Sunday, September 29, 2013

Reflections4Life: Conflict Resolution

Reflections4Life September 29th, 2013
Conflict Resolution”
And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).” Luke 17:4 AMP
Scripture Contemplation: Proverbs 17:9; 19:11;Ecclesiastes 10:4; Matthew 11; Acts 24; Ephesians 1; James 5...
There is so much anger circulating through our lives; in our families, our marriages, our jobs. Many are wound up tight and can explode at the slightest gesture. However, what I've come to understand is that underneath all of that anger, is hurt. Somewhere, at some time, someone was hurt. Perhaps deeply wounded. And that hurt causes anger. And until we can get to the root of the hurt, and learn that the answer to healing that hurt is forgiveness and love, we will remain in constant conflict.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflection will be a continued source of encouragement and enlightenment for your heart, mind, and soul. May you be free from all hurt and anger by allowing the spirit of forgiveness to find its place within your heart. And to learn to love in spite of and not just because of.
We miss out on so many joys in life, because we are allowing anger, resentment, and unforgiveness, keep us bound—bound to the past. Bound to the past and the people that have hurt us in some way or another. When we do not let go of the hurt, we are in constant conflict. Not just with that person we have an offense with, but with others, also. Hurt has many tentacles. It grows with every passing day we do not resolve it. It spreads like cancer throughout our lives and relationships; often times in places we would never think, taking on a new form, under a new name.
Hurt will mask itself as anger, resentment, bitterness, disinterest, hate, conflict of any sort. I am certain you've heard the saying: Hurt people, hurt people. Well, it is true. When people are hurt, whether it is on purpose or not, they will hurt others. It is a vicious cycle that can spiral out of control if the hurt is not addressed and dealt with.
Here's the solution to the hurt: forgiveness and unconditional love. Forgiveness will bring healing to the hurt and bring resolution to many conflicts. Yet, many do not understand that forgiveness is not for the offender, but it is for you; to free you and keep you from being bound. Forgiveness brings healing to the hurt and releases you from being bound to a person that hurt you. Unconditional love enables you to love the person, in spite of their actions. You do not have to like their ways. But you can love them; even if its from a distance.
Often, we will hold onto the hurt and anger as a badge to remember what we have been through. More often than not, however, the person who has hurt us doesn't remember, doesn't know, or doesn't even care. They often move on with their lives, as we stay stuck in a moment. A moment that can take over our lives, and leave us stagnated and filled with rage and anger and bitterness. A person who no one wants to be around. A person who is incapable of giving or receiving love.
James 5:16,17 “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” MSG
James 1:19-21 “Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” MSG
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].” AMP
There is a reason the Word of God admonishes us to be free of anger, to let love lead us, to have a heart of forgiveness; God knows, and we must understand that forgiveness is healing. Forgiveness releases us from that spirit of hurt that can cause us to live a life that is far less than what God has ordained for us. And to love as God loves frees us from trying to make a person someone that only can make them. All we can do is love; even it's from a distance. But when we love, we are allowing Holy Spirit to live and love through us, and we are no longer bound by the actions of another; but free to move on in our lives and will that God has ordained for us.
Don't allow the actions of another to dictate the content and quality of your life. Forgive for yourself. Free yourself from the hurt and pain. Love them in spite of. Move forward and live your life the way God has ordained. You cannot live a life that is full and rewarding if you are bound by a spirit of unforgiveness and hate. Don't allow those to have hurt you—no matter who they are—to hold you hostage to a moment in time. Release it. Release the hurt, the anger, the resentment. God has so much more for you than what you feel you may have been robbed of by another. Allow God to fill your cup, and bless you the way He desires. Forgive. Love. Move on. And receive the abundance that God has ordained for your life.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. Let the peace of God rest, rule and abide within you. Forgiveness is a gift and restorer for you. Walk in it, and in the love of God, and be free from the past that would try and hold you from a future that God has ordained just for you! You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reflections4Life: "Be of Good Character"

Reflections4Life September 22nd, 2013
Be of Good Character”
A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst. Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life. Good character is the best insurance; crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.” Proverbs 11:4-6
Scripture Contemplation: Proverbs 8;11; 20; Matthew 7:15-20; Matthew 13; 1 Timothy 4; 2 Peter 1...
