Thursday, October 31, 2013

Count it ALL Joy

Count It ALL Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
                                                                                      James 1:2-3 (ESV)

          There is joy to be found in even our toughest struggles. I had to learn this the hard way. In 2004 I was informed that I had a medical condition that would make it virtually impossible for me to become pregnant without some form of medical help. This was devastating news. Despite the previous diagnosis, one Monday afternoon in March 2007, I discovered that I was pregnant. This came as an enormous shock, but it was one of the happiest days of my life. However, it was followed only two days later with the worst day of my life. That Wednesday, I had a miscarriage.
            I cannot tell you that I experienced any joy that day, or for the following weeks. I was crushed. I felt like the one chance I would have ever possibly had to have a baby of my own was lost. I experienced sadness like I had never felt before.
            So how can I “count it all joy”? How can losing a baby bring anyone joy? The answer is this…My prayer life was strengthened. My relationship with God was strengthened. I learned to seek God’s will in my life and not my own.  I have a child in heaven that waits on me that has never had to experience sadness, hardship, pain, rejection or heartbreak. What more could a parent wish for their child?
            We need to be broken so we can be molded. We have to trust God’s plan. Only melted gold can be made into coins; only softened wax can receive a seal; and only truly broken hearts will carry the mark of the Potter’s hands.
            As we struggle with life, whether it be finances, relationships, death, etc. we should count it all joy because our faith will grow through the trials and tribulation. When the hand of God is at work and the clay is fresh in the Potter’s hand the vessel can be shaped according to His plan. No one welcomes troubling times, but if you are experiencing them, consider this a time to strengthen your faith.  Anything that has happened or is happening to build your relationship with the Lord should be counted joy.  I did not like the circumstances of March 2007, but I am joyful for the outcome. A closer walk with God is work an ocean of tears.
            Remember ALL things work for the good for those that love the Lord- Romans 8:28. It is not that all things are good, but all things will work for good.
 I would like to mention that God has blessed me with two wonderful, healthy boys. I never once received any medical help. I relied solely on the Great Physician.

Written in service to first love- Jesus Christ,
Kelli Porter

I look forward to your comments:
Twitter - @disciplekp

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween - Get of the Fence

III John 1:11 NKJV

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Ok, we all knew this topic was gonna come up. And if you didn't, now you do. So, here we go! Halloween!

My kids are eleven, ten, and seven. This year will be the third year
in a row that we have not participated in the celebration of Halloween. The reason for our boycott is this, it is a celebration of evil and darkness! My eyes were opened in a Sunday school class taught by Mrs. Mavalean Britt. Then I, in turn, showed my husband the light. Then, together, we spoke to our children and decided as a family that we would no longer be lead as sheep in to performing rituals we didn't know the meaning of. Our eyes were opened. We were no longer being deceived. We will not straddle the fence. We are children of light and choose to operate, daily, as such!
When the topic comes up and someone wants to know our reasoning, I give them one of the many scriptures that I believe directs us against this celebration. Such as Romans 12:9, 3 John 1:11, Psalms 101:3, Phillipians 4:8, Ephesians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 10:21, Dueteronomy 18:10-12. The reaction we get nine times out of ten is that we don't have to let our kids dress up as anything scary or evil. But the fact is, I don't think it matters if they dress as an angel or Frankenstein. The bottom line is it is an evil holiday!

Celtic priests believed that on all hallow's eve, the line between our world and the spirit world; the line between life and death, blurred. They believed that evil spirits and ghosts invaded the earth and ran about causing trouble, destroying crops, ect. They believed if they offered the evil spirits and demons sacrifices that they would be satisfied and not cause problems or destroy their crops. Hence, "trick or treat". They also believed that if they dressed as dead animals and evil spirits they would fool the demons into believing that they were one of them.

Yes, the sacrifices have turned into Reese's Pieces and Mary Jane's, and the dead animal carcasses are now vampires and Sponge Bob costumes. But the true meaning, the pagan undertones, and dark overtones and evil rituals are still there.
I'll even put the pagan origins aside and just focus on what it is today. What kind of movies are played this time of year? Scary horror movies that are far too often evil and increasingly so. What kind of candy do you find?  Bloody sawed-off body parts, vampires, witches, ghosts, goblins, and demons. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Halloween? Scary! There's scary decor, creepy music, terrifying movies, scary,looking candy, ect.... In some of the scriptures I listed above, the Bible tells us to only think on good things and to set before or eyes no evil things. Does Halloween follow these scriptures?

If something causes fear, it is not of God! If it's not of God, it has to be of Satan! Sorry to be so blunt. But it's simply the truth of the matter. You can candy coat a rotten apple all you want, but in the end, it's still a rotten apple.

In Matthew 12:30 Jesus says that who ever is not with Him is against Him. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and only the Lord! On December 25, October 31, and every other night of the year!

I challenge you to not be like the masses. Be set apart as we have been called to be! Don't blindly join in the celebration of evil this year. Some people have said that it's only what you make it. I disagree. I believe that is a deception of the enemy! It is what it is! And that is a night of imitating and celebrating evil and participating in wicked ceremonies. Get off the fence and let your light shine!

