Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reflections4Life: "Broken and Abused, But Still of Great Value"

Reflections4Life May 25th, 2014
Broken and Abused, But Still of Great Value”
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6 (MSG)
Scripture Contemplation: Job 28; Proverbs 3; Isaiah 61; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 10...

Oh yes! Our lives can be like a Lifetime movie. The things we have endured. The pain and betrayals. The disappointments and hurt. Many of us have been abused, mistreated, broken, and deemed of no value. But God's love says otherwise. No matter what you have faced, gone through, or are facing at this moment; though you are broken and abused, you are still of great value.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement for your heart, mind, and soul. Allow the redemptive work of Calvary cover you today. Allow the healing to begin, so that you may receive all that God has ordained for you. And let no one tell you that you are worth the blessings and time of God.
When we go through something so heavy, we are left totally spent. The things we encounter in this life can leave us broken, and feeling as though there is no use for our lives. But this is so far from the truth. No matter what you have experienced in your life's journey, you can and will make it if you determine in your heart to keep moving forward.
No. Life is not always fair. Because people are not always fair. And not every person is good to us or for us. And there are times that our experiences in life will lead us down a path that is filled with heartache and ruin. Yet, no matter how far down we fall, or how low we get, or how far away from God we seem; as long as you can call upon the name of Jesus, you can be set free, and redemption can take place.
There is a primal urge within each of us to survive. To, fight and claw our way out of situation. However, sometimes the trials of this life can become so overwhelming that it dulls our senses to that instinct within us that tells us to fight. Many have given up because they feel as though their life no longer has any value. That, they are far too broken, have been abused so long, that there is no use for their lives. The devil is a lie! As long as God grants you the gift of life each day, you have an opportunity for things to get better. For God to show you, and for you to see and believe your true value.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Matthew 10:30-31 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
No matter what this life's journey brings our way, we are worthy of the love and plans of God for our lives. We are of high value. We are precious in the sight of God. It doesn't matter what man says or does, it cannot change what God has spoken and decreed over our lives. And the only way we do not walk into the promises of God, is if we give up, stop believing, and shun what the Father has spoken concerning our lives.
Yes. When you are broken, have suffered abused, have been mistreated for almost your entire life, it is very hard to shake that mindset that you are of great value. That, God can use someone just like you. The truth of the matter is: You are exactly who God will use. Your value is immeasurable. Your heartaches, trials, tests, and tribulations are only to strengthen you for what God has for you. Here you are. Still living and holding on. You are here, not giving in to the enemy to end it all. Yes. I know he's been whispering. I know he has been planting seed of doubt, and trying to make you take your life. Beloved, you are stronger than that.
Though things may seem bleak at the moment, if you hold on, you will see the manifestations of the blessings of God in your life. You will get through. These hardships will pass. But you have to believe on the Father. You have to seek Him, and call unto Him, and keep fighting and speaking what God says of you.
Romans 8:28; 38-39 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose... For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Though the pain may still be there. Though the brokenness and abuse has left wounds so great; do not despair. Give it to God, and allow Him to lead you through this maze of life. Let His healing cover you. But in order for that to happen, you are going to have to confront what's in your heart. Stop hiding from the pain and your past. Bring it all forth and lay it at the alter. Not talking about it, doesn't make things better, it just exacerbates the problems and pain you have. Love yourself enough to take a chance; to take a leap of faith into God's hands.
I charge you with the task of fighting Beloved. I dare you to bear down, stand on the word of God, and believe what God says of you. Do not go by what it looks like. Do not look at your life's circumstances at the moment and make a determination of what tomorrow will be. See through the eyes of God. Believe what God says concerning you. You are of great value. Your life, no matter what you have gone through, is worth the very blood that Jesus Christ shed for you.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity have found permanent rest in your lives. No matter what this life has thrown at you, it is still no match for the love and plans that God has for you. As long as there is breath in your body, you have the opportunity to see the plans of God for your life come to fruition. Your life experiences do not determine your value. God has already done that. And your value was set in stone the moment Christ paid the price and shed His blood for you so long ago. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reflections4Life: "Stagnated"