How would you define your character? How would others define your character? Often times we see ourselves in an obscured light. But, when we have Christ on the inside, and we yield to His character, our character becomes of a reflection of that which resides within our heart. God desires that we be of good character. That, we walk in righteousness and allow Christ in us to live.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Allow God to lead you, and allow Christ within to shine without. Let your character be above reproach. Be diligent in your word. Allow people to see Christ in you, so that they may want to know Him, too.
We fall short often. We proclaim that we are children of God; believers of the word; that we walk in the love of Christ. Yet, many of us have characters that leave a lot to be desired. Can we be honest with each other? Can we tell the truth and shame the devil—as the old folks would say? There are many of us saying that we love the Lord with all our heart. That, we are believers in the body of Christ. Yet, our character sucks! There...I said it! Some of us have characters that leave a lot to be desired. And we do not look anything or sound anything like Christ—who we profess to love and represent.
There was a time when we would be in church, and we were shining lights of the goodness and character of Jesus, then waited until we were outside of church to act a fool. Now, even in church, we are acting less that Christ-like. We are displaying characters that are far from what God would call righteous or holy or Christ-like. We are mean and bitter towards one another. We harbor ill-will and hold un-forgiveness like a badge of honor. Where did we get off track?
Our character must be one above reproach. When we say we are believers; when we say we love the Lord; when we say we want to attract all that is good, and righteous, and holy; then we must be first in representing that which we desire to receive from others. We must be who we say we are.
There are far too many imposters running around claiming that they know the Lord, and represent Him. There are wolves in sheep clothing coming to fleece the flock. There are imposters posing as true believers and lovers of God and the word, just to steal, kill, and rob the children of God, and destroy those who are seeking to know God. It is easy for many of them to slip in unnoticed, because too many of us that believe in the Lord, have accepted Christ as our Savior, have been living a lie. We, ourselves, have not totally surrendered to God. We have not yielded our all to the Father. We have been living as the Laodiceans—lukewarm. Our character has been less than godly. We have not honored our word to others, to God, to ourselves. We have been poor representations of Christ. And because of this, we have created open doors for the enemy to slip in.
If we, who say we love the Lord, behave in such a manner that is unbecoming and far from the character of Christ; how can we possibly be a shining light for those who need the Lord? For those that are seeking the Father? For those who are on the brink of losing their very life?
How many times have we heard people say: If that's what it means to be a Christian, I don't want any parts of it! I know I have many times. Why? Because many of us who call ourselves believers are not living the word. Our character leaves much to be desired. We are not representing the Father.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (ASV) “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals. Awake to soberness righteously, and sin not; for some have no knowledge of God: I speak this to move you to shame.”
Matthew 5:13-14 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”
We must be of good character. Character in the Bible is synonymous with righteousness. When we walk in righteousness, not with a righteous attitude—there is a difference—we are exemplifying the light of Christ. We are allowing Christ to live in us. We are seeking to please the Lord, and to live a life that is holy and acceptable unto God. Walking in righteousness is submitting all to the Father, and walking this path that will draw others in, and allow us to witness of the goodness of God. We are not judgmental, contentious, back-biting, unforgiving; but we are loving, understanding, forgiving, and uncompromising, and keepers of our word. We seek and strive to walk in integrity at all times.
It is imperative that we understand that our character says a lot about who we are and who we represent. Often times we profess one thing with our mouths, but our actions are speaking something totally different. For those of us who truly say we love the Lord, and that we represent Him, we must truly live it. There are far too many coming in the name of God, who are not of God, while those of us who say we truly love the Lord, have not been living a life that is acceptable to God. We have been lukewarm in our faith and in our relationship. Because of this, the enemy has been able to come in and wreak havoc on many souls.
It is time to stand up. To stand in righteousness. To repent, confess, and do what God has called us to do. It is time to not only speak the word, but live it and become the word. To, allow the Christ in us to to live, so that we may draw others to Him, and see them receive all that God has ordained for them. We often forget: we may be the only Jesus that some may ever see. So...what is your life saying?
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. Be of good character. Represent the Father well. Be the light that leads many to the throne of grace. Be the salt that adds flavor to the life of many. Be the ambassadors of Christ that represent Him well, in love, light, and truth. The ball is in your court. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing.