Thank you for reading this devotion. I was spirit-lead to write this and probably just for you! If you would like to talk or pray with me, contact me at chassidyhester@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Having Hope When Things Seem Hopeless

Lamentations 3:21-22
This I recall to my mind therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 

As I began to pray and get prepared for this devotion this week I had something totally different in mind but God redirected me to write about something else. God laid this heavily on my heart so I know this is meant for someone to hear.

Back in 2006 one of my dearest friends Tabatha Smith married the love of her life in July and started to try to begin to start a family.  In just a year and half she lost seven babies due to etopic pregnancy. She was diagnosised with tubal disease.

Tabatha and her husband Nick decided to become foster parents.  In 2009 their first child Dylan came into their care and then just a little while later in 2010 God blessed them with Anna Marie and then a year later another blessing was given to them little Noah! 

Tabatha loved these babies from the start as her own. These three babies filled Tabatha's heart with so much love. During this time she would pray and ask God to do his will in their lives. She kept her faith and knew God was leading her right where he wanted her to be. She is an amazing mother to the beautiful children.

I remember countless conversations we would have over the past 7 years some happy and sad but out of every conversation her faith remained strong in God!  She always knew that God was right there with her. God knew the desires of her heart.  He knew that she wanted to carry a baby in her womb. He knew she wanted every experience that a pregnancy has. 

Tabatha recieved two prophecies that God would give her the desires of her heart and the other was the she would have a little girl named Hope! Earlier this year Tabatha started the process of in vitro fertilization.  The first try wasn't successful and neither was the second. 

During the process of their third try God laid heavily on my heart to call Tabatha and speak "life" to her. You know life and death are in the power of the tounge! As I dailed her number that day I could feel the holy spirit directing me. I just knew that what was on my heart was directly from God. As she answered I remember telling her that God wanted her to begin to claim her blessing right now and start thanking him for the healthy baby that was in her belly. 

I told her that God had given her the desires of her heart. We both cried because we knew the holy spirit was there in the midst of our conversation.


You see sometimes we can doubt what Gods will is for our lives because everything on the outside may seem impossible. But Gods will is for you to be happy and have all the desires of your heart. All things work together for the good of those who serve him. He wants to bless you!! You have to claim your blessing and stand strong in your faith and not waiver from it. So don't allow satan to steal your happiness. Don't allow people to speak death or negative things to you. 

After a few days Tabatha called me to tell me the wonderful news that she was pregnant! She is due February 1st 2014. She is expecting a beautiful healthy baby girl who's name is Hope!! You see  all these years God had a specific plan for Tabatha and her family.  He knew that Dylan, Anna Marie and Noah needed her and she needed them. Then he blessed their family with Hope! 

I hope this story can give others hope! Begin to claim your blessings today and stand in faith and know God  will provide. I pray that peace will enter those who are tired if waiting.  I pray they will put all their faith in God and know he is there during their hurt.  Miracles are still available today just like they was in the bible days!! Just remain positive and just believe your miracle is in the making. 

Written by: Summer Hamilton

Monday, October 28, 2013

Be in the Light

It's finally fall!!! My FAVORITE time of the year!!! It's almost my birthday/the holidays! The leaves are changing and the air is crisp! It's the time of the year when you can see God's glory all around you! A time to give thanks and celebrate all that God has done for us!! But amist all of the glorious beauty and sacred days set aside to celebrate Jesus, satan has weasled his way into it and deceive so many people, including many Christians!! He has created the very scary and demonic celebration of halloween!

My sister and I were very blessed to be brought up in a Christian home! We never went trick or treating and we never even questioned why! We were brought up knowing that it was the devil's holiday!! It breaks my heart to see so many people of faith participate in this awful day!! They have been deceived in to thinking that "it's ok as long as you don't do anything scary",and "it's just for fun!" And the all time favorite, "I just want to dress up and go get candy!" 

Halloween is a pagan holiday meant to celebrate the dead coming back to life as evil spirits!! I don't know about you, but I don't want ANY part in that!!! And as far as dressing up in costumes goes, the pagans wore them to mimic the evil spirits!!! 1 Timothy 4:1 says to not follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons!! This is a direct order from God! We are to have no part with darkness!!! We are to be children of LIGHT (Ephesians 5:11-12) 

We should always follow the example of Christ and live pure and holy lives! Holy means set apart!! We need to be set apart from the world and take a stand against satan and his evil schemes! 

So, this year on October 31, make a point to not be like the world!! God's word says to not be like the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind!! Use this day as a day to worship God and bring glory to His name!! 

