Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reflections4Life: "Taking a Second Look"

Reflections4Life  April 27th, 2014

“Taking a Second Look”

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” Psalm 139:1-4 (NASB)

Scripture Contemplation: Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29, Zechariah 9, 2 Corinthians 10…

Have you ever looked at your life and wondered why some things continue to happen over and over again? Why the constant struggles? Why the same mistakes? Why any of this when you have repented, confessed, and asked for forgiveness and moved on?

It sometimes feels as though you are in a constant cycle. Everything starts to get better, then at some point the past is repeating itself, and you seem to be right back where you started or worse. Perhaps it’s time to take a second look. A second look at your heart, at yourself, at the things you speak and believe of yourself.

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 the love of God to fill your heart and open your eyes to that which you may have hidden within your soul, allowing it to cleanse you and free you from all negative strongholds and evil imaginations.

Did you ever stop to think about your inner dialogue? What is it that we are saying to ourselves on a daily basis? So many of us are not even conscious of the fact that we are continually speaking negative things to ourselves. We have accepted the lies and whispers of the enemy, and those he uses, to become our truth.

Sometimes it can be subtle. A thought here, a whisper there. But we didn’t denounce the negative thought. We didn’t pull it down or reject it. Instead, most of us cataloged it; storing it somewhere in our mental, where it has taken root and begins to sprout bad fruit. And the bad fruit is the way we see ourselves, the things we get into, the habits we cannot let go of, the opinions we have of ourselves, and the garbage we and abuse we accept from others.

Yet, I have to say, that many of us are not even aware of this. We do not realize this about ourselves, especially when things may be going well for a while. It isn’t until we find ourselves in a familiar crisis that we question what is going on.

Our mindset, inner dialogue, and held baggage have much to do with our current situation and experiences. There are things in our lives that we have yet to confront. There are also things that we may not even be aware of that are lingering in hearts and are a hindrance to the move of God in our lives. We must take a second look and search ourselves; search our hearts and be completely honest with ourselves. We must be willing to see and hear the truth and be ready to get rid of those negative strongholds.

I have learned throughout my life journey with the Lord that, what we do not willingly confront will continue to show up in different ways in our lives. It will continue to be a thorn, a stronghold until we face the truth, confront it, deal with it, and allow God to truly deliver us.

We cannot allow the opinions and thoughts of others to rule us. We cannot allow the hurt and pain caused by others to dictate our lives. We cannot allow resentment and un-forgiveness to reside within our hearts. These things obstruct our path. They muddy the road of righteousness. They keep us from breaking through the painful cycles that we often find ourselves in.

These negative things have become strongholds. They have a grip on our lives. And one of the saddest things I have witnessed and come to learn about many is that they have become comfortable with the cycle. They have become attached and acclimated to the dysfunction, hurt, pain, and abuse. Worse, they believe the lies of the enemy over the truth of God.

Beloveds, the world goes by what is seen. The way of the world is far removed from God. And if you are going to overcome, declare and stand in your victory, then you must fight the way God says to fight. There is no self-medicating here. There is no easy way out of a messy mind or destructive pattern.

It is a process. When you come to God and believe in Him, He has worked all things out concerning you. He has forgiven you and given you a clean slate. But deliverance is a process. A process by which we are becoming who God says we are, as we let go of the lies and the pain of what others have said concerning us, and our own mistakes.

In order for you to break this cycle; to rid your mind and heart of the residue of afflictions by which God has already forgiven you of, you have to do things God’s way. You must confess daily what the Father says about you. You must change your dialogue about yourself. You must search your hearts daily and become mindful of your thoughts and attitude. You must be willing to let go of some people, places, and things. One of the hardest things will be confronting your truth. It will be like looking into a mirror, bare before the Lord, and seeing every weakness, flaw, imperfection, and giving it all to God, and then seeing you through His eyes.

This is a fight that must be fought in the strength and wisdom of God. We must use spiritual weapons and know that whatever God has spoken concerning you, it is the truth.