Reflections4Life  May 18, 2014
“And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
Scripture Contemplation: Job 3; Psalm 69; Isaiah 40; Hebrew 6; Hebrew 12…
We work towards our goals. We continue to pray and believe God for His promises. We serve Him and others. We have a desire to do and be all that God has said of us. Then something happens. Time. Time passes by and you may not have seen the manifestations of your blessings. Time passes, and your prayers seem to hang in the air. Time goes on, and you find yourself stagnating. Stuck in a place that you don’t want to be in, but have become comfortable in.
Many have become stagnated in life. They’re not moving forward in their lives. Nothing is changing. And in the process of the stagnation, the heart is becoming hardened, and the soul is drowning. A decision must be made: stay stagnated or believe God again, and become liberated.
I declare and decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration to heart, mind, and soul. Though life seems to be at a standstill, look through the eyes of the Father. Take on the mind of Christ, and think on the things of God. Continue to do what God has called you to do. Even through the hard times, choose to praise Him, seek Him, and believe Him.
There are times that I have felt trapped. I have felt as though my life has come to a complete stop. And nothing that God had promised me was coming to pass. I’m doing what He asks me to do. I am believing, and having faith, but yet, everything seems to have come to a standstill, and I feel stuck. And when I felt that way, a spirit of weariness was not too far behind.
In thinking back, I had to question myself. Question my motives. Why was I doing all that I was doing? Was I doing it because I loved the Lord? Or, was I doing it just to get from God what I wanted? Did I serve God and others just to get recognized? Did I do it to puff myself up? Or did I do it sincerely from my heart just because I Love the Lord?
It is good to examine your motives; the reasons you do what you do. To do a heart check, and ask the Father to reveal to you your heart. Acclamations from others can become addictive. And if you are not in the presence of God and maintaining humility, it is very easy to become a people pleaser instead of a God pleaser and dream chaser.
My stagnation didn’t come from the need to please others or seeking recognition. No. It came when something I desired and has been promised did not come to pass when I thought it should. It came as a result of a broken heart. When those I love most, hurt me the deepest. I became depressed. And in my depression, I was on remote control status. Other parts of my life were going well. But my heart was not faring too great. The pain and disappointment together became impalpable, and I shut down emotionally. I took on more to occupy my mind so I couldn’t concentrate on the hurt and pain. I avoided the thoughts and inner dialogue and threw myself into work and evasion. Serving God but not hearing God. Hurting but not allowing Christ to heal me.
It is fairly easy to get caught up in the doings of God’s work and everyday tasks; to escape in it, allowing our personal, intimate time with the Father lapse, as we avoid what is hurting us. We continue to go until things in our lives become a ritual. We do it by remote. And the reasons we do what we do get lost in translation.
Before you realize it, you are in a stagnated place, wallowing in grief, sorrow, and unfilled dreams and promises. Not because God did not come through, but because somewhere along the path of your life’s journey, you were disappointed and hurt, and you gave up. You stopped believing.
This is what I’ve come to learn and know for certain: People can encourage you. Be it family, friends, Pastors, Ministers. But until you learn to encourage yourself, and discipline yourself in the ways and word of God, you will be on a repeat cycle. Yes. Disappointments happen. Yes. Life is not fair. But God is just and His favor is fair. Yes. You may experience a broken heart along the way (maybe a few times), but God will always be right there to mend it if you let Him. Yes. It will appear at times as though God is far away, and that your prayers are not being heard or answered. But in your heart you know it’s not true. You are going through a test, and the answers are already inside of you, and the Teacher is always quiet during a test. Yes. This may not be the first or last time you experience these feelings, this kind of hurt. But at the end of the test, you will have passed and be stronger, wiser, and prepared for your next level, if you do not give up.
Stagnation comes when we allow a part of us to give up. We get stuck in a place physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Learn to encourage yourself each day. Spend that time in the presence of God. Meditate. Meditate in the word. Think of the promises of God and thank Him. Stop looking at the time. God is greater than time. He is outside of time. And whatever God has promised you, it will happen should you continue to believe and expect it.
Change your mind, change your life. Change your attitude, change your altitude. Sure; it may sound cliché or corny for some. But the simplicity of it all is true. What we think can and will eventually become what we believe in our hearts if we are not allowing God to guard our hearts, on to take on the mind of Christ and renewing our mind daily.
Make up in your mind today to be and do all that God has ordained for you, regardless of the journey it takes. It’s pretty hard to sway a made up mind. And if you are living with the mind of Christ, thinking on the things of God, believing in His word, seeking Him daily—your life will become a reflection of those things. Don’t go by what it looks like, but by what God has spoken.
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Being stuck/stagnated is no longer an option when you realize and believe in your heart just how much God loves you and has for your life. Want Him more than anything, and God will give you more than what you asked for. You are Blessed. Now go…and Be a Blessing!
©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Reflections4Life: "One of God's Greatest Wonders"

