Sunday, March 25, 2018

"A Reflection of Love"

Reflections4Life March 25, 2018
“A Reflection of Love”
“The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12:12-13
Scripture Contemplation: Isaiah 53; Matthew 21; Mark 14:41; John 12; 2 Timothy 3…
©Ruthe McDonald.
Can you picture it today? Can you see it in your mind, your spirit, the triumphal entry of Jesus into Bethany? I can see it so clearly; His riding through as they yelled praises of adoration; throwing palms down, and singing, ‘Hosanna! Hosanna!’ The reflection of love on their faces, as the man, the Rabbi, the Prophet, the Healer, and miracle worker, rode through. Many of them healed and delivered by His touch or just one word from His mouth. Jesus, knowing each one by name, full of love and the knowledge of what was to come, still remained full of love, care, and concern. Two different perspectives; one would remain while the other quickly faltered in less than a week’s time. Which one are you? Are you like Christ, a reflection of love? His love? Or do you find yourself, like those people, only reflecting that love when there is something to gain?
I decree that this week’s Reflections is a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. When you say you love the Lord, do not let it be just words. Life will not always be easy, as many can attest. However, it is worth living, especially when you are in an intimate relationship with God, filled with His love, and can reflect that same love to those around, until your actions draw others to the love of God. Yield to God everything. Be sold out, and allow heavenly Father to fill you and teach you how to be a reflection of His love.
On The Surface
Mark 11:8-10 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
Jesus had done many miracles, had delivered many, and healed many others. Not too long before His triumphal entry, He had raised His friend, Lazarus from the grave in front of many witnesses.  The people were euphoric and praising His name, proclaiming Jesus as Master, the Son of God, and the greatest Rabbi. It was easy for them, having not sacrificed anything but receiving all that Jesus was giving, to appear to be the reflection of love. It was not the love of God in their heart reflected. Instead, it was gratitude for what He had done for them and the promises of what He would do. Though they did not understand the price that needed to be paid or how the promises of God would be fulfilled.
On the surface, many of us appear to love God. We are serving Him, praising His name, saying all the right words, and appear to be die-hard believers. We seem to be a reflection of love—God’s love. Yet, God is saying, it is only surface dedication, a fleeting form of adoration. The reflection that most are seeing is His grace and mercy shining on us, and not His love coming from within us.
When adversities, afflictions, and what appears as contradictions to our faith occur, we turn away from God. We stop worshipping, praying, and start accusing God instead of praising Him. We get angry with God and question where He is in our times of need; losing faith as quickly as a punctured balloon.
We have served God when it is easy. We have a surface relationship with no substance. We serve for what we can get and as long as everything is going well, we have no problem praising God and having a form of godliness, but our hearts are far from God, as we have not fully yielded or surrendered to Him and His ways. It is like a house made to look pretty for sale but when purchased, a deeper inspection uncovers wood rot and a weak foundation. One storm will take it out.
Are you reflecting the true, sincere, love of God from within? Or are you just conveniently mirroring His grace and mercy; serving Him with lip service until something goes wrong or does not go your way? Are your praise and worship sincere? When adversities come, where will you stand?

What Christ Knew
Matthew 26:24-26 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Luke 23:21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!”
Christ already knew why He came. He understood the price He was going to pay. He even knew that those same people, praising and singing Hosanna, would be the same people who less than a week later would yell, Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Yet, Jesus held none of this against them, just as He holds nothing against us but unconditional love.
However, the people did not truly reflect His love. What they held in their heart was not from a committed heart but only for what Jesus could do for them. It was a selfish relationship with no substance. Yet, Jesus was the reflection of love. He is love. God is love. Christ reflected the love of God for His creation, in that He did not open His mouth once against those who yelled to crucify Him. Though He could have called on a legion of angels, spoke one word, and things would have been different, He knew and understood why He came. He came for us. To save and deliver us. To be the final sacrifice. To shed His blood that through Him we might be saved.
What About You?
Beloved, where does your heart lie? Are you sincerely reflecting the love of God? Or, are you just projecting the love and mercy God is covering you with? Do you believe in your heart, that no matter comes your way—what trials and tests you face—you will still believe in God? That, your faith will still stand even if your prayers are not answered when you want them to be?
When people look at you, do they see the reflection of God’s love? Do they see love? Or do they see something totally different? I desire to be the reflection of love. A reflection of who my Father is. A person full of compassion, love, understanding, strength, and mercy. I desire for my life to be a walking Epistle of who God is to me. Whether things are going well or not. Whether I am praising God because things are well or praising Him in spite of the situation not being so great at the time. I want to be solid in my faith. For the reflection of love being seen to come from within, and not just a surface thing that I can turn on or off. I desire for others to see the love of God in me and desire to know how they, too, can have that same kind of love. I owe it to God, and so much more.
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. Be a reflection of the love of God. Allow the love of God be ensconced in your heart so deep that is reflected in all that you do and say. Let it be a light that draws others to love and saving grace of God. Don’t just praise God in the good times or for what He can do for you. Praise Him always and in spite of what may come your way. God is greater than anything you may face today or tomorrow. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!

©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"A Relationship With God"

Reflections4Life March 18, 2018
“A Relationship with God”
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” Deuteronomy 10:12
Scripture Contemplation: Proverbs 4; Lamentations 2; Matthew 6:25; Romans 6; 8; Ephesians 4...

