love, sacrifice, and salvation! My personal prayer today is Lord use me to save souls, send me! What about you, have you inspired others to follow Jesus?
"When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." (Luke 9:1-2)

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How,then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10: 13-15)

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: FIND JESUS; FIND A FRIEND…

If you find just one true friend in your life time, you are truly blessed. True friends are rare but there is one friend that is available to us all. That friend is Jesus who loves us so much that the Holy Spirit lives within us, so that we are never alone. During His last crucial hours with His closest followers, whom He called “friends”, Jesus talked a lot about the Holy Spirit. He wanted His disciples to know they would not be alone even though He was leaving them. He left them and us with the Holy Spirit, who is our everything, including our best friend.

I have learned to especially appreciate the presence of my friend, the Holy Spirit when I go through difficult times. Even then He gives me joy and sustains me with strength and hope. When I am sad, He cheers me, when I am mistreated, He gives me grace to endure, when I am accused or misunderstood, He fights my battles for me, when I make a mistake and want to beat myself up, He encourages me and forgives me without judgement. When I am in despair, He reminds me that He loves me. Jesus is an example of the type of friend we want to be.

Our friends should know even if we are miles away, even if we don’t talk everyday, that we are there for them if they need us. Let’s ask the Lord to help us be the type of friends who speak life, truth, grace and hope to one another. True friends pray for each other, speak wisdom and offer encouragement. True friends love you unconditionally. True friends are forever.What a friend we have in Jesus! Love and Blessings…

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate  to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16)

“No  longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John:15:13)

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”(Proverbs 27:17)

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: SOUL SCAN…

Last week I had a PET scan. A PET scan is a specialized imaging method that uses X-rays to create detailed pictures of the brain, heart, or body. It allows your doctor to detect and evaluate what is going on within you. A couple of weeks ago I had a SOUL scan. Only God is capable of this type of scan, of seeing and evaluating your soul. God saw something in my SOUL scan that was not pleasing to Him. Don’t judge me, we all have been guilty of the self-sins. Sins of self-righteousness, self-pity, self-admiration, self-sufficiency, and a host of others like them. Sometimes they dwell so deep within us and are too much a part of our human nature for us to see them. But God sees them! When God does a SOUL scan, they cannot hide, they will be seen by the Great Physician Himself!

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

If a PET scan detects something suspicious or harmful, the doctor will follow up with a diagnosis and then attempt to treat and/or remove the problem. When a SOUL scan finds something that is not pleasing to God, the Holy Spirit does the same. He will first convict us. In the Strong Concordance the Greek word convict means to bring to light or to expose. When the Holy Spirit convicts a Christian, it is how the Lord rebukes His children in love. The Holy Spirit reminds us of our righteousness paid for by the finished works of Jesus Christ on the cross. I used to believe the Holy Spirit convicted us of our sins, but Jesus bought and paid for our sins on the cross. Don’t get John 16:8 twisted; it reads “ When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” (NIV) As believers we benefit from conviction by the Holy Spirit as we grow more like Christ. The devil wants us to feel unworthy and separate ourselves from God because he knows nothing can ever separate God from us! The Holy Spirit reminds us of our righteousness and the Grace of God will teach us to live in that righteous.

“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38 NLT)

As we fight the battle of flesh against spirit, there will always be work to be done within us. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul said that he dies to the flesh daily. Paul did not have the Holy Spirit to help him as we are blessed to have today. We cannot die daily in our own strength. When we want to know Jesus on a deeper level, the flesh has to be put to death daily. That is why we need the Holy Spirit and from time to time a SOUL scan to empower us. With each passing day, by God’s grace, we mature and grow into righteous living. Not in perfection or trying to earn or achieve it but by pursuing God’s character, because it is the desire of our new nature to become more Christlike. To pursue righteousness means to turn away from your natural, sinful desires, and turn to Christ and His perfect and righteous ways. Through obedience to this command, God is preparing us for eternal life with Him, aligning us with our righteousness through Christ. Our righteousness began in Christ and is completed in Christ. We must follow Him and pursue it daily.