Reflections4Life May 11th, 2014
One of God's Greatest Wonders”
Therefore it came to pass, when the time had come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bore a son and called his name Samuel [that is, Asked of God], saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:20
Scripture Contemplation: 1 Samuel 1;2; Lamentations 2; Mark 10; 1 Timothy 5...
Happy Mother's Day to each and every woman that has nurtured, loved, cared for, attended to children whether they were theirs biologically or not. I honor you this day and pray the blessings of God continue to manifest in your life. May your children rise up and call you blessed.
I sincerely believe that one of God's greatest wonders is not only the entire gestation process of pregnancy. (It fascinates me how a woman's womb can hold and sustain life with her body.) Birth is definitely a miracle, as is the mother's strength to endure labor. But also the heart and strength of a mother.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will continue to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Be encouraged in the word and promises of God. No matter where your life has taken you; what journey you started on; it will be God's strength and love that will see you through. You are a gift of God. Your presence on this earth is not an accident. It is a divine purpose.
If there is one thing that I long for most in this earth, it is to be a mother. To give birth. I can identify with Hannah. The ache and need in your heart and spirit so strong, that when you pray and cry out to the Lord, no words can come forth, because they're all being said from the deepest core of your spirit. Yes. I have mothered many children. I have loved and cherished each and everyone with no regrets. But like Hannah, I will believe in the promises of God, knowing that my blessings will soon manifest.
It is God-thing to see the heart and strength of a mother in action. That love that exudes forth from her soul for her children. There are some women who have given birth and are not mothers. They are far removed from what God intended. But so it is in the world. Thank God for the women that can step in and fill those gaps and tend to the wounds and broken spirits and hearts of those children that have been abandoned and abused.
There is nothing greater than a mother's love (other than that of our heavenly Father.) A mother's love can bring healing, comfort, strength, direction, correction, discipline, and inspiration. Lives are changed when a woman dares to love with such strength and abandonment. When, she loves from a place deep in her soul, and looks pass situations, circumstances, and parentage.
The moment you give your time and love to a child; whether or not they came from you—as a mother you are changing a life forever. You may never know the impact you have on the lives of a child that was under your influence. Sometimes, they grow up, move on, and live their lives. But rest assured, God knows. And He has taken account of every act of love you poured from your heart.
I had the fortunate opportunity of having women in my life that let me know just how powerful a mother's love could be. It shaped who I am, and who I desire to be as a mother. My mother and I have had our shares of ups and downs (as mothers and daughters often do!) But I knew from the beginning how strong my mother's love was for me and my brothers. Even as a foster mother and adoptive mother, she never held back. She is blessed, and I honor her for all she has done and is doing for me, even as a grown woman. (You never get too old to need your Mom!)
Proverbs 31:28-29 28 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:29 Many daughters have done worthily, But thou excellest them all.
I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how much strength she had to have to watch her son be crucified. Although she understood His deity, she was still a mother. A mother that carried him in her womb. That, nursed him, bathed him, watched him grow and become the Savior that God had called Him to be. What strength and fortitude it must have taken for her to know this was the reason he came, and that although He became her Savior, he was still her baby boy.
John 19:26 When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
And Jesus, loving her not just as God loves us, but as a son loves his mother. Touched with her every heartache, just as He is touched with our every infirmity; He looks to her and presents her to John, and John to her, to carry on that mother and son relationship. For it was just as important for Mary to have that relationship, as it was for John to have it too.
There is no way to truly explain what happens to your heart when you become a mother. And there really are no words to explain when you lose your mother or a mother loses a child. But, it is the love that will always be present. The strength of that love that keeps one going. For everyone that may have lost their mother, I extend my prayers and thoughts to you. Celebrate your Mom. For as long as you are on this earth, she will be present. Mothers who may have lost a child, you don't stop being a mother—your heart is too big and filled with love for that. I pray for your heart and speak life into you. And pray that you will be able to share that love with others who could benefit from a mother's love.
For My Mom

We didn’t always get along. Perhaps because, secretly, we
Are so much alike. You had hopes and dreams for yourself,
And then you had them for your children. You did the best you could
With all you had; and in my eyes, that was the best.
I always knew that I was loved, no matter what
The season was. You had regrets, many you might say,
But I look at God, and remember what He says:
The race is not given to the swift or strong;
but to those that endure to the end.
Endurance. That’s a word for you.
You taught me how to endure.
I know without a doubt, the love you hold for me.
Now I want the world
To know, the love I hold for you.
I love you with all I am, and I thank God for who I am.
Because He chose you to be my Mom.
And we all know, God knows all
And His mistakes are none.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
I love you!
One more day and going strong!

