Sunday, July 27, 2014

Reflections4Life: "Walking Away"

Reflections4Life July 27th, 2014
Walking Away”
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...” Hebrews 12:1 NASB
Scripture Contemplation:Genesis 15;31; Proverbs 3; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Hebrews 2;12...
How many times have you promised that the next time would be different? Or, how many times have you told yourself that, if you had to, you would just walk away. That, you would have no problems letting go and doing what needs to be done. Sometimes it is far easier said than done. Yet, if we place our confidence in God and yield to Holy Spirit, though it may be hard, we will be able to do what is necessary to walk in the path that God has ordained.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and enlightenment for your heart, mind, and soul. May you yield completely to Holy Spirit as He continues to guide you on the path of righteousness, leading you to your expected blessings. Walking away may not be easy, but it may be the difference between living and dying.
Beloveds, allow me to take a moment and thank you today for your continued support and fellowship. Today, I celebrate seven years of writing Reflections. It has been a joy to minister and share and teach; to encourage and be the vessel that God chooses to use. It has blessed my soul and enriched my life to have met so many loving people over the years. To, have connected with phenomenal and beautiful souls that have inspired me, encouraged me, and who pray for me. You have become my family. I don't know how long this particular assignment will last. But I do know that I will continue to write and encourage for as long as God leads.
Each Sunday I ask God what He desires for me to share. For the past seven years, 364 Sundays (to be exact) God has given me a word to share; fresh Manna from Heaven. Many, if not most, have been from my own personal experiences and walk with God. But most certainly, all have come from the inspiration of God. I don't know where we are heading, Beloveds. I don't exactly know how far the road will go with Reflections. But I do know: wherever the road goes, I will follow as long as God is leading. And I hope that you will continue to join me on this journey, as we grow and receive from the Lord. I pray God's continued blessings in your life. And that you will see the desires of your heart come to pass! I love you!
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is walk away. Whether it's from a relationship, a job, a habit, or a thing....walking away isn't easy but necessary; especially when God is telling you to walk away. There are times when we may find ourselves in a situation that is so toxic that, if we don't walk away, we may be destroyed. Though it may not be easy, it would be much harder to stay as your soul and spirit slowly die and there is no longer a you; just a shell of who you once were.
Why do we stick with things that are not good for us? Why do we continue to try and change a situation by doing what we did before, knowing it did not work? What's the saying—insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? Yes. Not going to happen. In order for change to happen, we have to be obedient and do something different. Sometimes doing that which is most difficult.
It doesn't matter if the thing God desires us to walk away from is a relationship, a job, or a situation or place; obedience to God will not only stave you from sacrificing the blessings that God has waiting for you. It will stave you from heartache, pain, and even death. Walking away can very well save your life.
Many are in toxic relationships that the Father has told them to walk away from. Even family and friends have told them to walk away. And yet, they stay. Some stay until there is no more life in them; every hope, dream, aspiration...gone! They are no longer living, just existing. Why? Why would anyone stay in such toxicity? Perhaps because they have been systematically stripped of who they are, until they believe the lies of the enemy instead the truth of what God says.
It is very hard to believe the truth when you have been conditioned so long to believe a lie. Yet, with God, all things are possible. And when there is a sliver of hope, and people praying, there remains a chance for that person to still walk away and get the help they need before it's too late. Never give up on someone who may be in a toxic relationship. Though they may be operating out of fear; be there and make certain they know you will not abandon them.
Perhaps you are holding onto a job that God has told you to walk away from. Rest assure, if God is telling you to walk away, it is because He has something far greater for you. Many times we get comfortable in our lives, and become complacent. But what if your job no longer existed? What if the company shuts its doors? What would you do? You placed your security and trust in what you thought was stable, instead of placing your trust in God.
God does not tell us to give up something without having something far greater in store. So many of us miss out because we do not trust God completely. We haven't totally yielded to the Father and trust Him to lead us to where we need to be. When we truly let go and trust Him, that's when we will understand just how deep God's love flows for us.
Yes. Walking away is not the easiest thing to do. But it is necessary. It is vitally important to know when it is time to let go and walk away. We run the risk of forfeiting the security and the promises of God by hanging on long after God has said to let go.
Trust God to lead you; to catch you when you fall; to help pick you up; to guide you and lead you to a place He's ordained just for you. Walk away. The first steps are always hardest. However, think on what lies ahead—the promises and peace of God. With every step forward, you are that much closer to His promises.
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in your life. Whatever it is that God is telling you to walk away it. Walk away and trust God to lead you to the place in which He has already prepared for you. Trust Him. Do not hold onto something or someone because of fear or obligation. You will only come to regret and despise it or them. Release yourself, and walk away with the confidence that God has you covered. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Kill The Fear, Resurrect The Vision"

Reflections4Life July 20, 2014
Kill The Fear, Resurrect The Vision”
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (NASB)
Scripture Contemplation: Proverbs 29; Jeremiah 29; Ezekiel 37; Habakkuk 2; 1 Peter 5...

