Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Legacy"

Reflections4Life November 26, 2017
“Legacy”
“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery, in a nutshell, is just this: Christ is in you, so, therefore, you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message.” Colossians 1:26-27 (MSG)
Scripture Contemplation: 2 Samuel 20; Proverbs 1; Romans 9; 1 Corinthians 15; Hebrews 12; Colossians 1…
©Ruthe McDonald.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for heart, mind, and soul. Seek God with all of your heart and soul, allowing Him to reveal to you the legacy that resides inside of you. The legacy of those loved ones that you may still mourn and grieve. Allow God to show you how to turn that mourning into gladness and all suffering into a teaching moment for you and others. There are healing and greatness after the pain of loss, and a beautiful message to be shared, and received.
For those who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, I hope that it was filled with much love and joy, with happy memories being made. Mine was very quiet and left a lot of time for me to think and contemplate on quite a few things. One of those things, as I spoke with a loved one, was the ache you feel in your heart when you think of the ones you love that have passed on to glory. How their presences are missed and how things were when they were here with us.
There are times when missing our loved ones is so heavy that we can barely breathe. Our hearts ache and the longing for them only intensifies. For some, the mourning and grieving can become debilitating, leaving them almost paralyzed and unable to move forward in life. In addition to this mourning are our own life struggles, heartbreaks, and life and heart lessons.
Can I be honest with you, Beloveds? Completely transparent and authentic? For the past three years—at the minimum—I have been going through some harrowing things. I have not—my person—been okay for a long time. My work, my ministry, what I do for others have been okay. In fact, much of it has been thriving. However, me—my person—that part of me that is just about me, the relationship with myself and how I feel and what hurts me has not been okay for a long time.
She has been in a lot of pain; suffering a lot of heartache and loss. There has been a lot of brokenness and incompleteness. However, God is making up in me what needs completing. He is filling that part of me; that part of me that is separate from what I do—the personal me—God is taking care of and completing the work that needs to be fulfilled; to complete on my part the assignment on my family’s lineage and legacy. Giving me yet another purpose to pursue.
Part of my personal heartaches is grieving my loved ones, my mentors who poured into me every single day of my life encouragement and inspiration, especially my mother. The transitions of my loved ones have only intensified the other heartaches. The personal hurts, and wounds sustained—not by my own device or hands—have taken its toll. Have you ever felt like your life is nothing but suffering and loss? This is a critical place, Beloved.  
The suffering and the loss overwhelm us, not knowing what to do, how to cope and move forward. We feel stuck and uncertain. This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. We are either going to pray and seek God more earnestly. Or, we move away from God and allow the hurt, pain, and loss swallow us whole, along with our dreams, hopes, visions, and legacies.
I refuse to allow what I am going through to stop me from running the race that God says I have already won. I refuse to allow this hurt and sorrow to drown me and keep me from finishing the work God and my loved ones began. I refuse to allow ANYONE to steal from me hope, joy, and belief in love and happiness. Not going to happen, Especially when God tells me that sorrow only lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning. I may not know how long that night is or when that morning will finally get here, but I can trust God to keep His word that it is coming!
In the meantime, as I transition through these feelings, God is bringing healing and completeness to my person. I have learned and am remembering that I must be proactive in my healing and deliverance. This is a FAITH walk and not a FEELING or EMOTIONS walk. The truth is, our emotions/feelings will delude us and have us give up when we are that close to our morning and breakthroughs. Beloveds, emotions/feelings cannot be trusted. They move and change like the wind. They are unstable and unreliable. However, faith in our Father will always be stable. God is not moved by our emotions or feelings. He is moved by our faith, by our obedience and sacrifice.