I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in every area of your life. There is nothing too hard or difficult for God our Father. God will do just what He said. But you must be willing to do what He has called you. There are no shortcuts to your deliverance. It is a process that requires you to see the truth, accept the truth, and become the truth. In God, you will find your healing, deliverance, freedom, peace, and love everlasting. It’s time to break the cycle, pull down those negative strongholds, and let the mind of Christ dwell in you richly! You are Blessed. Now go…and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reflections4Life: "Because He Lives"

Reflections4Life April 20th, 2014
Because He Lives”
O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NKJV
Scripture Contemplation: Matthew 28; John 21; Acts 1, 2; 1 Corinthians 15...
Happy Resurrection Sunday! May the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ be present in your lives today and each day that follows. May you know and believe in the love that He has for you. May you come to the knowledge and understanding of just how much power there is in believing and surrendering your all to God. And may you know in your hearts that because He lives, there is no day or tomorrow that you cannot face and not be triumphant in. For the Father has already declared us the winner because of His Son!
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. May the glorious love of our Father continue to blossom in your heart, and you come into the understanding of just how much God has ordained for your life and made it possible through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Because Christ lives, we live. Because He lives, we have access to all that is the Fathers. Because He lives, there are a wealth of hidden treasures to be found within our own souls. Because He lives, the enemy has and will always be defeated. Because He lives, we are declared the victors. Because He lives, our future is guaranteed if we should believe.
I don't know if I can truly do justice to what it is that I am feeling in my heart at this moment. I do not believe that I have the proper words to convey what it is that my heart is bursting with over the fact that Jesus lives, and because He lives, every promise that God has made is a definite guarantee. That, all that I have ever been waiting for will come to pass if I just continue to be obedient and believe.
Have you ever waited so long for something and thought it was never going to happen. In fact, it seems as though the opposite has happened, and everything you believed went the opposite way? You know that feeling? That, unexplainable choke-hold on your heart? I suppose that was the same thing the disciples and followers of Christ felt when He was crucified.
Imagine walking with the One you believed to be the Son of God; the Savior of your people—witnessing the miracles and receiving the teachings, and learning of the promises of God, only to have the one you believe in captured by the enemy and put to death. But in your heart, you continue to hear His words playing over and over. You hear His lessons and His promises, and you see the miracles taking place over and over again; playing in your mind until sleep invades you? Then, you find yourself questioning what you believe; what was spoken. Surely, if He truly was the Son of God; the Savior; couldn't He just defeat the army of the enemy? Couldn't He prevent Himself from being killed?
They wrestled with what was in their heart versus what they were seeing and experiencing with their natural eyes. Yet, within their heart—even through the fear and doubts—there was hope. There were the words of Jesus, His promises coursing through their minds, and they believed that there had to be more. That, it could not be over. And they were right. For on that third day, the Son of God rose from the dead. And with His resurrection sealed our fate for all eternity! Hallelujah! The devil got him but kicked once and for all! And there's nothing He could do about it. And because Christ lives, we can claim the same victory should we believe and accept Christ as our Savior!
Oh, Beloveds! To have been there that day to see with our own eyes the promises of God being fulfilled. To witness the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. To understand that all that He had spoken and promises were made real and guaranteed on that day. So, come to the understanding that no matter what life throws at you; no matter what lies the enemy tries to spew; no matter what hindrances come our way; if we can just hold onto the fact that He lives; then we know for certain we win!
Allow me to speak into your lives today, Beloveds. I want you to be encouraged, as I am encouraging myself today. Whatever you have been waiting on the Lord for. Whatever you have been believing God for. Whatever the Father has promised you; Because He lives, you can take that as a guarantee that it is coming to pass!
Do not let go of the promises. Do not let go of what God has spoken to you. Do not go by what it looks like. Go by what God has spoken. Continue to walk by faith. I don't care HOW LONG THE WAIT!!! YOU KEEP TRUSTING GOD!!! For His promises to you are coming to pass. Don't get so close, and allow the enemy to fool you and have you give up and you walk out of position! I have been there! And I refuse to let it happen again!
The followers of Christ thought it was over. They thought the devil won. Heck! The devil thought he won, too! (I really laugh hard at that fact!) Imagine the celebration the enemy was throwing himself? Imagine all the plans he was issuing his minions so that he could take over. Then, he calls in death and asks for the soul of Jesus. And then death doesn't answer. He calls again. No answer. Then he goes to look and finds death bound up, the Keys of Life gone, the souls locked in bondage free, and not a trace of Jesus our Lord and King! Yes!!!! Oh man! The trembling that went on probably felt like an earthquake!
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 51-57 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On a signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! (MSG)
Be encouraged! Do not let go of the promises of God concerning your life. Be patient and fervent in your prayers. Believe what God has told you and shown you. Think of it daily. Prepare for it! For this is the season it comes to pass! Because He lives, you can face each day with boldness, faith, and expectancy. Though it may seem hard, don't look at the time. For God works outside of time and has the power to restore any time loss. Believe in Him.

