Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reflections4Life: "Is It a Godly Anger?"

Reflections Sunday, May 26th, 2013
Is It a Godly Anger?”
When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.” Ephesians 4:26
Scripture Reading For This Week: Exodus 34:5-7; Deuteronomy 6:15; Job 35; Psalm 103; Proverbs 16:32; Proverbs 22:4; Ephesians 4...
When one considers the circumstances occurring in this world at this time, how can one not be filled with anger? Yet, is it a constructive anger; a godly anger, or anger that leads to bad behavior, malice, and bitterness? It is very easy to cross the line and sin in our anger, when we allow our emotions to rule and do not take everything to the Father in prayer.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement for your heart, mind, and soul. Should you be facing a situation that has caused anger to rise up in you, I pray that you would go to the Father and allow Him to lead you, so that you may not sin in your anger. Or, allow anger to turn into bitterness and regrets. A spirit of anger can cripple you. God has far more for you to do.
How many times have you become so angry that your emotions got the better of you, acting upon that anger, only to have profound regrets later? That's usually what happens. We blow up, acting out of anger, and we end up feeling worse than we did before. Anger can cause a vicious cycle if we are not careful.
Anger breeds anger. Angry people who do not check their anger, become bitter people and spread their anger like a virus to the lives of others. The emotion of anger can be contagious. All it takes is one angry person to come into a room and change the atmosphere. If those there do not know how to process or channel anger, they will find themselves becoming angry, as well.
It is one thing to have a godly anger; to be angry at the injustices and actions of another that are causing hurt and pain to a person or people. To have a righteous anger for things that are out of the will of God, and a desire to see things as God has ordained. However, it a whole other thing to be angry and filled with rage, that you have a difficult time letting go, or releasing that anger; causing you to act out of character or to bring harm to another, whether verbally or physically. To be filled with such wrath that it sets the tone for your day, and it inhibits your life from moving forward, allowing a spirit of bitterness and contempt to settle in.
Have you ever encountered a bitter person? I have. It was the most unpleasant encounter. No doubt, that bitter person was filled with so much anger, that they couldn't let it go. It caused them to close their heart off to others; allowing the anger to settle in that they could not forgive or move forward in life. The anger had consumed them so much, that they pushed everyone that loved them away. Anger robbed them of joy, happiness, peace and even love. It left them with a spirit of bitterness, loneliness, and also a spirit of self-righteousness. It was truly a sad thing to behold. Everyone else was wrong, and they were right. And, they believed they had a right to be angry because of what was done to them.
Yes. We have a right to get angry. But we do not have the God-given right to stay angry, and to allow that anger to bring sin into our lives. We do not have the luxury of time to allow a spirit of anger to rob us of what God has ordained for our lives, or to bring that spirit of anger into the lives of others.
Ephesians 4:29-32 (NASB) “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
When we read the word of God, it is quite clear the damage that comes from a spirit of anger. The Father admonishes us to steer clear of a spirit of anger; to not let it rule us or govern our lives that we miss out on the blessings of God for our lives.
Anger unchecked and allowed to fester grows into a monster that is hard to put back in its bottle. It is like trying to place an adult back into the womb—not going to happen! It can cause irreparable damage to not only self, but those in the crossfire of that anger. Before one knows it, actions have occurred for which there is no returning from.
Yes. We may get angry at a situation. We may get angry at what someone has done to us or those we love. However, we must not allow that anger to dictate who we are and what we do. We must learn to give that anger to the Lord. We must teach ourselves to respond, rather than react to the anger. We must also learn how to release anger in a healthy way.
The emotion of anger can be toxic physically, emotionally, and mentally. It can cripple us if we do not know how to deal with it, or to let it go. And rest assure, however we deal with anger, we teach our children to do the same. Constantly reacting to anger and lashing out and exploding, we pass on that same behavior to our children. And chances are they will do the same—creating a behavior that can go on for generations to come.
Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city.
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.
Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do not associate...
Do not allow a spirit of anger to rob you of the blessings of God. Do not allow anger to turn into bitterness and contempt, making your life full of regrets and loneliness. In your anger, take it to God. Allow Him to direct your paths and to your knees in prayer. Don't sin in your anger, making things worse. Give it to God and allow Him to free you, and to bring a spirit of peace and calm.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your life: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. God has granted you a spirit of peace to transcend all anger. Respond to the wisdom of God, rather than react to the emotion of anger. Walk in the peace and comfort of God, knowing that whatever comes your way, you can get through it with God on your side. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

No More Doubts

Reflections May 19th, 2013
No More Doubts”
And the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.'” 1 Kings 17:24
Scripture Reading For This Week: Genesis 15; 1 Kings 17; 18; 19; Habakkuk 2; John 10; 12...
