Sunday, January 28, 2018

"Responsibility and Accountability"

Reflections4Life January 28, 2018
“Responsibility and Accountability”
“Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?” Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.” John 9:40-41 (MSG)
Scripture Contemplation: Leviticus 24:13-16; Proverbs 22:17-21; Ezra 10; Hebrews 10; Galatians 6; 1 Timothy 5…

We can point our fingers at everyone else for our unhappiness, lack of success, not having everything we desire in our lives, and for things just not going the way we want. We all have a choice in life: to continue with what we know or have been raised and taught, or to find a different path, a better path, that will lead us into the lives we desire. It is time to take responsibility for our lives and accountability for the choices we make, and the lives we influence. It is time to walk in our destiny.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Spend quality time in the presence of God this week. There is so much that He wants to reveal to our heart and soul. When we are in the presence of God, we not only learn who God is, His desires for our lives, we also learn who we are and what we need to live our best life. God teaches how to take responsibility for whom we are and be accountable to not only ourselves but also for how our choices affect others.
I do not understand the reasons for some things happening or existing. There are actions taking place; decisions that people make which affect other people's lives in unbelievable ways—and yet, no one wants to take responsibility or be accountable for themselves or the lives of people they have influence over. I do not get it in my human mind. Not on the level of my flesh. However, my spirit gets it. That part of me that is connected to my Creator. The ONE who knows all sees all is all-powerful. That part of me gets it. I may not understand why something is allowed but God's ways are so far beyond us. His reasons are above what many can comprehend.
When you think you have it all figured out, God reveals something else, and you are like really, God? What is this all about? Then the Father goes and starts asking you some questions. When God begins to ask you the questions, it is important that we are listening because He is imparting answers and truth to our heart and soul that will give light to what is going on around us, and understanding to our hearts and minds concerning many things. Whatever we receive, we are responsible for that knowledge and wisdom gained and become accountable for how we use it, and how we treat and teach others around us, and how we are representing the Kingdom of Heaven and our Heavenly Father.
God posed some poignant questions to Simon Peter. He gave to Peter a responsibility to carry out, while making him accountable for those God was sending him to, fully knowing that Peter would deny Him three times. Yet, even in Christ questioning of Peter, He was redeeming him from his future denial.
John 21:15-18 “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
Beloveds, God knows us. He knows all about us. He knows our past, our present, and our future. He knows our thoughts before we think them. He knows what we are going to do before we even think to do it. Still, He calls us. He loves us. He has forgiven us. In addition, He chooses to use us to show His love and glory to others. However, we must learn to take responsibility for our actions or inactions, and be accountable for the decisions we make—not placing the blame on others. This action allows God to not only bless us, but use us in such a capacity that brings healing, deliverance, and understanding and strength to others.
God knew we were going to mess up royally. What, you don’t think God knew you were going to reject Him a few times? You don’t think God knew you were going to make some bad decisions and take a bit longer to get to a place of understanding. God knows ALL of this, and still chooses you and calls you by name.
God even knows how the enemy is going to come after us. The enemy has to get permission from God to even mess with us! God knows what the enemy does not know and what we should know from spending intimate time with the Father is that we have already won! This is a test that we can win if we do not give up or in, to the enemy. Jesus Himself is praying for our strength, knowing how heavy it will get. Yet, God is allowing it to strengthen us and get us into a position for His glory to manifest in our lives. God is confident in our ability to overcome and to take what we have learned and gained and strengthen others. Tests teach us responsibility and accountability.
Luke 21:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has [a]demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus chose Simon Peter that very first day while he was fishing, knowing that he would deny Him three times. He chose Simon Peter, knowing he was a hot-head and had a foul mouth and would get into arguments with Saul and the other Apostles. Jesus knew all of this, but yet, He still chose Peter, loved Peter, made Simon Peter part of His three confidants who He took up to the Mount of Transfiguration. Nevertheless, Jesus also knew that Peter would repent; that, Simon Peter, because of his past and experience; because of his closeness to Him, he would take care of His lambs and His sheep. That, even unto death, Simon Peter would never deny Christ again, but on him, God would build His church—a sure and steady foundation.
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. Beloveds, it is not how we start out but how we finish. It is not who we were but who God is calling us to be. When we believe God and take responsibility for ourselves, hold ourselves accountable for our actions and not place the blame on anyone else, we become the instrument that God will use and trust for His glory. Responsibility and accountability make us a vessel to show the love and redemptive power of our Lord and Savior. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

"Behind The Glory"