©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reflections4Life: Who Do You Love?

Reflections4Life September 15th, 2013
Who Do You Love?”
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 22; Genesis 29; Proverbs 3; Matthew 5; John 3; 1 Corinthians 13...

Who do you love? You really don't have to answer that. Your actions will speak for you. Your actions will tell the story of what and who resides in your heart. Some people can hide the truth for a while; but eventually all light stands out from darkness, and the truth about how you really feel will come to light.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and enlightenment for your heart, mind, and soul. Let the love of God fill you and penetrate every part of your soul, so that you may know how to love the way the Father loves. And know how to receive love, as well.
Many use the word love frivolously. I love this. I love that. I love movies. I love dessert. I love. I love. I love. Yet, our actions are speaking volumes concerning who we really love. Love is more than just an emotion. It is a force. It is power. It is the embodiment of God here in this earth. And when we really understand how precious and powerful love is; we'd be less likely to be frivolous in its use. And we would honor love by showing and giving love as God has commanded.
People are making choices every single day based upon how they feel at any given moment. They are saying with their mouths how much they love. How much they love their families, their spouse, their children, their career. Yet, the actions they are putting forth does not speak of love. Their actions are not reflecting the love they say they have in their hearts. Instead, what is being reflected is a spirit of selfishness, low self-esteem, resentfulness, animosity, sorrow, shame, and sometimes hate.
Matthew 6:20-22 “20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We are making life choices based upon what is residing in our hearts. What we treasure the most will be found in the core of our hearts. And that is what will occupy our time, energy and efforts. What do you treasure today? What is it that has a hold of your heart, that you will be willing to lay down your life if it came to that?
Many can walk around and speak words that sound lovely and correct. They may even be able to fool some people for some time. But you can never fool God. The Father knows our hearts. He knows where our treasure lies. He knows what is on our priority list. He knows how weak or how strong our love is. And He reaches towards us each and every day. Every day when we arise, it is a gift from God, and Him reaching toward us, so that He may fill us with Himself.
But we have rejected the Father. Our actions have dismissed the hand of God. Many have assumed that they can walk in this earth and do what they like, and no one would be the wiser of who they really are and what they really believe. Not true. Because the actions we take today have consequences for others tomorrow. Whether we see it or not, or acknowledge it.
Who do you love? Do you love God? Do you love your family? Do you love your friends? Do you love yourself? The truth is, many of us cannot give love or receive love or reciprocate love, because we do not love ourselves. How can you love anyone else when you have no love for yourself? How can receive or accept love, and believe in love, when you have trouble loving who you are? And that, my Beloveds, is at the core of so many who profess to love, but actions speak otherwise. This is why so many people can hurt their loved ones, and make poor decisions, because they lack self love. And without self love, you do not have the ability to recognize what is best or good for self. You make poor decisions that can have devastating consequences for those we you say you do love.
1 John 4:15-16 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
Beloved, if we confess that we believe in God, and that God is in us, then we must know that love is within us. And if God, who is love, resides in us, then how can we not love ourselves? God has poured His love in us. He has poured into us who and everything that He is. And because of this love; regardless to what life we have lived before accepting Christ, that love, God love, is residing within us. And if we open ourselves to that redemptive and healing love, then we will be able to not only love who we are, but love others the way God desires us to love.
Who do you love? Love is powerful. Love is healing. Love is delivering. Love is consuming. Love can change things in a moments time. Love is long-suffering. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is selfless. Love is forgiving.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Let the love of God fill you today. Let God fill you. Let Him pour Himself into every part of you; restoring your heart and soul. Healing the wounds of your past. Bringing deliverance to those areas you have never spoken about or shared with anyone. Let the Father into your secret place of pain and shame, so that He may bless you with beauty for your ashes, and double anointing for your shame. Let love in today so that you may be free to love the way God has ordained you to love. And that you may love yourself and God that is in you.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your life: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. Let God in. Let Him pour Himself into your heart and soul, and fill you with that love that consumes and restores and redeems, so that you may love yourself, and others unhindered and completely, just as God loves. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Reflections4Life: Live!