It is so easy to lose faith and to be filled with doubt when we place our focus upon the circumstances instead of the word of God. God desires for you to believe Him with all of your hearts. And if you are struggling in any way—believing what God has promised you, then allow the Father to remind you of His promises and His power, so that you will have no more doubts.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a constant and continuous source of encouragement for your heart, mind, and soul. This is the week that all doubts will be eradicated, and your faith stirred up, as you stand upon the word of God and His promises to you.
Let's face it; when we first receive a word from the Lord, and we understand His promises and what He has spoken to our hearts—we are strong in our faith and we will declare what the Father has spoken concerning our lives with enthusiasm and complete faith. Then time happens. We wait, and we believe, but the seasons go by, the calendar changes and we are still waiting. Others seem to have received their promises. People begin to ask you: Didn't you say God said? The enemy begins to whisper: Did God really say that? Maybe you heard Him wrong. You know, He will not come through for you. Look how long it's taking. He's forgotten about you.
I know; I've been there. But neither time, circumstances, words of people around us, or whispers of the enemy changes what God has spoken and has promised. It will come to pass. Every. Single. Promise. We must continue to believe and have faith; even when it feels to painful to do so, or the situation impossible.
During my study time this week, I was reading 1 Kings 17. The Lord told the prophet Elijah to go to Zarapheth where He had instructed a widow woman to sustain him. At this time, there was no rain in the land, because Elijah had prayed so. Elijah asked the widow to bake him a cake. She told him that all she had was a little meal and some oil, that she was going to use to bake a cake for her and her son to eat and then die. He instructed her to bake him a cake first. He then told her that her barrel of meal and cruse of oil will stay replenished until the lord sends rain.
1 Kings 17:8-16 NASB “8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’” 15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.
As I studied the 17th chapter of 1 Kings, it occurred to me that at some point in time, perhaps this widow woman had begin to doubt; to doubt that Elijah was a man of God and spoke for the Lord. Yes. She'd seen the miracle of God in the meal and oil. But it still had not rained. The drought in the land was severe. Maybe Elijah was wrong? Maybe the meal and oil would not last? Maybe he was not a man of God, but one of Jezebel's prophets.
At some point, doubt entered into this widow's heart concerning what the Prophet Elijah had spoken. Even though she'd seen with her own eyes the meal and oil; time had effected her perception, and caused doubt. There was no rain, and the land was suffering.
It is easy for us to forget what God has already done for us, and what He has promised when we look at the situation we are face with, and the length of time that it seems to be taking for the promises to come to pass. While waiting, we may grow weary and begin to doubt that which God has spoken concerning our lives because we don't see anything happening, or it is taking some time for the promise to come to pass.
Here's my reasoning for believing that doubt began to settle in the widow. At some point during Elijah's stay, her son becomes ill, loses his breath and dies...
1 Kings 17: 17-24 NASB 17 Now it came about after these things that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his sickness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What do I have to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death!” 19 He said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray You, let this child’s life return [o]to him.” 22 The Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.”
And this is how she responds, which is my reason for believing that doubt began to settle in:
verse 24: Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”
Beloveds, there are times in our life when God has spoken a word to us. He has sent His messengers, His prophets, His teachers, His shepherds. We receive the word. We wait. We even have been blessed and seen miracles and God move in such a way that we were certain it was God. Yet, there is still that promise; that one or two things that God said He was going to do that had yet to come to pass. And in the midst of our waiting, we begin to doubt. We begin to question if it will surely come to pass. Although we have experienced blessings in many areas. We have witnessed the move of God in many ways; doubt can still arise when we take our eyes off of God and begin to count the seconds and minutes of the clock.
It is in these times that I believe God will move exponentially in some way, and we will witness His hand in such a mighty way, that every doubt is eradicated. That, every voice that is contrary to what God has said is shut up. Our faith is recharged and we again can wait with expectation and hope that whatever God has spoken—no matter how long the wait—it will come to pass because God said so!
Perhaps the widow had her doubts from the beginning about Elijah. It was not uncommon for soothsayers and magicians in that time. For people, just as today, to say they spoke for God, but knew nothing of the One true God. In the midst of her waiting for the rain, and the surfacing of doubt arising, tragedy occurred, taking the life of her son. But God used his prophet, and restored the life of her son, and her faith in the Lord, and that Elijah truly spoke for the Lord.