Reflections4Life January 21, 2018
“Behind The Glory”
“Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15
Scripture Contemplation: Proverbs 15:13; 27:19; Jeremiah 17; Hosea 7; Colossians 2; 3…

You hear me giving God the glory. You witness me lifting up my hands in praise, bowing my head in prayer, turning down my plate for fasting, and hear me often say, “Glory to my God Most High”. Yet, my current circumstances bewilder you. You cannot wrap your physical mind around how and why I am praising God. What could I possibly have to be thankful for? From your point of view, I am losing; have already lost the battle; abandoned by God in my time of need. You cannot understand the reason behind the glory I give to God. That is because you do not know my entire story. Moreover, some know nothing at all.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. In this world we are in, it is but a guarantee that not everyone will understand us or know anything about us but will assume most everything. Your mission this week is to stay the course; regardless of who may know you or not, it is not their opinion that matters the most; it is the word of God. Whatever the Father speaks of your life matters. Continue to give God the glory as He transitions you through the different changes and levels in your life. There is indeed power in your story, and when God has fully prepared you, you will speak and share your testimony. Until then, do not mind those who do not understand. Pray for them and keep it moving.
You may not understand the reason behind the glory I give to God, as I may not understand yours. Whether our lives portray good or bad times; hard or easy times, it does not always reveal what is going on behind closed doors or in the depths of one’s heart. The heart holds many things, and God our Father knows them all.
Some will see the pain we are in but never understand the reason for our pain or our sorrow. They don’t know our story, nor can they understand the reason why we would still give God the glory if we are in so much pain and sorrow. They do not understand the power of our praise. They do not understand the healing that comes from worship. Many were not taught the power of praise and worship in a person’s life that is going through. They are not aware of the transition that takes place in the heavens and in the spirit, which lays seed for a greater harvest. For too many want a quick fix to their situations, and when they do not receive it, they give up; give up on God and stop having faith.
You may have watched and witnessed some things in person’s life, and it boggles your mind how that person—knowing some of what they have gone through and continue to go through—could have such faith and still worship a God that seems to have forgotten them. It makes me wonder what many learned about the heart of God and our spiritual armor and facing spiritual warfare.
Then there are those who do not understand why we hold onto faith, pray, and praise God when so much trouble continues to come our way. They are convinced that we have done something wrong. We are not as faithful as we profess but have secret sins, and this is why we suffer. According to their theory, we need to confess and tell the truth and then God will make everything right. After all, why would such atrocities or such attacks from the enemy continue for so long if we are blameless, and have been living accordingly?
Beloved, if you will, think of Job. His “friends” and even his wife did not understand why he chose to continue to praise God; to bless His Holy Name; after all, he had suffered and lost. Job was harassed and told to admit what he had done and returned to God. To accept God into his heart again so God would restore him. His wife told him to curse his God and die. They had no idea that God was in control, and Job almost forgot, as well. Pain will do that to you. As well as the constant words and bickering of those around you who just do not understand.
Wallowing in self-pity, Job recalls God’s love and kindness; even to those who are unrighteous, he recalls the goodness and mercy of God. (Job 26:5-14; 27:1-6) Yet, Job still suffered and his friends still had no answers only questions and speculations. A young man (Elihu) who looks up to Job reproves Job and his friends. (Job 35-37). God then speaks to humbling Job and showing him where he needed growth, chastising his friends, and then brought restoration to the life of Job. (Job 41; 42)
Here is what I know: No one but God may ever know the whole story and the why behind your praise and glory. However, when you serve a mighty God and He has brought you through countless things, you gain an understanding of who God is, especially in your own life, and who you are in Him. However, people slay you, with their words, thoughts, and summations about your life. Their accusations and actions hurting you to the core; when you know inside your heart that you are indeed walking with God, you continue to give Him the glory in spite of, because you know and understand that sorrow and mourning may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. God will indeed vindicate you.
You may not know how long your night will be. How long your Job experience will last. However, you do know that God’s love is unconditional and everlasting. That, His word is certain, and His promises to you will indeed happen if you faint not, and do not rely on your emotions or your flesh, or give up or give in to the words and character assassination of others concerning you. Faith is the substance of all things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. Though the promises may tarry; the visions seems a little long in coming, and the attacks of the enemy intensifies, as long as you know in your heart that God has your back, you will lift your voice and heart in praise and worship, giving God the glory, knowing that you win at the end of your story.
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. Behind your glory, to the Lord God Almighty, is a story filled with hope, faith, and determination. You overcome through your worship, praise, and testimonies. Through you, God is going to bless many others; encouraging them to give God the glory. Regardless of what others may think their story is, they will know they win because God is on their side, honoring their faith and belief in Him. Remember, beloveds, we win! You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!