“And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5)

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

PET scans do not hurt although some positions might be uncomfortable or tiring. It is common to get claustrophobia and experience fear and anxiety about the possible outcomes. SOUL scans may also make us uncomfortable. You may experience fear and anxiety thinking that God has found something that you were hiding, although we know we can’t hide anything from Him. You may feel unworthy of God’s love or feel you have let Him down. You may feel weak in your faith and your walk with Christ. Don’t let the enemy feed you those lies! SOUL scans will show us areas in which we need to improve and will point out anything in us that displeases God. Just as any good physician should do, the Great Physician will help us work to remove and restore, and He will provide us with the strength and healing to do it. We must do our part by confessing, repenting and trusting God. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave is the same power that lives in us, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, reminds us of our righteousness when we fall, and empower us to obey God and to overcome temptation when it tries to overwhelm us. Jesus is on our side. He is our advocate on the Father’s right hand. Soul scans are needed for us to walk in Christ and profess, “It is well with my soul.” Love and Blessings…

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” (Titus 2:11-12)

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: HEARING GOD’S VOICE…

We all can give advice based on our opinions, experience, and our perspectives of the truth. But should we? We need to be very careful when we are receiving or giving advice. Did you pray about it? Is it aligned with the Word of God? Did you consult with the Holy Spirit? Is this advice coming from the voice of God? If we would only ask ourselves these questions before we give advice, and be in obedience to what we hear from God, then we will know what to say or even if we should say anything at all.  

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27)

Hearing God speak is a blessing we receive as His children. The voice of God will give us direction. The voice of God will give us clarity. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, we cannot go wrong. It is vital that we focus on hearing the Holy Spirit and being led by His voice only. Scripture says there will be many false prophets and teachers. Remember even the devil knows scripture! He tried to use it to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:5-6) We must know His voice because correct and sound doctrine is crucial to our salvation and growth in the knowledge of His grace. This is how we grow into spiritual maturity.

This world does not hold the answer to our deepest cry for intimacy and peace with God, or the enjoyment of His presence and power in every area of our lives. Only Jesus knows and only through Him, will the help of the Holy Spirit can we enter into the Kingdom of God. His way is the only way out of darkness. His voice is the only truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:16)

“We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us: whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:6)

We can learn from Moses, who did mighty things through God, but still fell short in the end. Toward the end of his life, Moses hit the rock twice in disobedience, and yelled at the people out of anger and impatience. Despite his years of service, Moses’s disobedience kept him from entering the promised land. (Numbers 20) Moses misrepresented God. He did what he wanted and not what God had instructed him to do. This should be a lesson to us that when we hear the voice of God, we should be obedient.  

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (2 John 1:6)

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15)

When we give advice it should come from a place of love that is always based on God’s Word, not our opinions or emotions. Also when we seek spiritual advice from a friend or spiritual leader, we must make sure that person is in tuned with God and is giving us God’s truth and not their truth.  

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raise against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Sometimes we may not want to hear godly advice. We want to hear what we want to hear, to make us feel better or to feel justified. And it may help us feel better temporary, but when we receive God’s truth, which is the only truth, we are set free forever! Love and Blessings…

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:33)

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: JOY & PEACE

People talk a lot about joy and peace during the holidays. However God meant for us to have joy and peace throughout our lives. In order for us to do so we need to understand just what joy and peace is and where (who) it comes from. I learned a long time ago that joy and happiness are not the same. Happiness is the feeling you get when things are going well, it is based on your circumstances. Joy is a deep and enduring state of our soul that no circumstance, event, or human can steal away from us. It’s delighting in God and choosing to rejoice in all things. Because our circumstances don’t rule us, our mood swings are nonexistent. This doesn’t mean we are always in a “good mood” but we can remain in an unexplainable place of contentment. Joyful people don’t allow misery, sorrow, sadness, or despair to rule their thoughts or guide their actions. Joy can cause our heart to smile even if things on the outside seem to be falling apart.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

The worlds definition of peace depends on who you ask. Most will agree the absence of problems or difficult people will give them peace. Now who can live in this world without either of those? Jesus Christ can provide us with an inner peace that does not depend on what’s going on around us or difficult people. Peace isn’t tied to circumstances. Peace is a deep well of confidence that God is who He is and that He will do what He says He will do. True peace can only be found through a relationship with our Father and from resting in the promises of God. Jesus can give us peace even through hardships and trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John:16:33)

This world is unpredictable, we never know what it may throw at us.  When we are in tune with the Holy Spirit, joy and peace envelop our life. When we make Jesus Christ the focus of our lives, He will speak peace to our souls and put joy in our hearts that this world cannot take away. Love and Blessings…

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:7)

” Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.” ___C.S. Lewis

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: SOME HARD TRUTHS…

TAME THAT TONGUE!