What have you been waiting for the Lord to bring to pass in your life? What promises have you been waiting to see manifested. I have a few. And I refuses to give in. I will believe with every part of me that whatever God has spoken is surely coming to pass. And if there be any doubt in me, I pray that He'd remove it and deliver me from any unbelief. Because I do know: There is NOTHING impossible for God!
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity will find rest in your lives: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. Believe in the word that the Father has spoken to you. Stand on His word. Meditate on it day and night; allowing it to wash away all doubts. You are blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Reflections May 12th, 2013
Abundant Love's Power”
The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3
Scripture Reading For this Week: Proverbs 31; Jeremiah 17; 31; John 3; 15; Ephesians 5; 1 Timothy 5...
Happy Mother's Day! I pray that this day is extra special for each and every mother, expectant mother, those who will be mothers, and those who mother other children as though they were theirs. May God continually bless you and shine His love upon you and all that you do!
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued and constant source of encouragement for your heart, mind and soul. As you stand in receipt of your blessings, and continue to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of love, may you continue to reach forth to others and share that love.
Many things come to my mind when I think of mothers. My own relationship with my mother naturally comes to mind. My own skills as a mother come to mind, also. However, what comes to my mind the most is what God says about mothers and the gift that He has placed in each and every woman.
The first word that comes to mind when I think mother, is love. The love that is associated with being a mother; the caring, the concern, the loving and nurturing ways of a mother. Of course I know that not every woman that has birthed a child has motherly instincts or behaves like a mother ought to. For those women, I feel sorry for. Perhaps they never had the kind of healing love of a mother that taught and instilled in them the strengths and values of a mother who loves unconditionally.
Through out the word of God we see many mothers and their characteristics. Some were good, some were horrible, but there was a lesson to learn from each and everyone. We have prime examples in the word of God on how a mother should be. What God has ordained for the role of a mother.
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her: Proverbs 31:10, 27-28 KJ21
When I think of my mother, I think of unconditional love. When I think on my Grams, my Nana, my Aunties; I think of unconditional love. These women who raised and taught me, showed me nothing but unconditional love. I was surrounded with an abundance of love. It wasn't until I went to college that I truly understood that not everyone was as blessed as I was when it came to that kind of love.
Do you know that love makes a difference? Do you realize how powerful unconditional love is? Do you know what the presence of abundant love will do for a child? It makes all the difference in the world.
A home that is filled with abundant love will find that there will be peace in that home. Even if there should be a little turbulence at times, peace will settle in because the love in that house commands it to be so. Love is powerful that way. And I believe most miss it, because they miss the fact that love is God and God is love. And wherever God is, there will be peace.
Each one of us comes with an abundance of love. We are born into this world, created with abundant love, waiting to be nurtured and fed. Hate is a learned behavior. And where there is an absence of love, hate and bitterness, and selfishness have the opportunity to grow.
Mothers have so much power, that I don't believe many realize it. Even while a child is in the womb, the mother has the ability to influence that child. Not by just by caring for herself physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. The connection between that child and its mother is the difference between life and death. And a woman who understands the power of love and how it can change the life of a child, is one who understands about motherhood.
Whether you gave birth to a child or chose to adopt or are mothering other children; you already know the difference that love can bring into a child's life. Mothers have the power to change the world in the way in which they love and raise their children.
I think of Moses in this instance. His birthed mother loved him and knew to save him, she must let him go. Pharaoh’s daughter loved and raised him, and gave him the love and nurturing that help shape the man that he became. With her love and the exposure she gave him to freedom, Moses was in the position to become who God ordained him to be.
Hannah, who was barren, prayed earnestly. She longed for a child. Although her husband, Elkanah, loved her and lavished her with much, it did not take away the yearning in her heart for children. Before she became a mother, Hannah had a mother's heart. She thought like a mother, loved like a mother. And God blessed her. In that love, she too recognized the gift God have given her. She nurtured her son, pouring into him all the love she had. Then, she gave Samuel back to God.
God trusted Hannah. He trusted Jochabed and the Pharaoh's daughter. He trusted them to be the mothers he ordained them to be that would bring forth mighty men. In the like, God trusts us today. He trusts us with children, to raise and strengthen them and to do right by them.
When we walk in the unconditional love of God, the abundance of that love exudes in every area of our lives. It is evident in all that we do. And that abundance of love spills over into the lives of others, bringing healing, comfort, joy, and even strength.
I can't begin to say how many times that I have been hurt to the core of my heart, and how much healing and strength I received just by being able to speak to my Mom or my Grams, and receive a refill of their abundant love. It was refreshing, and healing, and comforting.
