Sunday, December 28, 2014

"The Lessons Learned, The Badges Earned"

Reflections4Life,  December 28th, 2014
“The Lessons Learned, the Badges Earned”
“Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.” Matthew 24:32-35 (MSG)
Scripture Contemplation: Psalm 34; Proverbs 6; Mark 13; Hebrews 8; James 5…
I can barely believe this is the last Sunday of the year! Wow! As I look over the year and the many things that have happened—good, bad, ugly, wonderful—I know it all has served as lessons. And for many of us, we have definitely earned some badges of honor along the way.
I declare and decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. As you reflect upon this year, and all the lessons and tests, and trials and triumphs; let your heart be filled with joy, and the knowledge that God not only brought you through it all, but He was right there with you, and continues to be with you right now.
Every test, trial, hardship; even our triumphs and accolades have served as life lessons that we can bring into the New Year. Whether they taught us what to do, what not to do, who to listen to, who not to listen to, what we truly desire, and what we should move on from; it was all valuable lessons that can help us to navigate a New Year, not with resolutions, but decrees and declarations. Declare and decree what God says of you. Declare the will of God shall be done, and decree that you will walk in wisdom, doing and living your best life.
This wasn't an easy year for most. We saw many changes and causes, and people coming together, as well as be divided, but that's to be expected with changes. The world is constantly changing, and so are we. Hopefully and prayerfully we can take the changes and become better human beings that are less moved by emotions, but more inclined to action by our spirit.
Many of us will look back and wonder how we made it! There were some sketchy days, weeks and months when we did not know how we would make it to tomorrow, let alone next week, next month or a next year. Yet here we are. In the land of the living by the grace of God.
Yes. We have been hurt this past year. We have experienced disappointments. We have been let down, lied to, manipulated. We’ve lost loved ones, been separated from those we love, been rejected, and let down by those we call family and friends. But we’re still here. In the land of the living. We may be hurting, but we’re alive to feel it. And as long as we have breath in our body, the blood flowing through our veins; we have an opportunity to see that joy comes in the morning.
Every hurt, disappointment, loss, heartache and betrayal can serve as life lessons in our journey. Every relationship we have whether it worked out or not, taught us something. Every day we are upon this earth, we are being given life lessons. Lessons that we can learn from to help cultivate and propel our lives in the direction that God has ordained.
What a sad predicament to live a life where lessons are never learned. Where, we perpetually live the same situations over and over again; have the same kind of relationships over and over again, and wake with the same disappointments all because we didn’t take heed to the lessons that our life has been teaching us all along.
Until we learn the lessons well, we will never pass the tests to get to the next level of life that awaits us. The problem for most is that we run from life—from its lessons. We deny what’s in front of us and live in a world made up of lies we’ve created to get from one day to the next. It’s like that movie, Groundhog Day, where the main character relives the same day over and over again until he begins to learn the lessons that he was ignoring all of his life. The lessons of life, love, selflessness, and respect for himself and others.
This year has presented us with lessons that we can learn and glean from. We can take these lessons and walk into the New Year fully armed and prepared to live life differently and according to what God has ordained. Too many of us, however, will repeat the trials and tests of this past year because we deny what’s right in front of us. We deny the problems and situations that have been compounding for years and years.
We have a choice, Beloved. We have a grand opportunity to face the truth, take the lessons (even the most painful ones) and learn from them. Learn who we are. Learn who God truly is. And then begin to live the life that God has ordained for us all along. Sure, we may have to let some people go from our lives. We may have to walk away from some situations and people. We may have to sever some ties professionally and financially. We may have to move away. If you want to be free in the New Year; if you truly want what God has ordained—then there are some hard decisions that will have to be made. Just know, however, that God is there with you. He is right there with you through it all. Trust Him.
Thank you for spending this year with me. I have truly enjoyed your company and the pleasure of connecting with some very wonderful and beautiful souls. My prayer for you is that your New Year will be filled with answered prayers, safety, ingenuity, integrity, joy, peace, success, and an abundance of sincere Love! Blessings to you and yours!
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Take the lessons you learned this year to help you be free in the New Year. Wear your badges of triumph well. You earned them! Don’t dismiss the lessons of this year, or deny your experiences. You cannot have a “clean slate” in the New Year with debris from the past causing lumps under the rug, so to speak. Confront it. Confess it. Deal with it. Take its lessons and move on from it. God will be with you through it all. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"There's Room For You"