I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in every area of your life. May the grace of God continue to fill you and your hearts be filled with joy and laughter. There is something mighty special about the heart of a woman who can give and receive love. Whether a child is biological or not, it is one of God's greatest gift, to see a Mother's love in action. Happy Mother's Day! You are Blessed. Now Go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Reflections4Life: "God Sees You...But Can You See Him"

Reflections4Life May 4th, 2014
God Sees You...But Can You See Him?”
She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!“Yes! He saw me, and then I saw him!”Genesis 16:13 (MSG)
Scripture Contemplation: Deuteronomy 10; Psalm 34;40; Jeremiah 23; Luke 18; John 2; 1 John 3...
How many times have you cried out to the Lord, wondering if He sees what you are going through? How many times have you wondered if God even hears your prayers? It's quite hard to think rationally when you are in pain. It's is difficult to remember or even believe when your heart is hurting so bad. Because pain can be all consuming and debilitating. Hurt and pain can shut us down emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Yet, even in your pain; even amongst your hurt and questioning, always remember and hold onto the fact that God sees you. He not only sees and hears you but has answered. The question now is: can you see Him? Can you see Him in the midst of the hurt and pain? Because rest assure; God is there.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration to your heart, mind, and soul. Take rest in the fact that God sees you and has already answered. Let your heart and ears be open to the Lord, that you may see Him in the midst of your trials.
Psalm 34:17-19 (AMP)17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles.18 The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent. 19 Many evils confront the [consistently] righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
While going through our trials, it is quite easy to forget the love and magnificence of the Heavenly Father. Through pain and hurt and disappointments, it is easy to find ourselves questioning our faith, and who God is. And it definitely easy for our sight to obscured from seeing God right before us. To see God in the midst of our chaos. To, see God in the midst of the pain and suffering we may be experiencing.
God sees us. He hears us. And He has prepared a way for us. Everything you go through. Every trial, every heartache, every painful situation; God is right there. And not only is He there, He is delivering us out of it all. We just have to believe. We have to know in our hearts, see in our spirit, the promises and word of God.
This is why it is imperative to have the word of God hidden deep within your heart. So that, whenever you are going through something; whenever a situation arises that is so crushing that you don't even want to pick up the Bible; your heart, your spirit can draw from the well of the word that is hidden in your heart. Bringing you comfort and sight. A sight to see God in the midst of your darkest hours.
Psalm37:24-26 4 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread. 26 He is ever merciful and lendeth, and his seed is blessed.
How many times have we come through something, and we see that God was there all along, only to forget that experience when another trial comes our way? It is so easy to forget past triumphs and victories in battle when you are in the midst of a new one. It is hard to remember the grace of the past when your heart is in the vice grips of pain so deep, that you feel as though your life is slipping from you.
But even in those times, we must remember God. We must remember who we are in Him and His promises. And we must diligently seek Him. See God in the midst of the storms. See Him in the midst of the trials. See Him amongst the grime and dirt and horrendous conditions. God is there, beloved, waiting for you to acknowledge Him. Waiting for you to open your heart to Him, and hold onto Him as He brings you through.
Being able to see God in the middle of chaos and filth takes discipline. Disciplining our ears and hearts to the voice and ways of God. And the only way to get this kind of discipline is to be in an intimate relationship with the Father.
Often times in our relationships, we talk too much and do not listen enough. We miss the subtly of what the other person is trying to say to us. With the Father, we do not need to talk as much as we need to listen. Be quiet in the presence of God. Hear Him. Learn His ways; His voice; His touch. Learn to recognize Him in the middle of all hell breaking loose.
Yes. You are going through it. The pain is excruciating. You don't know if you're going to make it. The pain is so severe that you can hardly catch your breath, let alone remember the past things the Father has brought you through. The pain is obscuring your vision, and blurring your memory of what God has already done. You don't know if you can make it. But guess what? You can and you will.
Keep your eyes on God. Praise Him in everything. Praise Him through the pain. Thank Him for a new day. Thank Him for being alive. Take comfort in the fact that God sees you and hears you, and worked it all out before you even asked.
Is it easy to do? No. It's not. There are some days you won't remember there is a God. There are some days you will cringe to hear someone say that God has it. You will question your faith. You will wonder if God is really real. And it is in these moments that you will have to draw upon the well of the word hidden in your heart. It is in these moments that you will have to lift your hands and heart to the Lord and simply say: “Lord I can't. But You are God and You Can.” And that will be enough. And there will be days when only one word will suffice. One name. Be it spoken verbally or in your heart: “Jesus.” And His name is more than enough.
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity have found permanent rest in every area of your lives. In the midst of your heartache, pain, and hurt, know that God has not abandoned you. He sees you and has worked things out for your good. Seek Him. See His hand moving on your behalf. Even in the rubble, flowers can grow. In a desert, there will be blooms. And in your darkest hour, and most painful times, God's light will shine and mark your path to deliverance, just as He has done in times before. Remember those times, and take comfort that, though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.