You know that song—What the World Needs Now (Is Love) ? It's true. It needs abundant love. It needs the kind of love that mother's had back in the day when my Grandmother was raising her babies. That unconditional love. The kind of love where it did not matter whose child you were; if you needed mothering, there was someone in the community who was going to shower you with that love and wisdom. We need God love. That unconditional love that makes room for every person, no matter what path they've taken in life.
I decree that this week will find the spirit of peace and of prosperity finding permanent rest in your lives: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. Love the way God loves. Love abundantly. There is someone who needs the benefit of that love. Once again, Happy Mother's Day! You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

"With an Expectant Heart" Reflections, May 5, 2013

Reflections May 5th, 2013
With an Expectant Heart”
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” Philippians 4:6-7 CEV
Scripture Reading For This Week: Isaiah 28; Isaiah 51; Micah 7; Luke 6; James 5...
With an expectant heart, filled with joy and peace, I wait for the Lord to fulfill His promises concerning my life. Regardless to whom or what I may face; I wait with an expectant heart that whatever God has spoken concerning my life IS coming to pass. While I wait, I pray, and I do whatever the Father asks of me. I am about my Father's business. For, I am certain He is about mine.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a constant source of encouragement for your heart, soul, and mind. With an expectant heart, wait on the Lord and follow His directions. God has already worked things out for your good. Keep praying and believing. God is just getting started!
When you have experienced much disappointment in your life, it is easy to become jaded when it comes to receiving good news. You tend to lean more towards the side of pessimism, rather than optimism. When you hear a word from the Lord; when some good news or promise of something great occurring; because of your past experiences, or seeming delay in your prayers being answered—you may find yourself doubting the good news. Your heart no longer expects the greatness of God being fulfilled. Instead, you automatically begin to doubt the word, as negative thoughts seep through your mind then come forth from your mouth.
I understand. I have been there. There are some of us that do not even want to pray anymore. We have been fooled into believing that prayer does not work. The devil is a lie! Prayer still works. And when you pray with an expectant heart, believing that God has not only heard you but has answered, you with stand strong and wait on the Lord to deliver His promises. There will be no doubt. And your heart will increase in its expectancy of the promises of God.
How do I know? Because I am living it! I am living proof of wanting something so bad, and believing what God has spoken to you, then going through a dark period where it seems that God is silent, and not one single prayer is being answered. It is as if God had abandoned me, and Heaven was closed to my prayers and my cries. But I have learned that during those silent times, God is moving mightily on my behalf. He is doing something so phenomenal that it goes far beyond what I even asked Him! Hallelujah!
Let me tell you something, Beloved—Prayer Still Works! No matter what the circumstance or situation is dictating, it will never outweigh or speak louder than the voice of God and what He has promised and ordained for your life. It is imperative that we keep an expectant heart concerning the promises of God. That, we are constantly meditating on His word. Feeding our souls from the Book of Life. Speaking to ourselves what God has spoken concerning us. Surrounding ourselves with like minded people. Being strong in our convictions concerning our faith. And when we pray, pray fervently and with all sincerity and belief.
James 5:16b-18 “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.” (Message Bible)
We must pray according to what God has ordained. I have learned that there are things we ask of God that are not for us, not good for us, or to us. We have desires for things that have not been sanctioned by our Father. It is not in His will for us; yet we fight, whine, plead to have it, and get mad when God does not give us what we want. The expectant heart that yearns for God's will shall receive. The expectant heart that waits for his own will to be done will run into disappointment and heartache.
James 4:1-6 1-2 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. 2-3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way. 4-6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.” (Message Bible)
What's in your heart today? Do you have an expectant heart? Do you believe that what God has spoken concerning your life is coming to pass? Do you KNOW what God has spoken concerning your life? Maybe that's where many of us lose heart and focus—we don't know what God has spoken concerning our lives. If this is so, then it's time to find out. It's time to seek the face of God and find out what He has ordained for you. Then once you know, you will know what to expect and what to pray and fight for! Trust: we are in a war against the enemy. And if you don't know what you are fighting for, then how can you fight your best fight? How can you give your all to something you know nothing of? ASK THE FATHER. God will tell you. Prayer still works! Seek His face early. Look to the Lord and trust in Him; for He has the answers you seek. And when you find them, keep an expectant heart for that which God has ordained just for you!
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity will find permanent rest in your life: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. Let your heart be filled with expectancy for the things of God. Believe in what the Father has spoken concerning you. Walk in His truth. Walk in your truth. Seek God with all your heart, mind and soul. And know that a delay is not a denial. God has the absolute best for you! And there is indeed power in your prayers! You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Getting Personal With Your Faith - African American Culture

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