Have you ever felt that, all you ever wanted may never come to pass? That, the dreams and visions you carried for so long are not going to happen? Or, that they died after much pain, suffering, trials, and hardships? Life's journey can throw some curve balls at us; a few of them hitting us and knocking us down. As a result some of us give up on our visions. We lose hope. We may even feel there is nothing more to do. Never give up. Not as long as you believe in the Father. He says, it's time to kill the fear and resurrect the vision.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Though you may have experienced disappointment in your life; delays in your dreams; do not lose hope. Have faith and know that whatever God has declared for your life will certainly come to pass. Allow God annihilate the fear and to resurrect the vision. Trust Him with your all.
In life we may have to start over several times before we get something right and achieve the success we desire and have envisioned. Too many give up to soon walking around with a defeated spirit, and a negative mindset. They become pessimistic about life and the circumstances surrounding them. What it really is, is fear. Fear has come in and replaced hope, slowly blocking out the vision; killing expectations and the vision that once gave life, determination and purpose to their lives.
Beloveds, I have been there. And it wasn't too long ago. Even as I write this Reflection this morning, I am pulling down strongholds and denouncing the lies of the enemy. There is a battle going on in my mind and body. Yet, because of my relationship with the Father, I have already been declared the winner. Even though the battle ensues, in my heart and spirit, I know that all that God has ordained for me shall come to pass. It doesn't matter what it appears to be. It doesn't matter what others say or think. What matters is what God has spoken, and what I truly believe in my heart and soul.
If one searches out the reasons for their struggle and the ensuing battle in their mind, they will find fear. Fear is one of the enemy's favorite weapons. The fear is real. And it can grip one so strongly until it suffocates their faith and snuffs out their vision.
Many know the well-known acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. Although one knows this, and understands the machinations of the enemy, many still will fall victim to fear's debilitating stronghold; allowing it to cripple them and kill the vision they've held and believed in for so long.
It is time to kill the fear once and for all, and resurrect the vision. The enemy's playtime is over! God has commissioned us to live an abundant life. To, carry out His will upon this earth. To, reach out to the lost, and to take care of those who are in need. It is time to live an abundant life, and have it be on earth as it is in heaven.
This cannot be done operating from a spirit of fear. And it cannot be accomplished by those who have lost hope. Without hope, faith is crippled. And without faith, the vision cannot and will not come to pass. For too long we have allowed the enemy to have reign over our thoughts and sneak his tentacles into our hearts where he has held a choke-hold, keeping us bound from living the life that God has ordained for us. I can attest to this. And enough is enough!
We need to remind ourselves daily of the authority that God has given us. We must learn to walk in the spirit. To, walk by faith and not by sight. Sometimes we slip, and we allow circumstances to scare us. But we must get a hold of ourselves, and have a made up and determined mind to do what God has said, and believe in what He has already declared and decreed concerning our lives.
Luke 10:18-20 The Message (MSG) Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJ21) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG) “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Habakkuk 2:2 (MSG) And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time”
Proverbs 29:18 (KJ21) “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
God certainly does have a plan for our lives. I maintain that life is a journey that is meant to be lived. And part of that living entails ups and downs, triumphs and defeat, happiness and mourning, peace and war. Throughout our life's journey we will experience many things. We will encounter a host of things we may feel we will never make it through. However, when you know God; when you are in an intimate relationship with the Father, the journey itself may not become any easier, but it becomes easier to bear. The encounters upon the journey will no longer destroy you, but strengthen you and add to your resolve, catapulting you to the place where God has ordained.
The journey of our lives will be filled with many lessons and tests to which God has all the answers, and will reveal to you if you do not give up or succumb to the vile tactics of the enemy. There will be pitfalls and ditches, and storms. There will be unexpected detours and some less than savory people. But there will also be love, kindness and mercy. There will be good people, sunshine, and rest along the way. It is just a matter of following God's instructions, holding onto faith, and keeping the vision at the forefront. Maintain focus. Fear will appear. But you must know and remember, that God has already given you power over fear, and the ability to overcome every obstacle, and His name is, Jesus. With Him, you can never lose.
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. All fear is defeated when you declare and decree what God has spoken over you. It's time for every fear to die, so that your vision may be resurrected. God made you a promise, now you must choose to believe it and walk in it. Forget about what things look like, and hold onto what the Father has said. The word of God trumps everything else. No matter what it may appear to be. God cannot lie. Believe. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!
©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reflections4Life: "GONE"