I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Let this Resurrection Sunday remind you of just how powerful and loving our Father is. Let it encourage you and inspire you to hold on, and spark hope in your heart and resurrect those dreams and visions that may have died over the years of waiting. As long as God said it, that settles it! It shall be done if you continue to believe and faint not. Death, Satan, and the grave couldn't hold Christ. And that means they can't hold you or your dreams and promises from God. How do I know? Because every dream, vision, and promises God ever made to us was in Christ and was resurrected with Christ, and they cannot be killed, only left behind when we determine to not believe. So keep believing. No matter what! You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Resurrection Sunday

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Don't Believe The Lies! You are stronger than you think!

Reflections4Life: "Betrayed, Rejected, But Not Abandoned"

Reflections4Life April 13th, 2014
Betrayed, Rejected, But Not Abandoned”
47 And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:47-48
Scripture Contemplation: Matthew 26-28; John 19; Romans 3; Hebrews 7...
Wishing each and everyone a glorious Palm Sunday. I pray this time of reflection on the Cross and the resurrection of Christ will bring you clarity, strength, and encouragement. Knowing that it is never over until God says it is over.
There are times in our lives when each person will feel the sting of betrayal and rejection. People will disappoint us, hurt us, and even leave us. Though we are betrayed and rejected; we are not abandoned. Not by the Father. God is always there, whether we acknowledge Him or not.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. May the redemptive work of Calvary flood your heart, mind, and soul; bringing you peace and encouragement and the knowledge that with God, you are never alone.
We have all experienced what it feels like to be betrayed by someone you love or trust. We can also attest to knowing the feeling of being rejected. Rejected by the people you love; someone you admire, someone you like, a job, or position. We know the sting, and often the heartache.
Many of us even know the devastation of being left behind. Left by those who were supposed to care for us and love us. Too, look out for our best interest and protect us. Though they left, we are not abandoned. Not if we know God, and understand that He is with us always; even when we do not acknowledge Him, feel Him, or see Him. He is there.
Abandon: to leave and never return to (someone who needs protection or help). : to leave and never return to (something). : to leave (a place) because of danger ...(Merriam-webster)
The human heart can be a messy thing. It can be deceitful and cruel. Just as it can be loving and kind. While others cannot fathom the thought of abandoning someone they love or hurting them in any way, shape or form; there are others that will cause devastation, leaving many broken and bruised.
Yet, even with all this devastation and heartache, there is a fact that so many people do not know or understand—God is there. He's always been there. Waiting for us to call upon Him. To come to Him. To know that He has never abandoned us. He has never left us. In fact, He has been reaching out towards us, calling for us to take His hands and trust Him.
Even in our darkest hours when the enemy is whispering his lies, and saying that not even God cares or understands; that God has abandoned us and forgotten us; God is there. He is there waiting for us to call unto Him. Waiting for us to accept the love and healing that He has long offered us. Waiting for us to show up to His table and dine with Him.