My grieving and mourning time is over. It is time to celebrate the life and legacy of my loved ones. Grieving over what someone did to me, broken promises, hurt and harm, is OVER. I take stand NOW, in the promises of God, move forward in faith and boldness, and take the lessons I have learned and share them with others. I pick up the baton that my loved ones have left to be completed. It’s my turn to do my part. To add to my family’s legacy on this earth. To make sure the names, work, and heart of those transitioned are not forgotten but continue to grow and be established for generations to come.
What I have suffered personally; the heartaches and heartbreaks that I have endured did not and could not break me. Not with God in my life and on my side. I have learned that all of it has been for my growth and development and walk in the Lord. Once I surrendered it all to God and allowed Him complete access to my heart, soul, and mind—the Father began taking those hurts and using it for my good and the good of others, establishing a purpose for me to complete. Life does not always go the way we desire. Yet, the lessons we are learning, the pain we endure, the forgiveness we receive—is all a part of God creating a legacy; a legacy of greatness, of love, of promise.
My Beloveds, may the spirit of peace and prosperity finds permanent rest in your lives. I decree that every good thing that God has ordained for your life will become evident to you. God takes our suffering, our mourning, and grieving, and gives us strength and purpose in its place. We all have legacies to carry on and to create. Take off your mourning clothes and put on the garments of praise and worship. God has something great in store for you. All you have to do is believe it and accept it. God will do the rest. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!

©2017. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"God Is Not Complicated"

Reflections4Life November 19, 2017
“God Is Not Complicated”
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] ‘Yes’. So through Him we say our ‘Amen’ to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 18:14; Psalm 100; 131; 2 Timothy 3…

I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. I implore you to not complicate what God has made easy. Do not overthink or analyze the goodness and grace of God. Learn to go with the flow; the flow of the Holy Spirit. How do you know that God is not as complicated as people made Him out to be?—by learning for yourself by spending intimate time with the Father, developing your personal relationship.
It must be human nature for us to over-complicate things. I do not know about you, but as I have gotten older, and I have learned that little children and old people got it right: simply is better. What I truly think is as we grow and mature in life; we are exposed to so many different beliefs, ideologies, so many people, ideas, thoughts on life and walks of life, what is right, and what is wrong, that our brain becomes a hodge-podge of information collected over the years. We try to decipher everything as best we can; most becoming a combination of all the things they have learned over the years. With that many influences, there is bound to be complications; too many thoughts and ideas fighting for the first position.
Humanity loves to make God seem complicated. We place God in a box and believe that this is who He is and what He wants. We learn as children that there either is a God, no God, many gods, demi-gods, one true religion, manufactured religion, no religion, and etcetera. I can literally go on. It is not difficult to see how one may come to the conclusion that God is complicated when so many have painted Him in so many different lights with so many attributes, that our minds become discombobulated and not really sure what to believe.
Beloved, God is not complicated. God has no gray areas. He is definite in what He says and who He is. It is black or white; hot or cold; yes or no. God is not a God of confusion. He knows how to say exactly what He means without speculation or subcontexts. He knows how to send a word, gives a word, and proclaim a word. God speaks to us every day if we are listening. When we believe in God; when we accept Christ as our Savior and begin to spend intimate time with Him and get to know His heart and mind; we learn His voice. The spirit of discernment sharpens and complications begin to fall away.
1 Corinthians 14:33 …for God [who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God’s people)…
John 10:27 The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.
In the presence of God, there is peace and understanding. There is a revelation that takes place. Knowledge is gained and wisdom is given. As children, we are sponges soaking up all the information we receive and storing it. The easier it is to understand, the more we get it and move on. As senior adults, we have lived through so much that we know what works and what does not work. We have the wisdom of our years and the discernment of age and experience. We are not searching for who we are, what we should be, or what to believe. We already know. And because we realize how precious time is, whatever does not work or fit, we let it go and move on. Complications are time-consuming and we do not have the luxury of wasting any time we are blessed with. So, simply becomes better, once again.