Reflections4Life  July 13th, 2014
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”2 Samuel 22:31
Scripture Contemplation: Deuteronomy 28; 2 Kings 18; Proverbs 3; Matthew 27:43; 1 Timothy 4…
What would you do if everyone you loved, everything you had was gone? No warning. No time to prepare. Just gone? Many of us have become lulled by a sense of security; not because we trust in God, or believe that He can take care of us. No. We are lulled by the comfort many of us enjoy. We take security in the things we have and the people we know.
But what if? What if you had none of those things, and you found yourself in the midst of a war every day of your life, not knowing if today was going to be your last day? What would you do? Who would you trust? And could you truly trust in God to take care of you, although everything is crumbling around you?
I declare and decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. In a moment’s time, everything we know, believe, and love can change. Everything can be gone. May you learn to trust in God, and allow Him to anchor you, and receive His instructions on what it means to walk in total peace, even when around you ensues chaos.
All around us people are suffering. They are losing someone they love. Families are being torn apart. Children are dying. I could literally go on. And yet, for so many of us, we take for granted the peace and safety that we have. We seldom think about the, what if’s.
I watched several documentaries this past week, and also read some articles while researching about the effects of war and also the effects of gun violence on our youth and families. Perhaps some may think that this is not something you would like to hear on a Sunday? Or, something that you do not care to reflect upon at this time? Then when is a good time? When is a good time to hear what the Father has to say to you? When is it a good time to see what the Father wants you to see?
I know from experience how things can change within a twenty four hour period. In fact, a twelve hour period. Death and tragedy know no time frame. They can come at any time. And before you know it, everything you love can be gone. The world you know is gone. The peace you have is gone. And what you believe can be gone as well.
If you believe in God, and have an intimate relationship with Him, and you are reading your scripture daily, then you know that God has warned us that such things as this would happen in our lifetime. It is inevitable. However, He has given us His word that He would be with us always. That, He would never leave us or forsake us. That, although everything that we know is gone; all has changed; He will not change. And in Him we can find and maintain a strong foundation, and a place to move forward in.
1 Timothy 4:10 “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”
I particularly love The Message Bible’s translation:
1 Timothy 4:6-10 “You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.”
I look at the thousands of lives taken in communities due to gun violence. Children killing children; making a sport of taking the life of someone who may have looked at them the wrong way. Or, people so heinous to take the life of a child just to make a parent suffer.
What do we say to the parents left behind to deal with the lost? What, as believers can we offer? We can offer God. We can offer our prayers. We can offer our silence and just be there. Sometimes, just being there for someone will be the comfort that they need to begin to heal.
Far too many of us sit in judgment; especially those of us who call ourselves believers. We are quick to pass judgment and cast someone off, rather than be who God has called us to be: loving unconditionally, kind, understanding, and faithful, concerned, non-judgmental, in partial, fair, and not pompous. We use our religion as a weapon, creating toxic relationships and pushing people away.
I’ve read the articles and watched the news concerning the continuing war between Israel and Gaza. It has been going on since 1948, when Israel became a Jewish state. My heart and prayers go out the people who have lost everything. And those who have lost their entire families. I cannot fathom what their hearts and minds must be going through, with the thought of death a constant in the hearts and minds of not only adults, but the children, as well.
How long would you fight for what you believed in? Too many of us have given up on God quicker than it takes for paint to dry when something in our lives does not go as planned. Yes. Pain is real. Tragedy is real. Life is real. But guess what? God is real, too. And His word, His promises are real also. And when all is said and done, and everything is gone, God will always remain.
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity will find permanent rest in your life. Life will throw us curve balls that can take the wind out us, and cause us to fall to our knees. Allow God to lead you. Things can and often will change without a notice. In our lifetime, we will suffer loss, but we do not have to do it alone, and we can get through it when our trust is in God. He is the One constant that will always remain. Trust him, and He will lead you in perfect peace. You are blessed. Now go…and Be a Blessing!
©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.