For more information on the history of halloween visit: http://www.halloweenhistory.org

Maggi Sellers
Insta- maggisellers
Twitter- maggisellers86
Email- lauriebaker8698@gmail.com

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Broken Yokes, Busted Bonds

"I broke your yoke and burst your bonds that you might serve Me, and you shattered the yoke and snapped the bonds of My Law which I put on you; you said, I will not serve and obey You! Cease from your mad running after idols from which you get nothing but bitter injury. Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, It is hopeless! For I have loved strangers and foreigners, and after them I will go." Jeremiah 2:20, 25

          Sin is the ultimate bondage. Sin causes stress, guilt, worry, and heartache as well as physical burdens. When we operate outside of Law of God, we create for ourselves lives controlled by the consequences of sin. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father understood the burden of our sins and made a way for us to break free from them: He sent Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He broke the yoke and busted the bonds that bound all mankind. He did this, so we could willingly and freely draw near to the heart of God. All we have to do to accept this freedom is accept the truth of who Christ is and what He did for us.

          When we receive Christ as Savior, God replaces the crippling burden of sin with an easy yoke and a light burden: His Law (Matthew 11:30.) Following God's Law keeps us in covenant with Him: a promise that says He will never leave us; He will never forsake us; He will protect us from our enemies; He will provide for all our needs, and He will make a place for us in Heaven. God's promises for our lives are beautiful, and they are true, but we must remember that a covenant is not one-sided. We must hold up our end of the bargain. 

          Throughout Biblical history, God's people have found themselves in seasons of judgement and hardship under God's wrath because they didn't keep their side of the agreement. In these situations, God calls to His children, wooing them to come home, only to have them ignore Him because they are too busy playing with their idols. In Jeremiah 2:25, God reminds them that they made their own choices about whom they would love and chase; He reminded them they chose to chase strangers over pursuing Him. He follows with, "Why do you complain against My wrath? You all have rebelled against Me (Jeremiah 2:29.) 

          There are those of us today who behave just as God's people did in Jeremiah's time. We've asked God to take our sinful nature, our heavy burdens, and our hardships, and we've traded them in for His Law. We know Who He is and what He is about, and we've entered into a covenant with Him agreeing to love Him and honor Him as He agrees to protect and provide for us. Somewhere down the road though, something that seems a lot more appealing catches our eyes. Maybe that "stranger" we see is money, a job, a relationship, a social life, or any number of things. Whatever "it" is, when we run after it, we are looking God directly in the face and saying, "It is hopeless for me to follow You. I have fallen in love with "it," and I have chosen to chase "it" instead of You."

          The moment we do this, we step out of covenant with God. We shatter the easy yoke and the light burden He gave us to carry, and we snap the protective covering He has placed on our lives. At first, it may seem like freedom. Perhaps we are having more "fun" or are enjoying "finding ourselves." Soon, however, the consequences of our sin find their way to us, and we are strapped down again with the heavy physical, mental, and emotional burdens of the world. We are without protection, provision, or peace. We are lost little children in need of our Father.

          The world would have us believe it has everything we need. It would love for us to abandon our covenant and chase after it, loving all the ideas and objects it has to offer. Because we are born of this world, there will be times (and maybe lots of them) that we will find ourselves tempted with the desire to pursue it. Let us remember remember the truth: the world's ways are not God's ways (Isaiah 55:8). When we say say yes to Him, He breaks the ways and the burdens of the world off us and gives us His Law, His provision, and His love. These are all easier to carry than hurt and pain caused by sin. 

          Today, if you have picked up again the yoke of sin, answer our Father's call to you to release it. Remember that despite the allure of the world, you are breaking your covenant with God. You are giving up divine protection, provision, and peace for a world that will fade away (1 John 2:17.) Let the yoke God shattered remain that way: broken. Choose to pursue God; live in the freedom of obeying Him.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Wienie ain't Worth it

Have you ever had the feeling that you just cannot escape sin. You know, the feeling that you are never gonna be set free; that feeling that you are trapped in this sin tendency. We've all been there! I have good new for you. JESUS LOVES YOU! Yes, that's right, He loves you. So why are you constantly loosing to a battle that has already been fought, and won. We spend way too much time trying to fix what has already been fixed. All we have to do is receive who we are in Christ and do our very best to maintain a minute by minute relationship with Him. Whoa! "a minute by minute relationship," that's a bit extreme isn't it? No way, I believe that to be our 'reasonable service" that Paul tells us about in Romans 12:1-2.

See the problem is that we tend to worry too much about the devil and how he is causing us to slip into sin. I need to remind you that the devil doesn't make you sin. STOP blaming him for what you willfully do; Luke 10:19 tells us that we have been given authority over the enemy. So really he is not an enemy at all, he is defeated; learning this is the first step of becoming free. However, this is how we fall, the devil tempts us and we obey. This is the process of sin, and that is how it happens every time.

I remember when I was training my Boxer, Ellie Mae, to stay within her new electric fence; I threw a piece of wienie outside the range of the fence. She ran after it so fast that she didn't know what hit her. The shock scared her so much, and it really hurt me to see it, but she had to learn. I pulled her back into the "safe zone" and loved on her, comforted her and let her know that she was safe and secure. After that, I stood up and threw another piece of wienie outside the boundary. She started after it quickly then stopped, realizing the the temptation was not worth the pain. I gave her a pat on the head and told how proud I was of her. Then, I threw another piece and guess what... ole Ellie Mae stood firm. She didn't move an inch! She looked at me with those puppy dog eyes that said, "I ain't that dumb, dummy." You see, she quickly learned that consequence comes from stepping outside the boundary. So Ellie Mae's response is, "I think I'll just stay here with you, the wienie just isn't worth it."