Here’s what I know and understand, Beloveds: What God desires for us is not complicated. The only way for any of us to truly know and understand this is to get to know God for ourselves. We need an intimate and personal relationship with our Lord. As a teacher, I would always tell my students (as a consultant and Mentor, I tell my clients and mentees this also) that the best-learned lessons come from what you gain for yourself. First-hand experience and knowledge beats second-hand knowledge and experiences any day. Because what you learn and receive for yourself is priceless. No one can take that away from you or alter it. It is yours.
Grant it, we have some wonderful teachers (and some not so wonderful ones too) that teach us what they know. However, it is not until we learn for ourselves, put into practice what we have been taught, and go through the various trials and errors that we learn what works for us. It is the same when it comes to our relationship with God. We can sit under a Pastor, Minister, Bishop, Priest, etcetera, and hear and learn what they know, follow their advice, but it is not until we start walking the walk for ourselves, living our lives accordingly, and getting to Christ for ourselves that we truly know and understand who God is and who we are.
A personal relationship with God is necessary in order to know and understand His heart. God is not complicated. Once we allow Him to strip away all preconceived notions and experience God for ourselves, a wonderful thing occurs. Our hearts are opened, our minds illuminated, our eyes and ears become receptive to Him and what we thought we knew is replaced with the truth that can only be verified by a personal, intimate relationship with God.
Here is what God desires for us: To serve Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and our very being. To believe in the Lord Jesus, confess our sins, repent, and receive redemption. Allow Holy Spirit to teach us and lead us; meditate on His word day and night, spending intimate quality time in His presence. Get to know His heart as He reveals His truth and our truths so that He can bless us, as He desired to do since the moment He created us before we ever entered this realm of time. If we fall, get back up. Share His truth and our testimony with those around us. Now, does that sound complicated to you?
My Beloveds, may the spirit of peace and prosperity finds permanent rest in your lives. I decree that every good thing that God has ordained for your life will become evident to you. Do not allow the world to complicate the love of God in your life. God loves you and desires an intimate one on one relationship with you. Let Him surprise you with just how easy it is to love you and bless you. You deserve a little less complication in your life. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing.
©2017. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Sometimes It Doesn't Make Any Sense"

Reflections4Life November 12, 2017
“Sometimes It Doesn't Make Any Sense”
“Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. Just make me a little bread from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward, you may make one for yourself and for your son.  For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted nor shall the jar of oil be empty until the day that the Lord sends rain [again] on the face of the earth.’” She went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.  The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, in accordance with the word of the Lord, which He spoke through Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:13-16
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 17; 18; Exodus 16; 1 Kings 17; Esther 8; Luke 1...
©Ruthe McDonald.
Has there been a time in your life when God has told you something but it did not make any sense to you? Your human senses just couldn't comprehend it? You immediately began thinking: how, what, why, where, when? I have been there. God has spoken some things to me; has shown me some wonderful and miraculous things. In the past, it would not register with my human mind. It did not make any sense; did not even seem possible. I asked a lot of how's that going to happen? How's that possible? I just could not wrap my brain around the awesomeness of it all. Yet, my spirit believed with no question. I have since learned it does not have to make any sense to my human senses, as long as my heart knows and believes God never lies. This, Beloved, is where faith takes over and facts cease to exist.
I decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Allow the very word of God to penetrate your heart. Walk in the mind of Christ, believing that whatever God has spoken and shown to you, it will surely happen. God cannot lie. Though things may seem impossible to your physical senses, allow the sincerity and wondrous works of Holy Spirit to take you higher, filling your heart and mind until your spirit believes all that God has spoken concerning you and you and your faith is complete.
Can you put yourself in the widow woman’s shoes for a moment? You have only a little bit of meal and oil, enough for the last meal for you and your son. You have already made up your mind that you both will die soon from starvation. One day a man of God comes to you telling you, one: to use your last little bit to make him a cake, and two: the barrel of meal and cruse of oil you now have will last until the drought is over. That is a lot of information to take in, comprehend, and believe. However, as the prophet of God continued to speak to her, her heart with faith in God. Though she still had doubt, what did she have to lose by listening to the prophet of God? So, she trusts in the word of God and not in the facts before her eyes.