Reflections4Life September 8th, 2013
I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:42-44 NASB
Scripture Contemplation: Psalm 143; Ezekiel 18; John 11; 2 Timothy 9; Galatians 2; Ephesians 5...
The Father has loosed you from your grave clothes. When Jesus was resurrected, you were resurrected with Him. It is time for you to live. To live for Christ. To live your lives. To live it abundantly.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. You are blessed today because God has spoken it. May you understand this week just how much God loves you, and has already prepared a way for you, so that you may live this life to the fullest.
What are you waiting for? What is it that is keeping you from living your life? What has you bound today? God has decreed that you are no longer bound. Every chain, every bondage has been loosed by the death and resurrection of Christ. It is time for you to live.
Many of us wait for circumstances and situations to be “just” right before we extend ourselves, or begin to do things that we enjoy and love. Some of us have been waiting a long time for conditions to be the way we desire before we start to live our lives. To start doing the things we have been holding and planning in our hearts to do.
Guess what? If you continue to wait for everything to line up just right, you may be waiting for an eternity. Life will pass you by, and you will have nothing but regrets; wishing you would have just taken that first step—that step of faith.
We have a list of things and ideas that we want to accomplish in our lifetime. But everything will not always line up the way we desire before we start living the life we desire. We just have to begin living out our dreams now. When God is for you and has ordained you, and has blessed you; you do not have to wait for the situation to be just right. All you need is the green light from God, and go forth!
I can guarantee that there will be times when God will tell you to go forth now, and you will look at the circumstances, and they will not be conducive to what you want to do. In fact, it will seem impossible for you to do what God is telling you to do. But that is how God does it most times. This is a faith walk. To live our lives to the fullest will require that we walk by faith and not by sight. It will require us to know and understand that God will call upon you to go forth, and you may not have support, finances, or the knowledge to do so. All you will have is the word of God. All you will have is His promises to provide, and guide you. When God gives you a vision, He will be your provision.
So many of us spend our lives wishing, hoping, and dreaming. At some point we have to start being and doing, or we will miss many opportunities. It is time for you to live, beloved. It is time for you to come forth, and shake the remnants of the shackles off (Because God has already broken the chains) and begin to live your life; your abundant life.
Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
It is time to allow Christ in you full reign of your heart, and to allow Him to live through you. He will show you how to walk in your abundant life. The enemy wants to keep us bound by situations and circumstances. He [enemy] desires for us to be filled with anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. Binding us, and eventually destroying our dreams, and killing our spirits, and even our very lives.
Yet, God has said that you shall live and not die if you believe on Him. The Father assures us that the enemy has no power to defeat us when we are walking in relationship with the Father, abiding by His will, and living our lives as He has ordained.
Just as with Lazarus, God is calling us to come forth. He is calling us to live our lives now. To, follow in His path of righteousness and holiness. To, release the fears and to take our eyes off of the flesh and the seemingly impossible, and put them on Him, and believe with every fiber of our being the word that He has spoken over our lives.
At some point we have to be the one that makes that decision to go forth. We have to be the one that decides that regardless of our present situation or conditions, that we will and can live. Live for Christ. Live our lives. And believe with all our hearts that God will make the necessary changes in our lives, as long as we are seeking to please Him, and living for Him.
Here is what I know for certain: No matter the condition of your life right now. No matter the hardships, or limitations—be it physical or financial—when you make up your mind and heart to go forth and live your life, live for Christ and put your best forth; God will indeed take care of the rest. When your focus becomes the will of God, and not your lack or limitations; you will see God move on your behalf in the supernatural. We often say we are waiting on God. But the truth is: God is waiting on us. Waiting for us to push forward in faith and to trust Him with our everything.
It's time to live, beloved. It is time to come out of those grave clothes, and begin truly trusting in God, and living your life right where you are at. God has you, and He will never leave you. And, He has already freed you. It's up to you, now, to begin walking in that freedom.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your life: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. Live. Your. Life. God has untied the binds. He has released you from the past. It is time to live your abundant life. Not by what you see or feel; but by the word of God that has been already decreed over you. Let Christ in you arise and live. This is your time! You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Reflections4Life: "Labor of Love"

Reflections4Life September 1st, 2013
Labor of Love”
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1
Scripture Contemplation: Luke 6; Romans 5; 1 Corinthians 13; Jude...