Reflections4Life December 21, 2014
There's Room For You.”
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7 NKJV
Scripture Contemplation: Psalm 23; Matthew 1; Luke 1-2; John 1...

I take pleasure in knowing that Jesus is the reason for this season. I have joy in knowing that because He was born, my place at the Father's table became possible. I thank God for His precious gift, that made it possible for there to be room for me in my Father's house.

I wish each and everyone a very blessed Christmas! Certainly this year has moved along quite quickly. I can hardly believe that, here we are, celebrating Christmas this week when it feels like we were just in the month of July. But as the world waxes colder, the days grow shorter, and Christ is soon to return; I pray that we will remember the Word and promises of God; to keep them hidden in our hearts and live them day by day, cherishing the gift that God gave us that ensured our place at His eternal table.

I declare and decree that this week's Reflections will be a source of continued encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Give God the glory—in the good times, the bad times, the uncertain times. Do not allow your current situation or circumstance determine your prayer or praise to the Father. Remember the goodness of God in your life. Meditate in the word of God. Study it. Pray it. Recite it to the atmosphere. And allow the heavenly Father to remind you of your place at His eternal table, where Christ secured a spot just for you.

For many people, their lives have consisted of them trying to fit in. Trying to be accepted and become a part of something. Whether it's family, a clique, a sorority, a fraternity, a club, the cool kids, etcetera. There is a desire in everyone to be wanted, desired and accepted. There is no one on this earth that likes or wants to be rejected; especially from one's family.

During my time in college, that was the first time I really noticed that not everyone had a family like mine. They didn't share that closeness, the family gatherings, the looking out for one another. I also realized about myself, that I never tried or desired to be accepted or fit into one certain group. Don't get me wrong; there were times of rejection in my life. But I moved on, because as it turns out, I attract friends rather easily; friends that would become like family. Friendships that I cherish to this day.

Yet, whether you're like me or like many others who have experienced rejection often, or fight to try and fit in, there is always a part of you—myself included—that wonders where do you fit in? Where do you belong? And will you be accepted for who you are? It crosses my mind each time I write an article or begin a new story, or write a reflection. With all the information, books, articles out there; will mine be able to stand out? Will it even make a difference? Where does my voice fit in with so many voices already out there?

God answered that right away: There's room for you. There's a place for your voice, for your gift, for your talent. There is a place for you in this world and at My table. Jesus secured a place just for me, and He secured a place just for you.

The Father also helped me to understand that where there is no room, or seems to be no way—then you make a way. You create a door. Create a new path. You be the first to tread that new pathway. You create a legacy; a business; an opportunity. You put yourself out there and become the very thing you were looking for in others.

I think of Joseph and Mary going from inn to inn being told that there was no room. No room for the Son of God to be born. No room for a woman heavy with pregnancy to give birth. So they made room—in a manger. Where Christ our Lord was born. 

Jesus was rejected over and over again. He was not accepted by most of His family. When He tried to preach and teach and give in His own home city of Nazareth, He was rejected. Here it is, the Son of God and He is doing great things for other cities and nations. But amongst His own...nothing. Because they did not believe and they rejected who He was. They could not see Him as anything but the carpenter's son.

That is how it is for many of us today. Many people; especially family and people you grew up with, will never see you for who you truly are. They will not see the changes. They will not see the growth or accomplishments because they are blinded by your start. But as we move forth in the Lord, we come to understand that it is not about how we start, but how we finish that counts.