Sunday, July 06, 2014

Reflections4Life: "Naked"

Reflections4Life July 6th, 2014
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 2; 3; Ezekiel 16; Romans 8; Hebrews 4; Revelation 3...
Just the thought of being naked before anyone use to terrify me. I am not much of an exhibitionist. And I definitely did not want anyone to see all my “bits & pieces”! I'm laughing at myself right now, so you can also! It's just something about exposing yourself that way. To have people seeing every part of you and making judgments. So not into that! Yet, the Father wants us to come before Him naked—baring our hearts and souls. Laying EVERYTHING at His feet—without shame—so that He may cover us.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source and encouragement for your heart, mind, and soul. May you have the courage to come before the Lord naked; baring your heart and soul to Him. God knows it all, but He desires for us to come willingly. To, lay our all—no matter how excruciating or embarrassing—lay it at His feet and trust Him to take care of us.
Everyday someone is making a judgment as we are exposing ourselves to the world; whether it is intentional or not. Some of us are over exposed—people know way too much about us. Whereas, the people that should know us well, know hardly anything at all.
Each time we open our mouths; every action we take—we are exposing something about who we are, or who we think we should be. Some expose themselves to gain attention. For whatever reason, there is a void in their lives and any kind of attention they can garner, whether it is positive or negative, is filling a void, but yet they still feel empty inside, and seek ways to fill it.
I give credit to my husband for opening this line of dialogue and inspiring today's Reflection about being “naked”. Our conversation, in short, was about being totally honest with one another. Sharing our heart and soul; baring our truths—good, bad, ugly, or indifferent—to one another without the fear of judgment or offense being taken. But, with the intent to bring healing, revelation, and an even stronger bond.
He brought up Adam and Even, and how in Genesis they were naked before one another, and before God without any thought or shame to their nakedness. In fact, they did not even know they were naked. They just were. They were being who God ordained them to be, and they were free. Then sin happened. And the first thing they did was to cover themselves. As if clothes could cover the darkness of our hearts, or the shame of our actions. Sin made them feel exposed, as it does to each and everyone us; causing us to want to hide, to cover up.
The Father desires for us to come before Him naked. He wants us to come before Him fully exposing what is in our hearts. Confessing to Him every thought, fear, plan, question, concern. No matter what it is, God wants to hear it. And He wants us to be free. Free to live the life that He has ordained for us, without the fear of thinking that God will not accept us or love us.
Yes. God already knows it all. The confession; the baring of our heart and soul is for us. It is for us to be free again, and to strip the enemy of any power he thinks he has over us. Coming naked before the Lord and confessing, baring every part of our heart and soul is not punishment or judgment or condemnation. It is to free us, and release any hold the enemy may have over us through guilt and shame.
Romans 8:1-2 (MSG) With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
Romans 8:31-35 (MSG) So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture...
You have nothing to lose but everything to gain when you bare all to the Lord. There is nothing that God has already known or heard, and has not made provision for. We just have to trust and believe that what God has and what God will do is best for us—always.
The shame of their sinful actions caused Adam and Even to cover themselves. They were not so much covering their nakedness; but trying to cover their guilt and shame in having sinned against God. That's where many of us live today: in a cloak of sin and shame and also of guilt. We are afraid of someone exposing us, or seeing the truth about who we think we are, instead of knowing and believing who God says we are.
With God, we don't have to be ashamed of who are or what we did. He already knows and has made a way for us to be free and to change our lives in the process. We may feel remorse, and make confession, and ask for forgiveness, but we no longer have to feel condemned when we accept Christ into our lives.
Yes. There are always consequences for actions. That is the price of the actions that we take upon this earth. Yet, even in that, we can still be liberated in our hearts and minds by laying it all before the Lord, and being honest with ourselves, with God, and with those in our lives.
Nothing hidden every stays hidden. Lies always have a way of coming out. We can run from the truth for a while, but sooner or later it shows up, and wants payment in full. I always say and believe with my whole heart that I'd rather be told the truth and be hurt, than to find out a lie and be devastated. With truth, you can rebuild and there is healing. With a lie, there is no trust and broken promises and relationships.
Whatever it is that lies within your heart, and in the recesses of your mind, I implore you to bare it all before the Lord. Confess it to the Father and be free from the bondage and manipulation of the enemy. God desires for us to walk and live and truth, and to receive all that He has ordained.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Come naked before the Lord. Allow Him to cover you with His love and heal your wounds with His touch. Exposing yourself to the Lord will only bring you strength, healing, and deliverance from the lies, condemnation, and taunts of the enemy. When you tell the truth, there is nothing left for the enemy to use against you. You are free. You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.