©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Because God Said So!"

Reflections4Life January 14, 2018
“Because God Said So”
“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Romans 4:13
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 15; 37; Proverbs 28:20; Mark 2; 4; 5; Romans 4; Hebrews 11
©Ruthe McDonald
Throughout my life’s journey and my walk of faith, I find myself, when being questioned numerous times, about not so much what I believe but why I believe; my answer has come to four small yet powerful and succinct words: Because God Said So. That is it concisely. I believe simply because God says so. It has been a journey to get to that point in my faith, but it accurately sums up the contents of my heart when it comes to my faith and trust in God and His word.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. Make this the year that you get alone with God often. Do not neglect your relationship with the Heavenly Father, or take for granted His mercies and grace. There may be things that you do not understand. Decide in your heart, and mind to trust God anyway. Give God your time and your trust and watch what develops in your life.
I have heard many things throughout my walk with God. This journey that I am on, has brought me to many understandings. It has enlightened me to not only what others may feel or think of God and me, but also what I truly think of God and myself. Yet, what I know for certain in my heart and have learned is that we all must come to decision in our lives to either believe God, taking Him at His word, or walk with mistrust, doubt and anxiety. You will either come to know that, it is not what you can see with your eyes and physically touch that says faith. It is what you come to believe in spite of not seeing or having something tangible to hold onto. It is simply taking God at His word and moving forward because God said so.
Is it easy? No. Nothing in life ever is, especially when there will always be enmity between the flesh and the spirit. Our senses, logical mind, and preconceived notions sometimes have a difficult time believing and reconciling what we cannot see touch and feel. It does not make sense and the flesh wants to reject it. Yet, we have no problem breathing and believing that oxygen or air is there, so we take a breath without thinking about it.
Complete faith in God and getting to the place in your heart that you believe just because God said so—is that place in faith that is like breathing. You just do it. It has become a natural order of things in your life. Many arrive at this place when they have learned to block out the other voices and opinions of others, and have completely yielded to God and His ways. It is not to say that they do not have moments of doubts or insecurities or even impatience; because those times will come. However, you do not stay in that place. You learn, from consistent prayer, meditation, and spending intimate time with God, how to overcome and pray through those difficult times that try, test, and may pull you in all directions. A true test of what you believe and are waiting for to manifest.
I believe because God said so. He has a proven track record with me. God has done many of things in my life that I know, had it not been for Him, it would not be. God has always kept His word; even when there were times, I doubted and even gave up. God was still there. Many situations in my life—even at this present time—I may not understand and find it difficult, and my faith being stretched as never before—yet God has shown up and has proven time and time again that He is the same God; the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. What He did then, He can and will do today. The promises He made will happen and all I have to do is exercise my faith and believe with my heart and not my eyes or ears.
For me, God’s word trumps everything. In order for me to stay in this state of faith and to make certain it strengthens and not weakened, then I must do the things that promote and encourage my faith. Be obedient. Write down the plans. Speak what He has spoken. Surround me with like-minded individuals who can encourage and uplift one another in this walk of faith.
1 Samuel 15:22 Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord answered me and said, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.
2 Chronicles 18:13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.”
Acts 5:12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.
This is truly a faith walk, not a cakewalk. Some days will be easier than others will. We can be certain that the enemy of God and of our soul will try his best to destroy our faith; to try and make us give up on God and turn away from all that we have come to believe and have been waiting for to manifest. Some of us will fall. Some will succumb to the enemy and stop believing. But even in that, God is still there. He will still call out to you, send His word, and give you something tangible to hold onto.
Abraham’s faith was counted unto him as righteousness. Abraham believed though he had moments of doubt. He even took ill-advised counsel from his wife and slept with her handmaid, Hagar, who gave birth to Ishmael. Sarah did not believe, and Abraham was influenced by that disbelief. Yet and still, God kept His promise to Abraham. When God told Abraham to take Isaac, the promise, and sacrifice him, Abraham obeyed. It was difficult, and Abraham could not reconcile with his flesh what God wanted and how the promise would be fulfilled, Abraham obeyed regardless. His obedience made way for the ram in the bush.
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. Though things may not look as the promise given, and circumstances have risen to give you pause and cause doubt to find a space in your heart—ask God to remove it and go forward in obedience in what God told you to do. You may not see the use or validity of what God is saying, but faith—complete faith—will cause you to do it anyhow. Knowing that God is going to show up and keep His word. He’s God; it will come to pass because He said so. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!