There is room for you in this world. There is room for your voice, your ideas, your gifts and your talents. Yet, most importantly, there is room for you at the Father's table. There is a spot that has been reserved just for you; secured the moment Jesus entered this earth realm.

Many will judge us by our past. They will never be able to see past our beginning. We will be rejected countless of times. Told no too many times to count. However, one YES from God trumps all of that! As long as God has said yes, there will always be room. Room to grow, to learn, to build, to create, to be just who God ordained us to be. Don't allow rejection to stop you or hinder you any longer. You're in great company...Jesus was rejected also, but He did it God's way. And because He did, we can also.

I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Be strong. Be courageous. Stand firm in your faith. There is room for you, because God has already secured it. Remember the reason for this season. Remember: one yes from God trumps every and all no's you have ever heard. Have a blessed Christmas! You are Blessed. Now go...and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Shake It Off!"

Reflections4Life December 14th, 2014
“Shake It Off!”
“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10:14
Scripture Contemplation: Judges 16:20; Nehemiah 5:13; Psalm 109:23; Isaiah 43;
2 Thessalonians 2; Hebrews 12…
Life is a journey that has many ups and downs, twists and turns. Things can happen unexpectedly and affect our lives in ways we never thought. We've often been told to "Let go and Let God". We do. But what happens when the memory of the thing we let go of pops up and takes us for a heart-wrenching ride? Those are the times when we must learn to shake it off.
I declare and decree that this week's Reflections is a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. As you let go and let God, let the Father fill you and renew your mind. Think on the great and wonderful things of God and His promises. So when the shadows of the past come, you can shake it off.
We can be living our lives, all is going well, when something will happen, or someone will say something and we are suddenly encumbered by the thoughts and shadows of our past. It can throw us for a loop, disrupting our lives and may even stagnate us for a time.
Letting go was great. But we need to learn how to shake it off; shake off the remnants of our past before it pulls us down and keeps us from moving forward and living God's best. Our past can be a chokehold on our future if we don't learn how to shake off the reminders that the enemy strategically hits us with; trying to stop our future. Which he can't. He's just hoping we're gullible enough to fall for his continued lies and game of smoke and mirrors.
Isaiah 43:18-19a “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?”
Beloveds, we can let go of the past but still be haunted by its memories. The enemy is wonderful at using our past against us and whispering our unworthiness of the goodness of God’s blessings. The Father desires to do a new thing. And as we let go, it does not mean that we are not affected by the memories, however we can move forward with the knowledge that our past holds no power when God has already forgiven us. It’s just that memories can be powerful tools of the enemy to come and cripple us. And they always seem to surface as we are fully prepared to move ahead.
It’s. Just. A. Test. Trust me when I tell you. God is allowing the enemy to try, but once God has already declared you the winner; that’s what it is. The enemy just wants US to think that he has some kind of power, so he tries to intimidate us into submission by dredging up old memories.
The Father tells us to not call to mind the former things or to think on them. He already warns us that it has the ability to steal our attention and make us miss the new thing He is doing. Before you know it, we are repeating the past, and have picked up what we long ago let go. Don’t do it, Beloveds. Shake it off. Shake off the memories, the regrets, and the past, and receive what God has ordained for you today.
Here’s what I know for certain: There are many things that give us pause in our lives. Things we should and have let go of. Sometimes I find that letting go is the easy part. It’s the memories that seem to have a hold on your soul. At unexpected times, memories can bombard you, causing you to feel overwhelmed. These are the times when we must learn to shake it off. Shake off those memories. Shake off the dust of past mistakes, failures, rejection, and disappointment. Shake it all off. We let go, but there seems to be some residue in our mind we're not aware of; like a sheet or layer of dust that can't be seen until the sun or light hits it. When you let go, don't pick it up again. When the light exposes the residue, shake it off. Do not entertain thoughts and memories that steal your joy and claim your peace. When they come...shake it off and keep it moving! There is too much good that God has ahead of you.
I decree that the spirit of peace and of prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Before you is a road that God has designed just for you. It is not an easy road, but a rewarding road, that is filled with the love and promises of God. In order to move forward on this road we will have to let go of our past. Just know, however, that on this road there are those on the sideline that will look and sound familiar and try to get you off your path. Don’t stop. Whatever you, keep moving. Keep your focus on God, shake off the remnants of the past and keep walking into the promises of God for your life. Just as there are reminders of your past; there will be reminders of your future. Don’t forfeit the gift of today and the blessings of tomorrow, for the memories of a past that God has already forgiven you for. You are stronger than you believe. You are Blessed. Now go…and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