If we let our tongues run loose, God help us! Our tongue gets enflamed with anger, resentment, gossip and the like. The tongue is like a match ready to be lit! Learning how to tame the tongue is possible if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us on when, where, and if we should speak. The Bible says we should be slow to speak. (James 1:19)

“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:7-10)

DON’T JUDGE ME!

People are eager to give their opinions about others life and choices, especially on Social Media. It has become a favorite pastime to post cruel and rude comments on others post. Where is the compassion and empathy for others? Every day we have an opportunity to be a light in the world, let’s not waste those opportunities by making snap judgments about others. We are all under God’s law, which is good and perfect and just and loving. When we follow God’s law, we live according to his design. Anything else we make up ourselves, and who are we to make judgments according to our own standards? 

“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery” also said, “do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery , but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judge by the law of liberty. For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.” (James 10-13)  

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge you another?” (James 4:12)

PRESEVERE UNDER TRIALS!

Your spirit is saved by faith in Christ’s sacrifice, and your soul (empowered by the Holy Spirit)) is saved by faith and endurance. (Luke 21:19). That doesn’t mean you are saved by works, but it means your perseverance is vitally rooted in your salvation. Our faith only grows stronger when tested by trials. The choice to keep trusting God in the midst of the trial brings His blessings. True believers “bear fruit with perseverance.” (John 15:1-4)

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED!

There are two days you should never worry about: yesterday and tomorrow. The past is remembered but you should not live there. The future gives us hope, but tomorrow is not promised. Therefore we should live in the moment, the present. Be thankful, love, and cherish each day as if it is your last. Most importantly, every moment and with each breathe we take we should be seeking and searching for God.

“You say “Today or tomorrow we will go to the city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. “As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

It is easy to love those who return that love. The thing is Jesus did not say love only those who love us. His desire is for us to love others as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-39) He loves us, unconditionally. He loved us enough to die for us even though we are not worthy. So why is it that we get to decide who is worthy of our love? We live in a world where there is jealousy, hatred, comparison, and the devil is running rapid. But just because we live in it, does not mean we have to be a part of it. (Romans 12:2) We can motivate each other into acts of love and good works, starting with ourselves. Instead of praying for God to change the person in order for us to love them, we can pray for God to give us a heart to love them. Sometimes difficult people are placed in our lives to teach us how to love like God, unconditionally. Everyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ is called to walk in love.

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.” (James 2:8)

SEEK GOD FIRST!

We pursue many things in this life. Fame, wealth, beauty, and love just to name a few. We seek these things presuming they will bring us happiness. However these things can shift depending on time or circumstances. Everything that we chase here on earth is temporary. The steadfast pursuit of seeking God first is the only source of true joy and eternal satisfaction. If we seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, He will provide everything else we need. (Matthew 6:33) He will give us the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4) God is our Source and everything else is a resource provided by God.

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up in honor.”  (James 4:7-10)

So there you have it my people, like it or not. Some hard truths not from me but from The Epistle of James. Early church tradition identifies him as the half-brother of Christ. In his letter to the twelve tribes, he identifies himself as “a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This letter have been called the how-to book of the Christian life. You could say James was sounding a wake-up call to all us Christians: “Get your life in line with what you believe! If we are honest, we all have been guilty of being out of line at some point in our lives. James references key points from the Sermon on the Mount and calls on Jesus’s followers to live wisely. James combines the wisdom of Jesus with the book of Proverbs in his own challenging call to live a life of devotion to God. How do we do that? By seeking God and being obedient to His will. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) Love and Blessings…