If we could learn to realize that "the wienie just isn't worth it," then we can overcome the temptation that satan put in front of us. Don't you know that he laughs at you every time you fall into his trap. You do NOT have to fall into that trap though, remember it's much safer right there in the presence of your Master. The next time satan puts a temptation in your path tell him, "I ain't that dumb, dummy; I am safe and sound in the presence of my Master and I am not about to fall for that trick." Never forget that God never allows you to be tempted beyond what you can overcome. So learn to be in God's presence every minute of everyday and you will see that it is much safer there with Him.

May the blessings of the Lord Overtake You!

Pastor Ant

Friday, October 25, 2013

Remember The Rainbow!

Genesis 9:12-17(NIV)

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

The rainbow is a sign from God of a promise He made to Noah. He promised to never again destroy the earth by flood. Each time I see a rainbow I'm reminded of ALL the promises of God. I'm reminded that He is not a man that He should lie. If God has promised it He WILL do it!!

A few days ago I left work feeling sad. I had gotten a prayer request from a sweet friend that day. She has been praying and believing for a child and it seems all around her others are having babies and she still waits. I myself am praying and believing for a Godly mate. All around me it seems people are getting engaged and married. And I, wait! I have other dear friends praying and believing for their most heartfelt desires. Whether it is a baby, a spouse, financial need, job, or healing. They are praying and believing. On my way home that day I was talking to God about it all. Why are so many people who are praying, believing and trusting not receiving? I just don't understand. At that moment I looked to the sky and there was a rainbow! There had been no rain that day! In fact it was one of the most beautiful days we had in awhile!

God placed that rainbow right in the sky just for ME!!! My Heavenly Father wanted me to remember!! Remember that HE never goes back on His promises. He is faithful! His promises are true!

So, if you are struggling today "REMEMBER THE RAINBOW!! If God said it, it will happen!!

This post was written from the heart of Beth Reed. My prayer this week is that each time each of us see a rainbow we will be reminded that God is faithful!!

I would love to hear from you!! Email - beffie221@gmail.com, Twitter - beffie221, Instagram - beffie221

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Yes!!!! It's Free!!!

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
 
On the 3rd Saturday of each month AwakeningLife Ministries holds what we call "Celebrate Love". Members of the church prepare meals and give them away at the local shopping plaza. You may be surprised to hear what a struggle it is at times to give away FREE food! We have an eye catching green tent with a sign that reads "Free Lunch". Still it seems that no one really believes that it's free. Absolutely free!! There is nothing anyone can or must do to earn this free lunch. It is freely given. All anyone must do is to make the choice to accept this free gift.
 
This reminds me of the free gift from our Heavenly Father. The free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus as our Savior. The free gift that Jesus gave us when He shed His blood to pay for our sin. You see, there is nothing we can do to earn this free gift. Jesus became the sacrifice when He was nailed on the cross and resurrected 3 days later!
 
The reason that AwakeningLife gives away these free lunches is because of the love for God's people. John 3:16 tells us why God sacrificed His only Son. It's because He "So loved the world". I think many of us don't even realize just how much God loves us. He loves us "SO" much that He made a way for us to have eternal life and live with Him in Heaven. To us it is FREE! Absolutely FREE! All we have to do is accept it.

Again this week I am sharing a list of scripture that will help you in your decision to accept His FREE gift.


Romans 3:23 - Man's Need
Romans 6:23 - Sin's Penalty
Romans 5:8 - God's Provision
Romans 10:9-10 - Man's Response
Romans 10:13 - God's Response

This post was written from the heart of Beth Reed. I hope it has encouraged you in some way. I would really love to hear from you.
Email - Beffie221@gmail.com
Twitter - Beffie221
Instagram - Beffie221
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Discipline 101 - God's way

A lot of people have different views on parenting techniques. Some use spanking as their #1 source of discipline. Some prefer the time out method. Some choose to talk to their child in a smooth calming voice and explain to them what they did wrong. Some just let their kids do whatever they want. Everyone is different. I have been thinking about discipline a lot lately. Probably because their has been a lot of discipline going on in the Seller's home. Especially with Shepherd approaching the 2's fastly.

Hebrews 12 is a great example of how God instructs us to use discipline in our daily lives, whether for the purpose of our children or something we are battling within ourselves.

“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."


Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

The fact is everyone needs discipline. Even adults. I love where it says "do not lose heart when he rebukes you." The Message translation phrases it like this: but don't be crushed by it either. Don't be crushed by discipline. As parents discipling children, we have to take that responsibility ourselves. Don't crush children by discipline. Choose your battles is how the saying goes I think. I once heard a Pastor talking about discipline and he said something that I think about often. He said, "I do discipline my children. I believe in spanking. I believe in discipline. But I also believe that through my discipline I will have helped change and mold my child's heart rather than crush it. You see I want my child to want to make the right decisions, to want to be a responsible person. To be pure in heart and motives. That's what I pray my discipline accomplishes."