©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

"It Starts in the Mind"

Reflections4Life January 7, 2018
“It Starts in the Mind”
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1
Scripture Contemplation: Psalm 28; Psalm 51; John 14; Romans 12; Colossians 3; James 1...
©Ruthe McDonald.
Happy New Year! It is a pleasure to be able to begin another year of fellowship and love with you all. May God’s grace and mercy cover you, and His anointing on your life every day. I declare and decree that this will be a year of revelations, answered prayers, favor, and of boldness and strength. As we walk in faith, remember that God has heard you before you even called. Do not give up on God. Hold fast to His word and promises. Stay in the word this year. Fast, pray, and meditate. Know in your hearts, that no matter what you face, you are not alone. Feed your mind and heart the word of God, surround yourself in worship, and watch what God manifests in your life this New Year!
I decree that this week’s Reflections will remain a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart, mind, and soul. There is nothing, which God will not do for His children. His love is unconditional and knows no bounds. Make it your business this year to get in the presence of God as never before. If you want change in your life; if you want direction; if you want to know your purpose and how to handle the things that come your way, and remain steadfast? Then, spend more time with the Father and get set to have your mind renewed daily.
What an awesome day to be alive; to be in the presence of God and receive all that He has ordained for our lives. I can assure, that there are many people that are grateful in their hearts, never thinking or believing they would see another year. There are also those filled with gratitude for the opportunity to enter into a new season. Yet, still, others who remain stuck in the past and are finding it difficult to move forward, and no matter how many brand new days and years they receive, they are not living, because they are stuck in a moment or situation, becoming prey for the enemy.
1 Peter 5:8-9 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Beloveds, it starts in the mind. Everything we are experiencing will continue to experience begins in the mind—what we are telling ourselves, what we are listening to, whom we are listening to, and what we ultimately believe. What we have consistently thought on or have allowed planted in our minds will eventually become a belief in our heart and manifest itself. The only way to keep those thoughts from taking root is to renew our minds daily, to take on the thoughts of Christ, and to learn to pull down strongholds. If we do not, we become a tool for the enemy to use in his fight against God. Trust me when I tell you, if the enemy finds any entrance he can slip through, he will, and will not stop until he either destroys your life, your faith, and your love, or until we stand in the authority that God has given us, and kick the devil out!
We must understand that we are no match for Satan. Not on our own. He is the master manipulator and father of lies. The mind is the devil’s playground. If he gets in, he will try to take over. It begins with a whisper, a thought, an image, a dream. If we do not immediately dismiss it, plead the blood of Jesus, and learn to fight the way God instructs us, we will fall victim to the enemy, as he wreaks havoc in our lives, and destroy our hearts and lives in the process.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We must—we must understand and believe that we are not waging war against a physical entity. We cannot underestimate the cunningness of the enemy. Or, how far he will go. Trust me when I tell you this: the enemy has studied us. He has roamed this earth, often aware of the greatness and power that rests in many of us that we do not even yet recognize in ourselves. He will use every arsenal he has to destroy us so that we do not come to that realization, or, if we do realize it, destroy us before it manifests. That is why we must not be ignorant about the enemy, and who we are in a battle with, and why it all starts in our minds, with what we tell ourselves, what we believe, what we think on, and what we know.
Renew your minds on a daily basis, Beloved. Allow God to saturate your heart and mind with His word, His truth, and revelation about the enemy. Do not underestimate your adversary, the devil. The mind is his choice of battleground. If allowed as much as an inch, he will come in and wreak such havoc and devastation; you will not recognize who you are and what has happened. But know this: we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ. We have, as well, Holy Spirit. Yet, we must yield to Him. Yield to what God is saying and release what we think we know and have faith, even in the things that make no sense. We must be willing to release who we are for who God says we are. We must be willing to release our intellects and ways of thinking, in exchange for the mind of Christ. We must totally yield to the Father, and lay aside what we thought we knew, in order to receive what we need, and the revelation of who we are in God, how to strategically fight AND win against the enemy. This is not a battle of the flesh, but a battle of the mind and spirit. This battle is won through the power and strength of our God.
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. It starts in the mind, Beloved. All victories begin in our mind and what we tell ourselves, what we think on consistently, and what eventually is believed in our hearts concerning all matters. Renew your mind daily. Think on the things of God. Meditate on His word, put on your armor of God, and fight how God teaches us strategically to fight against the enemy of our soul and future. You got this because God has you. Trust Him. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing.
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.