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: THE BEST PLAN…

THE BEST PLAN

At the beginning of each new year we begin to make resolutions, set goals, and make plans. The past two years with the pandemic, some of our plans had to be postponed or stopped completely. Unfortunately it looks as if this may be the case this year. The good news is even though our plans may change, nothing can stop God’s plan for our lives. I used to get upset when things did not go as I planned. I always had a plan B. God doesn’t need a plan B. When we surrender our lives to God we are not bothered by disruptions in our plans because we know who is really in charge. There is nothing wrong with planning if we are getting direction, advice, and guidance from God. God’s plan comes with total submission to His will and authority in our lives. Most of the time, our plans are self-satisfying, temporary, and usually separate us from God. God’s plans are always best for us. God’s plan for our lives are peace, prosperity, hope, and a future with Him. Even when we follow God’s plan, there will be detours on the road we travel. We will find obstacles, persecution, hurt, pain, rejection, and suffering. The difference is the Holy Spirit will be there with us, guiding and comforting us through it all. I believe when troubles come our way, and it is not in our plan, we do not know what to do so we panic. However, once we give our life to God and submit to His plans for us, we can be content and have peace in the mist of our troubles. People will wonder why you are still smiling, praising, and worshiping when the world seems to have gone crazy. It is because you know that all things are going to work out for your good. You will no longer stress or get depressed when your plans fall apart, because you know God has something better lined up! I no longer need a plan B. I know God’s plan for me is not only eternal, but full of hope, joy, and peace, even in the mist of life’s storms. No pandemic or devil in hell can stop the plans God has for me! What do you do when God’s plan does not align with your plan? I suggest you go with God’s plan; it is always better! I just finished a devotion that tells a simple, yet powerful truth. Life. Is. Not. About. Us. It is about God and His kingdom. It’s not about our happiness, because happiness comes from the outside in (not like joy, which comes from the inside out). When we joyfully surrender our mind, will, and emotions to Christ and grow in the knowledge of God, life takes on a new meaning. If you want your life to count, then give your life completely over to God. This year let us make sure our plans are in alignment with God’s plan. We want to be in total surrender to Him! It is not about carrying out our will on earth but fulfilling God’s will for our life on earth. Love and Blessings…  

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  


“If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91 9-11)  


“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)  

TODAY’S INSPIRATION: EXPRESS YOURSELF!

EXPRESS YOURSELF!

Sometimes we put on a smile when that is the last thing we feel like doing. Our feelings are real but there are times we try to hide them because we don’t want to hurt, worry, make anyone angry, or to be judged. So instead of expressing ourselves, we pretend and hide behind a smiling face. Sound familiar? The good news is we can always get in the presence of God and express ourselves, reveal our true feelings, and as the saying goes, let our hair down.

Unlike us humans, God is not fooled by our attempts to disguise our true feelings and put on a false smile. The fact is, He already knows how we are feeling so there is no need to be pretentious with God. We can bring Him our hopes, fears, doubts, even our anger. God knows us better than we know ourselves. When we need a place to express ourselves without fear of reprisal or judgement, we can get into the presence of God. In our Father we will find mercy, not punishment, comfort, not reproach. When we come into His presence, the Holy Spirit will activate our spiritual being which trumps our physical feelings. This safeguards us against acting on our feelings the worldly way. And instead we are able to operate Christlike in spite of our feelings.  

I truly wish we could open up and let people know how we feel all the time, but realistic we live in a world that makes it hard. If you have even one person in your life that you can express yourself unconditionally, then you are blessed. However, if you don’t, do not be discouraged. Those of us who know Jesus always have Him to open up to.

When Jesus walked this earth, He had to deal with feelings just as we do. That is why He understands. Jesus had His disciples and followers, but they didn’t truly understand His mission or who He really was until after His death and resurrection. Who did He talk to about His feelings? The Bible tells us He was always in prayer with our Father in heaven. Before He was to be crucified, Jesus asked God that His assignment be taken from Him. His flesh was not “feeling” suffering and dying on the cross even though He knew He would rise again. But immediately after asking, Jesus also being Spirit said, “Your will, not mine.” Jesus prayed until God strengthened Him and waited until His feelings were in line with the Father’s will before leaving the garden. That is what happens when we take our feelings to God. Sometimes God does not take the situation or problem away from us. He knows the outcome will be for our good just as Jesus dying was for our good. What He will do is strengthen us, calm us, and be with us as He bring us through. Life’s trails and storms will wreak havoc on our feelings. But passionate prayer gives us and outlet to express them and bring them in line with God’s will. Then we pray as Jesus did,  “Your will, not mine.” Jesus never let His physical feelings interrupt His spiritual walk. He was always about His Father’s business. Brothers and sisters, we can go to God in prayer, expressing ourselves without fear of condemnation or judgement. In return He will give us peace and He will work everything out for our good. Love and blessings…

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, move this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:42)

“Trust  in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“And  we know that in all things God works for the good(A) of those who love him, who[a] have been called(B) according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)