As adults going through discipline we have to head this warning on our own. Don't let discipline break you. Let it mold you through Christ. Everyone goes through different seasons in life. Some are great seasons of harvest, some are seasons of drought, some maybe of discipline. Don't let it crush you.

Thanks for reading! May God bless each and everyone of you!

Mary Sellers





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spiritual Fruits


Galatians 5:22-23
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There are no laws against these things!

When you gave your life to Jesus all the fruit of the Spirit were planted inside of you in seed form. 
God loves you so much he wants you to experience that love in the deepest part of your soul. Pray and ask him to help you be the person who walks in love. Choose to believe the best about people rather than assuming the worst.

Many people may I ask what are the fruits of the spirit? They are characteristic of the Spirit of God that dwelleth in you. They define and mold the character of the child of God that is led by the Spirit of God. As we are led by the Spirit of God we are molded into the character of God, thus developing the fruits of the Spirit.

Matthew 7:16
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

This verse means that we should be able to tell someone's spiritual growth by their behavior. 
We all may wonder and ask how do I get them? How do they develop?  You don't!! The fruits of the spirit are those qualities of the spirit God given to us by the holy spirit that is the evidence of Christ in us.

The fruits of the spirit are spiritual seeds. Very much like a tree. The tree will produce seed bearing fruit that will produce offspring. We are offspring of God when we become born again in the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us the word of God so eventually we develop these fruits. The Holy Spirit changes our nature so we began to demonstrate the 9 fruits as we mature spiritually.

We you walk and live in the spirit you are no longer living by the carnal state of the flesh, but in the supernatural or spiritual state of the Holy Spirit. To apply the fruits of the spirit to your daily life you must apply the word of God to your life 

Galatians 2:2
0
Myself no longer lives, but Christ lives in me. So i live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the son of God,  who loved me and gave himself to me.

As I close I urge you to look these up and read the defintion of each fruit. Study them and apply them to your daily life. Because of Christ we no longer have to struggle on our own. We have the holy spirit to guide and encourage us.

1st Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,  and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you.

Jesus has experienced every trail that we face and he still remains faithful to us. So that's a great reason to remain faithful to him.

1st Corinthians 10:13
There hath to temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful,  who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able. But will with temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear.

Our escape is through the Holy Spirit and we find that all things are possible to those who believe!!!

Written by : Summer Hamilton

Monday, October 21, 2013

You're an Overcomer

1 John 5:5

Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God? 

So often the devil tries to come in our lives and steal our joy. For some of us this may even be an everyday battle! He tries to bring us down with different kind of problems like sickness, stress and anxiety, financial hardships, unexpected job changes, and sometimes even family issues! But do not get discouraged!! Don't believe the lies of defeat that he's trying to tell you!! 

1 John 4:4 says, "Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world." See, when we belong to Christ, he makes us overcomers! Satan is already defeated!

Revelations 12:11 says that we will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony!! 

So don't get discouraged or feel defeated if you are going through something right now!! 

Jesus loves you and you are his! He will help you overcome!! 

This devo was written by Maggi Sellers!! Follow me on Insta and Twitter!!! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

God: Trader, Not Traitor

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called Sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven."
Matthew 5: 1-12

     

     Cars. Jobs. Mascara. Achievements. Clothes. Relationships. Food. Embarrassing moments. What do each of these have in common? Trades. We all exchange one thing for another quite often. Perhaps we move from an old home to a new one, an "upgrade." Perhaps we change our mind at the last minute, choosing something different from the menu. Perhaps we simply give up time in exchange for a failed joke or perhaps a breath-taking moment. Most trades aren't bad. As a matter of fact, we generally get excited about trades: trying a new product, driving a new car, making new friends. However, we cannot deny that some trades are just not worth it, and usually when we make a bad trade, we automatically brand the trade as a traitor.  

     In the Bible, we see many examples of trade. Adam and Eve traded everlasting perfection for a bite of fruit (Genesis 3.) Moses gave up his right to see the promised land for a moment of anger, striking a rock instead of speaking to it (Number 20.) David choose adultery and murder, exchanging his peace of mind and clean reputation for a married woman (II Samuel 11.) Judas traded Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26.) In each situation, human beings gave up something they once had for something that, in that moment, seemed more appealing. They made choices that would hurt them and those around them, but they didn't know exactly how destructive those choices were until the consequences came rolling in.

     Today, we are exactly the same. We human beings still make choices that damage ourselves and our loved ones. We make trades that do not end the way we expect. We give up our innocence, our joy, our peace, and our comfort for moments in time that, in retrospect, are wasted. We trade in our health for addictions. We trade in our loved ones for busyness. We trade in our peace for drama and our comfort for worry. 

     Every day, we exchange moments in our lives that we will never ever get back for people and things and ideas and works that do not fulfill us, but there is one trade that is always worth it: Jesus Christ.