However, when you are one that has experienced much betrayal and rejection in your life, it is hard to imagine or believe that there is someone that actually cares enough for you to stay with you through your ups and downs. Someone that will never leave you or hold your faults and past against you. It is hard to reconcile within yourself that there is someone that loves you just for you, and will move heaven and earth just for you; just as He gave His only begotten Son for you.
It's hard to believe because we have put God on the level of man. We have placed God in the position of who man is, and how they can disappoint. So we attribute the same characteristics to our Heavenly Father.
There are also those of us who have a difficult time reconciling within our hearts and mind how it is possible for God to love us as He says He does when our lives have been hit with such devastation and setbacks. It is hard for us to justify in our mind that God truly cares and yet can allow us to be disappointed and our faith shaken and sometimes shattered. How is that God never leaving us, when these things keep occurring in our life. Isn't the Father suppose to protect us?
I've been there. And it's a hard place to be when you are in your emotions, and just simply cannot understand or justify the hurt and pain your heart is feeling with the God you have come to know and serve. Yet, I will say this: we live in a world that is filled with darkness. And there are people that make decisions that affect our lives. Yet, God is still merciful and in control. And if we can hold on to His word and promises, we will see God show up in unexpected ways.
No matter the circumstance or situation, God is there, He is in control, and His will shall be done concerning us. No matter how much it seems that the devil has won; no matter how heavy the hurt or devastation; God is still in control. And if we continue to trust Him, seek Him, and not abandon our faith, we will see that ALL things are working for our good. And understanding will come. Maybe not today, or tomorrow or next week; but it will come. We just have to have faith; which dictates that we walk by faith and not by sight.
Luke 22:41-44 “41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, battling His flesh for our souls. Feeling the sting of betrayal; knowing what Judas had done. Knowing the time of rejection before Him; how His disciples would scatter, and the very people He ministered to, healed, set free, would betray and reject Him; He determined that may His Father's will be done and not His own. Though He was betrayed and rejected, He understood that He was not abandoned by His Father.
Because of this, we live. Because of this moment; this decision, we have access to eternal life. Because of this moment, we can know for certain that we are never abandoned. Never alone as long as we know God. Even in our darkest hours, when all seems lost and makes no sense; God is there; stretching His hands towards us. Reaching out to us and admonishing us to come and have a seat at His table so He can fill us up.
Though people may betray you, reject you, and even leave you; know in your heart that the Father will never abandon you. He is there with you in all of your storms, tests, and trials. He is encouraging you and making ways for you that you have yet to see. Everything that you experience in this life, God will make it for your good; if you trust Him and keep believing. God will never leave you. He was there before you even showed up.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Believe with all your heart and soul that God will never leave you, betray you, or reject you. He has a standing invitation just for you at His table of abundant life. Where man has failed you, allowed God to lift and keep you. He sent His Son just for you. And He's not going to stop believing just for you. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Reflections4Life: "All That You Have"