What keeps you going? What inspires you each and everyday to keep moving forward; even when things are difficult? Why do you do the things you do and say things you say? What is your purpose for doing the things you do?
I have learned that unless what I am doing is coming from a place of love, or for love, it holds no value or substance. And soon, I find myself tiring and wanting to move on. I have also found myself complaining about a situation or task, if in my heart the motive has not come from a place of love. What I've come to understand, is that love must be the foundation for all that I do. Every task, whether big or small, must be a labor of love.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Walk in the goodness and love of Christ. Let love guide you, teach you, and comfort you. Let your every motive be birthed from love.
This walk, this Christian walk must be a labor of love. That is the only way to walk this walk of salvation—in love. Any other way, and we are just a walking bag of bones, making loud noise and fruitless efforts that make no difference in the lives of those we come in contact with.
There are many reasons that we can come up with to excuse ourselves from acting from a place of love. Trust me; I know. For example: People are hard to love. These people are hateful. Why should I show love when they have disrespected me, talked about me, rejected me, hated me? They are unlovable. They will never believe. They call themselves Christians (uh-huh!) They aren't acting like believers. They don't treat me well. The hate God. What difference would it make; they're never going to change? They don't love me.
Here's what I know for certain, beloved: It is not about them or their actions. It is about you and your relationship with God. The Father is calling us to walk and act in love; even when it hurts to do so. And the best way I have learned to do this, is to do it as though I am doing it unto God. We have to learn to love, and to act from a place of love based upon our love for the Father. Act in such a way that you know God would find it acceptable and pleasing to Him; even if you are still rejected, despised, and talked about. Hey—it happened to Jesus, and we are not exempt.
This walk we are in with Christ is about love. It was always about love, and will always be about love. And if we cannot understand that, and operate from a place of that godly love; then we will view the tasks ahead of us more like a laborious chore. Much like a young student views the loads of homework they get in school, until they come to the realization that the homework they are given is only to prepare them for what comes next in their young lives.
I sometimes wonder what if Christ had the attitude that we sometimes have. How doomed we would be! It was a labor of love that brought Jesus here. It was love that had Him give His life. It was love that He went to the Cross. It was love that He bore those stripes upon His body. It was love that He withstood the rejection. It was love that He poured out everything He had to ensure we had a place in the Kingdom.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It was a definite labor of love for Jesus to leave His home in glory, to come to an earth that must have been a stench to His nostrils with its foul odor of sin assaulting His nostrils every time He took a breath in. But for the love; the love of the lost who despised and rejected Him, He came to be that final sacrifice that would seal our fate to His for all eternity, for everyone that would believe in Him and receive. That's love.
There are times in my life that I feel overwhelmed. I feel as though I have nothing left to give, or the energy to push forward. But then I think on Jesus. I think of all He has done for me, and my love for Him pushes me forward. It corrects me when I get out of line. It chastises me when my motives are wrong. It reminds me of the Who and why I do what I do, and that it must come from that place of His unfailing and unconditional love.
This walk that we are in is a labor of love. We will not always feel like we can give our best. We will sometimes feel unappreciated. We will sometimes experience rejection and hate. However, it does not give us permission to act out of any other place than that of love.
We can give. We can do. We spend. We can buy. We can act like we care. We can have a form of godliness, and dress the part. But unless we come from a place of love; unconditional, God love. Then it is all in vain, and we really have done a disservice to those we come in contact with.
Only the love of God can change lives. Only what we do in love will last and make a difference. Even in our own personal walk, and our lives. All that we do must come from a place of love. If you do not love what you do, you will get tired eventually. If you do not carry out your daily tasks in love; sooner or later you will tire and become dissatisfied with your life.
Life, my beloveds, is a labor of love unto itself. If we do not love our life, we will be constantly seeking, searching for fulfillment in many places. When you learn to love the very life you have, you will see the road before you shift, and doors open to you that you never even knew existed. Give your best to where you are right now. Live and love to its fullest. Give God praise for the precious gift of breath. Walk in love, His love. And watch God move on your behalf.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives: spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and financially. Let the love of God rule in your hearts. Walk in love. Let everything you do come from a place of love. Let your life be a labor of love. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2013. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.