     Our Heavenly Father made the ultimate trade. He traded His one and only Son for a personal relationship with each of us. Jesus followed His Father's example. He traded His life, so we could stand before the Father spotless, and the trades don't stop there. Matthew 5 tells us that in Christ, our mourning, our hunger, and our persecution will all be traded for the riches of heaven. In Isaiah 60, God promises to exchange "the tyranny of the present [with] peace and righteousness" and "[the sun and moon for] an everlasting light." Psalm 126 proclaims that "they who sew in tears shall reap in joy and singing." Our God is the best Trader! He takes away all our pain, sorrow, worry, doubt, hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness, and fear and replaces them with His very essence: love. Never we will walk away from a trade with God calling Him a traitor.

     God has it all. He holds all the best commodities in His hands, and He wants to make a trade with you. Today, in this very moment, He is calling. He is asking, "Will you trade this time to be with Me? Will you trade your sickness for My healing? Will you trade your worry for My peace? Will you trade your flesh for My Spirit?" With God, you do not have to contemplate whether or not the trade is worth it. His Word promises it always will be. What do you need to exchange today? What worry is plaguing your heart? What sickness is disabling your body? What thought is trapping your mind? Whatever it may be, Jesus is waiting, arms stretched out on a cross, to make the trade.  


This blog was written from the traded-in heart of Megan Forsyth Bolton. If I can pray with you, please feel free to email me at boltonmeganf@gmail.com or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

     

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Love isn't Easy


Love isn’t Easy!

"You unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
                                                                                                                                Mark 9:19 (NIV)

                Love is the greatest of all things given to man. However, loving people is not always easy to do. Not for me. Not for you. Not even for Jesus. Love includes sacrifice, struggle, and even frustration.       
 In Mark Chapter 9, Jesus asks the disciples, “How long must I put up with you?” You can sense the frustration He must have had.  A man had brought his son to the disciples hoping they would drive out the evil spirit that had possessed his son, but they could not. Where was their faith? Jesus said they had no faith.  The disciples, men hand selected to become followers of Christ who had witnessed His miracles, walked with Him daily and had listened to His teachings, could not muster enough faith to cast out an evil spirit. That had to have been very frustrating for Jesus. It is almost as if I can hear Jesus saying, “What is it going to take for you men to believe, REALLY BELIEVE? What else is it going to take?
How long did Jesus have to “put up” with them? It was long enough to be called a lunatic and a liar by the brothers and neighbors. It was long enough to be run out of His own town and even His Temple… Until He had been betrayed, arrested, denied three times, flogged, humiliated, mocked, spat upon, and nailed to a cross with an audience of demons celebrating a dying God. He “put up” with it long enough for every sin to be absorbed by His perfect, spotless, and sinless soul… Long enough to feel complete separation from His Heavenly Father and verbally announce, “It is finished.” The question was, “How long must I put up with you? And Jesus answered…Until it kills me.  
Love is not easy. We choose everyday whether to love or not. It is not a simple emotion. Love is an action, and it takes a toll on us sometimes. Jesus has told us to love others as He has loved us.  I challenge you to think of the one person that irritates you the most and pray for them every day for the next week.   If you have direct contact with that person make a genuine attempt to show them love in some way.  Love like Jesus.

Written in service to my first love – Jesus Christ,
Kelli Porter
I look forward to your comments. If you accept my challenge, please share your results. It may encourage others:
Twitter - @disciplekp

Friday, October 18, 2013

We Will Wait Upon the Lord


Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

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.

Lately I have been dealing with several battles in my life all at once. And all too often I have noticed myself trying to take matters into my own hands. I'll say a prayer about it and think I'm going to let the Lord handle this but before I know it there I go taking it back from Him and trying to fix it myself. I know this is wrong. I know that Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." 

This is an amazing verse to me! It's telling us that we don't have to deal with hard situations on our own. All we have to do is trust in the Lord. All we have to do is put or trust in the Lord and wait on Him to show us the way! This is awesome to me! A wonderful promise straight from God just for us!

The only problem is sometimes we forget His promises. It's too easy to do when we get so anxious and in a hurry to get through a trial or a hard situation. We think that we have to take action ourselves if we are we are going to make it whatever it may be.

I think, (for myself especially), that we are so use to trying to depend on people in our lives who continually let us down. And It causes a mentality that if we want something done right we have to do it ourselves. I think sometimes, unintentionally, we let that mentality carry over when we are suppose to be waiting on God for a break through.

This, of course, is unfortunate and absurd. God is perfect, infinite, all-knowing, all-seeing, the creator of intelligence and time! He cares about His children and everything that matters to them! We should trust the Lord in every and ALL situations and decisions in our lives!

We simply have to be patient, pray incessantly, and know that God can and will take care of everything we need!

We can't even come close to fixing something as seamlessly as bthe Lord. When He piece things together He sees the WHOLE big picture. He knows our past, present, and future better than we ever could! We see only a small part of the picture and forget half of it and misunderstand the rest. We wind up trying to fit pieces in that don't even go to our puzzle! We just need to stand back and let the Lord paint the masterpiece He has in mind for our lives and quit playing in His paint! (sorry for all the jumbled metaphors lol)

So today, decide with me, to start giving things in your life to the Lord with out taking them back out of His capable hands. Be patient and wait on Him. Pray for His will to be revealed to you and manifested in your life. Trust only in Him and not in yourself. Our judgment is flawed; we are flawed. Only through Jesus are we made righteous. Only when we trust in Him wholeheartedly will He be glorified through us! He only has good plans for us. We have to let Him put them into action. We must stay in His will and out of His way!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Inherit the earth and reign with Jesus!!