We have no answer for many things. There are things we objectively cannot seem to find a plausible reason for; things that make no sense to our human mind; things that seem impossible. Yet, God desires for us to go beyond our human mind, intellect, and reasoning, and simply believe. Believe in that which He has spoken to our hearts, what He has shown us. Simply: Have Faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
Hebrews 11:1 (MSG) The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 
It took faith for this widow woman to believe in what the prophet had spoken to her; faith to believe that God had chosen her and her son to receive this miracle and blessing; trusting that everything was going to work out. That, indeed, if she fed the prophet of God as he instructed, God would provide. That, He would take her little and multiply it.
How many of us are willing to give God our last? To take what we know is not much but is very much needed and give it or use it in the manner in which God instructs, letting go of what we had planned. It is not an easy thing when we look at our hands and count what we do not have, as opposed to looking at what God does have and has promised. It is a definite leap of faith; especially when you have been living paycheck to paycheck, or have your last and God is asking you to do what He says with money you allocated to buy that weeks’ worth of groceries.
I am certain it did not make any sense to Abram when God told him that he was going to become a father in his old age. It definitely did not make any sense to Sarai. She laughed at the promise because it did not make sense to her human understanding. Her doubt led her to give her husband her maid to sleep with, resulting in Ishmael. To this very day, because of one woman's doubt in the spoken word of God, we have two nations forever fighting; Ishmael vs Isaac. 
We must learn to see through our spiritual eyes. Many things that God has to share with us will not make any sense to our human mind or way of thinking. We must come up higher and see through our spiritual eyes. We must walk in faith and trust in that which God speaks concerning our lives. God specializes in the impossible, not always the facts, or the obvious.
There are things that are impossible for man—impossible for man to understand. Yet, for those who would dare to have faith, to walk in faith and trust in what God has spoken, their life will see the impossible take place. Their lives filled with the unexpected; with the constant blessings of God working on their behalf.
Charged to walk by faith and not by sight, not all that God has ordained for us will make any sense to our senses, but it will bear witness with our soul and spirit if we have developed and nurtured our intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.
The Father desires to bless beyond what can be seen with natural eyes. He wants to take you to another level of faith. That, though you waited a long while for answers, for what God has spoken to you to come to pass, that you will believe no matter what. That, it no longer has to make any sense to your senses or to those around you, as long as God has spoken it that settles it and that is what it shall be. Faith—immovable, unshaken, solid, and unbreakable.
My Beloveds, may the spirit of peace and prosperity finds permanent rest in your lives. I decree that every good thing that God has ordained for your life will become evident to you. Get out of your senses and into your spirit. Let your faith lead you where God has promised you. Believe with your heart, and not with your eyes or intellect. God cannot lie. His promises are certain and happening in your life. You are blessed. Now go...and be a blessing!
©2017. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, November 05, 2017

"Can I Get a Testimony?"

Reflections4Life November 5, 2017
“Can I Get a Testimony?”
“And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11
Scripture Contemplation: Exodus 23; Deuteronomy 5:20; Psalm 132:12; Acts 8; 2 Corinthians 13; Hebrews 10:14-16…
©Ruthe McDonald.
When is the last time that you recall hearing a church have testimony time? Do churches still have that? I know that some churches, due to a “time constraint” no longer have in their “program” a time for testimonies. I have been hearing a lot of complaining, talking about a whole lot of other things, but I have not heard too many testifying of what God has done in their lives. Can I get a testimony?
I declare that this week’s Reflection is a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for the heart, mind, and soul. I challenge you this week that whatever God has worked out for you; whatever He presses upon your heart to share—share it. Share the goodness of God this week. I dare you to testify and let someone else know how good God has been to you. Let them know of the goodness of God. Do not be ashamed of what you may have gone through, also do not be stingy with telling others of God’s grace and mercy. We overcome by the word of our testimony.