"Fall Into The Arms of God"

Reflections4Life December 6, 2014
“Fall into the Arms of God”
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:1
Scripture Contemplation: Joshua 2; Psalm 5; Palm 31; Psalm 91; Philippians 3; 2 Timothy 4; 1 Peter 5…
In our lifetime, we fall for so many things: people, words, things, etcetera. We fall into diverse situations, sometimes not even knowing how we got there. Other times knowing exactly how, but to ashamed to confess it, so we stay in that situation while our soul and heart become harden. It's time for us to fall into the arms of God. To, fall in love with God.
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 you allow the Heavenly Father to pour into you. To, give you what you have been searching for all along but did not know how to find.
There is nothing in this earth that can outdo the protective and healing arms of God. There is no condemnation. There is no pain. There is no looking over your shoulder. There are no lies. Though there is truth that may sting and hurt a bit; there is no harm.
In the arms of God there is healing and unconditional love. Many of us cannot see this or understand this, because we have listened too long to the lies and whispers of the enemy. For so long, so many have been searching to fill a void, an emptiness in their hearts with temporal things. At first, they feel full, satiated, and complete. Then after a while, a feeling of emptiness and longing starts to stir up again. They’re soon looking to someone or something else to fill that emptiness, only to repeat the painful cycle.
The whole time, while seeking and searching high and low to fill that void, to appease that ache, God is there. He is there waiting to receive us into the shelter of His arms. He calls to us. He reaches for us. However, all too often, we reject God. We reject His hands and His love. But the enemy will have us to believe that God has rejected us.
Allow me to say this to your soul and spirit before continuing forth. Just because you may not have received an answer to your prayer in the way in which you were expecting, does not mean that God has rejected you. Just because you have prayed for something and it did not come to pass does not mean that God has rejected you. Just because you received a no for now, does not mean that God has rejected you. God has not rejected or abandoned you. And no right now, does not mean it will always be a no.
Beloveds, allow this to ruminate in your heart and mind: Sometimes God has something far greater than you could ever imagine for yourself, and He does things in His way and His time, but it is always for your good. God cannot lie. He will keep His promise to you, and give you that expected end that is filled with grace, mercy, love and joy.
There are many of that have placed our trust and belief in others and things and have been sorely disappointed over and over again. It has, for many, jaded them when it comes to believing in someone. It has also cause some to place God on that same level as man.
God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. (Numbers 21:19) Rest assure; whatever God has spoken and promised to you, it will come to pass in due season. We just have to make sure we are ready, and have lived our life accordingly. Otherwise, we can find ourselves out of position to receive the manifestations of the blessings.
Beloveds, we have listened to the wrong people for far too long. We have put our trust and faith into people and things that have no idea who we are and what God has ordained for us. We have fallen for the lies of the enemy and believed what he has spoken concerning us and God. It's time to change the station and hear what God is saying to you today. Fall into the shelter and love of God's arms. Let Him love on you and restore you and strengthen you. What do you have to lose? Nothing but your past hurt and shame. But, you have so much to gain.
I decree that the spirit of peace and prosperity has found permanent rest in your lives. Fall into the arms of God where there is always room for you. Fall into the shelter and safety of the arms that have been open for you since you entered this realm of time. Receive freely what Jesus has already paid for in full. Receive the comfort and peace that can only come from a Father who loves you, accepts you, and sees you just as you truly are. You are Blessed. Now go…and Be a Blessing!

©2014. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.