Psalm 37:7-9 Rest in the  Lord , and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the  Lord , they shall inherit the earth.

Sometimes I look around at all that's going on in the world today and I ask, "God where are you?".  Sin is running rampant even among believers!! Evil is everywhere it seems!! Just in the last few weeks, in communities around my home there have been murders, murder/suicide, homes broken into, city leaders arrested for sex crimes, people accused of stealing money from school programs, the list could go on and on. I turn on the TV and there is even more sin. Politicians fighting among themselves. They claim they want what's best for the people, but it seems it's really about what's best for them. "Entertainment News" shows telling me about what the latest "hot" celebrities are up to. These stories are mostly full of their sinful acts.

It seems as if the people who are prospering and who are successful are the ones who are living for the things of this world. Whether it's money, fame, sex whatever the world can give them. I'll admit that I don't always understand!! BUT, The Word of God tells us "do not fret because of him who prospers in his way." "Evil-doers shall be cut-off." We are to rest in the Lord and patiently wait on Him and His return. I believe that His return is sooner than most of us want to think. But, those who choose to wait on Him, those who have made the choice to trust in Him as their Lord and Savior shall inherit the earth! In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes, "If we endure, we shall reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (2 Tim. 2:12)

Now, I don't know about you but I do not want to be denied by Jesus!!! I want to reign with Him!!! I want not only my words but my life to show that He is Lord!! I don't want to be one of those "Christians" that talks about Him as my Savior but lives a life full of sin and disobedience. Am I perfect? NO!! Do I sin? YES!! But, I want to never become someone who can rationalize sin. I don't want to be someone who thinks "I'll do this and ask for forgiveness latter."

I want to live in total dependence on God! In his book "The Spirit of Python" Jentezen Franklin writes "To the extent that you depend on yourself and what you can do, that's how much you defuse God's power in your life." If we choose to "go it alone" not only will we defuse His power to work in our lives but, in denying Him WE choose His denying us!!

If you have already accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior but have not been living a life of true surrender to Him, I pray this has awakened your Spirit. I pray from this day forward you will live totally for Him. That you will be one whom He will not deny and one that will reign with Jesus upon His return!!

If you have read this and have not accepted Jesus as Savior, I pray this has opened your heart to His love for you and your need for Him. Below is a list of Scriptures that will help you to make the choice to follow Him.

Romans 3:23 - Man's Need
Romans 6:23 - Sin's Penalty
Romans 5:8 - God's Provision
Romans 10:9-10 - Man's Response
Romans 10:13 - God's Response

If you have made the choice to make Jesus your Lord, seek out a church that is a Bible believing, Bible teaching church. Of course, we would LOVE to have you at AwakeningLife, but I realize many of you live far away!!

This post was written from the heart of Beth Reed. I pray this post has impacted your life and encouraged you in some way. I would love to hear from you.
Email - beffie221@gmail.com
Twitter - Beffie221
Instagram - Beffie221

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over

It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over
"...the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!"  I Cor. 5:17 AMP

I think about Ruth from the Bible. They named a whole Book after her. Ruth was the ultimate risk-taker. Her husband had died, she had no children and there was a famine on. Her Mother-In-Law, also a widow, was one of God's chosen people and was going home to Judah. Ruth left her home and her people to go with Naomi to strange land where she didn't know anybody and found a new beginning. Isn't God like that?

Ruth risked it all to follow God and His plan. She risked bodily harm, public disgrace and humiliation to follow the Father's Divine Plan for her.

How often do we just give up and go back to a land of famine like Ruth's Sister-In-Law did. Maybe because it's familiar. Boaz told Ruth to "fear not" (Ruth 3:11) and she got the Grand Prize. A good husband and a child that ended up being in the Blood Line of Jesus.

Never give up, never quit.

It's worth the risk.

Prayer: Dear Father, You have a good plan for me and part of that plan is spreading the Good News about Your Son Jesus. I pray that I would live out the good plan that you have for me and that I wouldn't be afraid to risk it all for the sake of Your Son Jesus. In Whose Name I pray. Amen.


From the heart of 
Cheryl Patton


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Silencing your critics


"God made you as you are to use you as he planned."

Romans 15:7
Accept one another, then, just as christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God.

A persons inherit value and potential don't depend on family background or social status or even what they achieve in life. The way you treat those around you shouldn't depend on their race, handicap, physical apperance or economic status.

"Beauty comes in all ages, color, shapes or forms.God never makes junk"

At some point in our lives we all have felt like we just aren't good enough. We feel rejected and judged by family, friends or spouse. You may feel like you can't ever do anything right at home or work.

Rejection doesn't discriminate it goes after each one of us. I believe the devil works over time to make everyone feel rejected or let down. He preys upon people that have been given spiritual gifts from God so that we may get distracted and truly feel unworthy of our gift or passion.