Reflections4Life April 6th, 2014
All That You Have”
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Mark 10:21
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 4; 15; Psalm 63; Proverbs 21; Matthew 4; Luke 9; Luke 18...
As it stands right now; this very moment, this very day—would you give up all that you have to follow Christ? Some of us are prepared to argue that we are following Christ. That, we have willingly given our all to the Lord. To this, I would say: Perhaps.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration to your heart, mind, and soul. May the love of God fill you, reaching every part of your heart and soul; especially those areas that you have tucked away that no man knows of, but the Father knows all about.
In the world that we live in, it is quite easy to get wrapped up in things. It is quite simple to be distracted by the blessings and find ourselves spending less time with the Father. It is also quite possible to be overwhelmed by life's events and the very act of day to day living and neglect our relationship with the Father.
Many of us have forgotten that if it had not been for the Lord, we would not have a life to be distracted by. Had not the Father saved us when He did; we may very well be absent from this earth.
I always wondered how, as believers, we can witness to unbelievers and not fully grasp ourselves the omnipotent love of the Father? How could we say to another that our God saves and heals, and delivers if we ourselves do not fully believe or have walked in that love and deliverance? How can we say that we would do all that God asks of us, but are not willing to let go of what we have accumulated to receive what God has ordained?
There are many things, not just physical things, that we have yet to let go of. There are things that are stagnating our growth in the Lord, and watering down our witness of His goodness and love. In order to receive all that God has ordained for our lives, we must be willing to let go of everything. We must have that heart that is willing to walk away and trust God completely. To trust Him where you cannot trace Him.
In the eighteenth chapter of Luke, verses 18-30, Jesus is asked a question by a young, rich official. The young man wants to know what he can do to have eternal life. Jesus replies by telling him that he knows what the words say about the commandments. The young man states that he has followed it from his youth. Jesus then tells him that there is only one thing for him left to do: sell all that he had and follow him.
The young man was crestfallen. He was very rich and would not give up all that he had to follow Christ. He was not willing to let go of what he had in his hands for what he could not see with Jesus.
Jesus goes on to explain that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Many of us have misinterpreted this saying. Myself included. Jesus wasn't speaking of a natural needle. He was referring to this gate in Jerusalem called “The Eye of The Needle”.
There was a large gate in which merchants would pass through with their wares. Instead of opening the large gate, if the merchant was traveling with a small shipment, they would open the smaller gate (the eye of the needle) to let the laden down camel walk through.
The disciples stated then who has a chance at all? To which Jesus replied, no one. Not of themselves. Only through God do you have a chance if you trust God to do it. The disciples thought about it, and all that they had given up to follow Him, Peter said that they gave up everything. Jesus agreed and said that all that they'd given up wouldn't be lost and that it would be multiplied unto them because they trusted God.
The willingness to give up all that you have for God is based upon how much you trust God. If you trust God at all to do just what He said. Yet, for many of us, we are having a hard time believing in what the Father has spoken to hearts many of times. Our trust is lacking, our faith is wavering, and we are bewildered with doubt.
How can we trust God? How can we give everything to God and believe in all that He has spoken to us? Relationship. It is through an intimate relationship that we gain trust with the Father. How can you trust someone you do not know or understand? Yet for many of us, we do it each and every day without thought. We trust the drivers who take us from point a to b. We trust our employers to pay us for our work. We trust people we hardly know to teach our children for at least eight hours a day. We trust the bank where we deposit our money. We trust doctors to diagnose us correctly. We trust family, who share the same blood, to be family. But we cannot trust God who created us and gave His only Son to die on a Cross for us. Hmm.
It is only through an intimate relationship with God that we can learn to trust without seeing. To walk by faith and not by sight. To come to know and understand the heart of God. To gain unflappable trust in God to pour out our heart, soul, and darkest secrets. To give all that you have and know that God will never betray you, but give you all that He has so that your walk and your life might shine bright and be the best, and draw others unto Him.
What are you holding onto? What have you been unwilling to let go of and place at the altar, leaving it at the throne for God's concern? No material thing, no person, not anything, can give you the fulfillment of life that the Father can. God is able. He is able to take all of you; your uncertainties, your doubts, your hurts, your disappointments, your failures, and give you all that you need, if you'd trust Him to do it. Because the evidence is quite clear: we cannot do it on our own.
There is no place too dark or too deep that God cannot reach you. There is nothing too scary or too bleak that God cannot see you. There is nothing that you have or could ever attain, that God cannot out do. He loves us just that much. Now all you have to do is exercise a bit of trust and walk in faith, that God will do just what He has promised concerning you.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your life. It is not easy to let go of things; especially when we have become dependent upon them, and have come to trust them (it) more than God. Release all that you have unto God. Give Him your all, and watch what God will do for you in return. You've trust others and they've let you down. Now it's time to trust God, who has never failed. No. Not once. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.