Beloved, this is what I know today: there are power and healing in our testimonies. There are far too many people waiting on a word from God and guess what? We are that word! God uses us—believers, overcomers, beneficiaries—of His love and kindness to go out and share the good news of not only the saving grace and love of Christ but also the goodness of God and His favor and what He has brought us through.
Did you not know that we do not need a title, a position, a degree, or anything to minister the word of God? No. We do not need that to reach others. We also do not need to be perfect, have it all together, or pretend to have all the answers. All we have to do is share what God has done in our lives. Let someone else know that what they are going through, God can and will see them through. You know, because of what God has done for you.
Do you know how many men, women, and children are walking around—some in your own home—feeling alone, depressed, some even at the point of despair and wanting to take their own lives because they feel alone, forgotten, weird, or ashamed of things that nine times out of ten were not even their fault. Here some of us are; acting all perfect, sanctified as if we always had it all together and cannot relate.
We need to tell the truth, destroy the enemy’s plot to rob one more life and share our testimonies. I am not telling you to bare your secrets; those things that are only between you and God. However, I know there is something that you can share with someone to lift him or her up. To encourage them; even if you think it is insignificant. What may seem insignificant to you can be the very thing that someone else needs to hear.
God did not bless us, Beloved, for us to keep our mouths closed. He did not deliver us so we can stand smug and self-righteous with an air of piety and act like our lives are perfect and have always been perfect. God did not bless us, meet our needs, take us from poverty, give us food on the table, clothes on our back, and restore our health, renew our minds, for us to act like we did it all on our own, or pretend like we have never been through hardships.
It is reminiscent of growing up in a rough neighborhood, having dreams to make it out. When you do, you never look back, even though you know you may still have family there, and others—children, teenagers—who are like you were, and could benefit from seeing that someone can and did make it out; that, their beginning did not have to define their future. That God will open up doors if that is what they truly desire.
Yet, too many do not want to remember where they came from. They want to act as if they always had it together. They want to act as if they do not know what welfare, government cheese, second-hand stores, the neighborhood bodega or corner store are. Neither do they want to acknowledge that instead of learning about depositing a check and saving money, they were only used to a check-cashing place, and having to choose which bill to pay and what had to wait.
Come on now! Tell the truth about your life experiences and put all shame behind you! God wants to deliver people through our testimony today. He wants to use us to bring hope, healing, deliverance, and strength to a hurting people, to someone who is barely holding on and wondering if there truly is a God. Our testimony just may save a life!
Listen, I have a testimony that I have burning inside of me that God has not released me to share just yet. However, I have other testimonies that I share on occasion. Such as experiencing molestation as a little girl, physical and mental abuse, being told I that my dreams for my life were too lofty. My father being murdered. I’ve been on welfare after receiving a degree, fired for standing up for my truth, on the brink of losing my home within days before God opened a door, feeling depressed because I felt like my life was not as I hoped and planned. Feeling rejected, abandoned. Feeling like a total failure, feelings of self-loathing, self-hate, severe depression, as if God was not listening to me; feelings of hopelessness, and pain so deep it took my breath. This is in not only my distant past but also some recently. Yet GOD! His grace is sufficient and it is incumbent on me to tell someone else the good news of God’s grace and favor! I cannot keep this truth to myself, especially knowing that it has the ability to bring comfort and hope to someone else.
My Beloveds, may the spirit of peace and prosperity finds permanent rest in your lives. I decree that every good thing that God has ordained for your life will become evident to you. God is a restorer, Beloved. God will do for you what you and no one else can ever do if you would give Him the chance to do it. Do not sit on your testimony. Someone is waiting on you, to hear what you have to say because your words and your testimony matter too. In case, you forgot: You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2017. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.