The devil will put people in our paths to trip us up and put negative thoughts in our minds. He will set up conflict in our hearts so we don't feel "good enough" to persue our talents. Therefore we focus on the negative attention and lose focus on our goal.

Discouraging words, rejection and failure can beat you up so bad that you want to throw in the towel. To avoid the crushing power of the devil you have to use the authority given to you by Christ and put satan in his place!

We as christians sometimes are most guilty of making one another feel rejected or unworthy.

Matthew 5:9 reminds us by saying : you are blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete and fight. Thats when you'll discover who you really are and your place in Gods family.

So we shouldn't fight or compete with other christains. We shouldnt cut one another down but yet build each other up. Be kind and show love and support.

If your not careful you will bite into a bitter mouthful of disappointment. Don't let it ruin your appetite for your lifes purpose. Bitterness pollutes how you precieve everything in life. It will distract and hurt you.

Can you imagine the impact we christains would have on the world if we wasn't so busy fighting among ourselves? We need to try to bring unity to people lives that surrounds us. 
Here are some tips to try.
1. Be humble and encouage others
2. Don't label people
3. Avoid gossip!! Gossip has destroyed friendships,  fueled fueds and divided churches.

With closing this devotional I say learn from failure and rejection. Let them fuel your determination. Hang on to all those negative letters, reports and evaluations. Who knows you may want to frame them one day! Because every failure or let down enriches you as a person. It makes you who you are down the road.

I pray that each person that reads this will know their worth and know God doesn't make mistakes and you was put here on purpose. No matter what you've been through who has told you that your not good enough remember that you are good enough and you do have a purpose because God takes no bodies and makes some bodies;  I'll call the un loved and make them beloved. Romans 9:25.

Written by : Summer Hamilton

Monday, October 14, 2013

Open-Door Policy

"Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand,“Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored." Mark 3:1-5


          

          There is always an excuse. There is always doubt. There is always a neigh-sayer. Every person with a vice, a struggle, a problem, or a sin has someone else looking on saying, "No, you will never be different;" "No, it's utterly impossible for you to change;" "No, there is no one to help you." Even Christ, the man who healed diseases and restored life to the dead, faced neigh-sayers. The Pharisees and Sadducees constantly berated Jesus. They looked upon His every move with disdain and disgust, attempting to accuse Him of wrongdoing and label Him incapable and insufficient. 

          In Mark chapter 3, we see Jesus Christ, Healer, at work. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and found a man there with a withered hand. The "holy" men, the Pharisees and Sadducees, watched Jesus closely, wondering if He would dare defy the law to heal this man. Our Jesus saw a need, and He acted upon it. He didn't wait for the "correct" day or time. He simply healed the man's hand. Oh were those holy men raging with anger! Jesus Christ, the supposed Son of God, worked on the Sabbath!!!! How dare He!!!! The Pharisees were none too happy with the day Jesus chose to heal this man, but Christ countered that any day is the perfect day for complete restoration. 

          In our lives, there will always be someone in our ears whispering to us the impossibilities of our hopes to be a better person, our dreams to change, and our desires to grow. Sometimes, we will be our own Pharisees and Sadducees, doubting ourselves, looking for ways to incriminate ourselves and even our God for not doing the job correctly. It is so easy to let all the negativity overcome us. We forget who we are, what we are meant to do, and what God has promised us. We suffer days, weeks, and sometimes years of apathy, depression, doubt, and anger. We wait for the "correct" time to come to God: the day we follow the rules, the day we clean up our acts, the day we feel worthy. 

          We must always remember Jesus and how He handled His own neigh-sayers. He didn't let the doubt and accusations of these men cloud His own purpose. He didn't stop seeking after His Father or stop being about His Father's work. He didn't let the words these men spoke stop Him from growing in the Lord, and He didn't let these men stop others from being blessed. He continued healing, ministering, and loving despite who or what came against Him. He knew that the perfect time to do what God had called Him to do was now. 

          Thankfully, we know that Jesus, God on Earth, is the same today as He was then (Hebrews 13:8.) He doesn't care what anyone else is saying to you or what you are saying to yourself. He doesn't care if you are perfect, if you have your act together, if you are at the bottom of the barrel or the top of the ladder. He knows your heart; He knows your struggles. He sees where you need healing. Just as He didn't wait another day to heal the man's withered hand, He won't wait another day to take care of you. He can be your very present comfort, holding you, guiding you, healing you, and teaching you. Through all the doubt and negativity, He is reaching out, lovingly imploring you to take His hand and remember His promise: 

     Despite what anyone else would say, any day is a day of complete restoration.

          Don't wait another minute. Don't let another negative thought cross your mind or another negative person speak out against you. Remember that God is in the business of helping NOW. His answers don't always manifest themselves in our lives when we think they should, be His Word always gives us the present comfort and hope we need. Go to God with what you have. Stop letting the present day Pharisees and Sadducees (including yourself) have power over your needs, your dreams, and your desires. Our God is an ever present help in time of need. He is a God with an open-door policy. He doesn't care the day nor the hour, He will sustain you.