© Ruthe McDonald.
Through every attack, every trial and hardship, one thing has ringed the most in my soul: “Is my life a true reflection of my relationship with God?What is my life saying about God? What am I saying (my actions, my deeds) when I am going through a battle? Is my speech of defeat? Is it negative? Or am I speaking with faith and confidence in what God has spoken and promised to my heart? Is my life truly reflecting who I say God is to others?
I decree that this week's Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. Be cognizant of what your life is reflecting concerning your relationship with God. Walk in the goodness and promises of God, no matter what comes your way. Stand strong in the Father, who enables you to withstand all matter of storms, and cultivate your relationship each and every day.
A Mask of Religion
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.
Mark 7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Actions are truly louder than words. People will hear what we say, but look at what we do. Many shun a relationship with God because those who wear the mask of religion and say they are believers have not done such a great job of exemplifying a life that would draw others to Christ. Instead, rocked with scandal after scandal, and under the guise of saying, we are believers, we have allowed and continue to allow atrocities to occur in this world, and excuse behaviors of people in power or high positions only to gain what we want instead of what God requires.
Perhaps it is because we have not fully believed ourselves. Maybe we have not totally sold out our heart and soul to Christ. Because of this, it makes it easier to swallow the demands and standards we place on others but do not follow ourselves. We have mastered the art of religion and have failed at relationships. We have a form of godliness but our hearts and souls are lacking Holy Spirit, truth, conviction, and love. We are pretty edifices with decaying souls and spirits within. We use religion as a weapon, the letter of the law to shackle, bound, and kill but do not hold these same laws to ourselves. Religion without a relationship and Spirit of God is just another way to bind and destroy people and strip the world of love. It covers the truth about who God truly is.
An Intimate Relationship
1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
I thought about how a dear friend lived her life up until her very last breath on this earth. What an example of Christ she portrayed. Her life touched many people. Her love extended everywhere. Her life spoke of kindness, love, forgiveness, hope, faith, and laughter, even in the midst of excruciating pain. She left a legacy of greatness for those who loved and knew her. More importantly, she lived it. Every day; even through sickness and pain, she reached forward and brought light and laughter to others.
It was not her religion that captured or drew people to her but the light and love that shone through her. Her relationship with God translated into her relationship with people from all lifestyles, backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions. She did not use religion to try to persuade others to what she believed. Nor to condemn others for the lives they lived and what they believed. She gained respect for respecting others. Yet never compromising or shying away from what she, herself believed and stood for.
How many of us pay attention to what our lives are speaking? Do our lives line up with what our mouths have been confessing? Do our lives exemplify the life we say we are living in Christ? Would anyone know by our actions alone, if we were believers and loved the Lord? Would our life lead another to Christ? Would they want to partake in the goodness of God by what our lives reflect, and the fruit we bare? Are we bound to a religion or free in a relationship with the Almighty King?
With Love and Kindness
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
This is what I know; God has many things He desires to do for us on this earth. Many prayers He desires to bring to fruition. Blessings He desires to manifest in our lives. Yet, for many of us who call ourselves believers, we have fallen short in our faith and in love. We have honed our skills in religion and the letter of the law, but have failed miserably in the lessons of unconditional love and relationships.
Sure, we will go to church, say the right words, but our hearts are speaking loud and clear, affecting our actions. The message we are portraying is not one of faith, love, trust, and belief or a relationship with a loving and just God. Instead, it is a message of doubt, fear, regrets, unbelief, unjust, vengeful, and schizophrenic God. Then we wonder why the church is full of like-minded people, yet whose homes are cold and void of love and meaningful relationships, and no one knows one another. Our home, our family is our first ministry. What would our families say?
When are we going to let go and allow God have His way? When are we going to honestly trust in God and give Him all of us? When will we let go of religion and gain a relationship with the Most High that is honest, open, healthy, and can translate into our relationships with others? Simply put, when are we going to drop the masks and stop hiding behind religion, making excuses for our bad behavior, our judgmental spirits, and our hypocritical ways?
I want my life to speak well of Christ; to be that walking epistle that draws others into a relationship with the Heavenly Father. I desire to not just leave a legacy, but to leave one of greatness by totally surrendering to God, and allowing Him to use me; even in my most testing and trying times. I do not want a form of godliness, wearing a cloak of religion, and my heart is so far removed from who God truly is.
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. Your life has been speaking for you a long time. It is a reflection of your relationship or non-relationship with God. Let your life speak well of you and God, and you—your relationship and not religion—will draw others to the saving grace of Christ. You are blessed. Now go...and be a Blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

"Stop Procrastinating and Start Rebuilding"

Reflections4Life March 11, 2018
“Stop Procrastinating and Start Rebuilding”
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Proverbs 13:4
Scripture Contemplation for This Week: Haggai 1; 2; Luke 9…
©Ruthe McDonald.
We all have hopes, dreams, and visions. For many, they have pursued them and successfully accomplished them; seeing them come to fruition, the fruit of their labor and faith manifesting. For others, they have lost their hope, dreams, and visions. Life has not been kind and has disappointed them. Yet, the truth is, life happened to both groups of people. For many of those who have accomplished their dreams and visions, they too were met with disappointments and unkindness. However, they did not stay down when they fell. They did not stop trying or pushing forward. When one road was blocked, they found another. They did not give up. And when God told them to keep going, they did not procrastinate. When it was time to rebuild, that is just what they did. They walked in obedience to God.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. Stand in faith and walk in obedience, Beloveds. Allow the word of God to cleanse you. Walk with confidence and faith, pursuing your dreams and passions. Do not allow setbacks, disappointments and the trials of life to derail you from seeing the manifestations of God’s blessings for your life. Be diligent in your prayer and meditation time this week, allowing God to be your strength, as He instructs you how to rebuild. Be swift to move and follow His word, kicking the spirit of procrastination in the butt. Everything you need already resides in you.
Stop Procrastinating
Haggai 1:2-7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.
God has given each of us instructions concerning His will for our lives. He gave instructions in His word, through His overseers and teachers. Even in our dreams and through circumstances and situations, God has admonished us and have sent His word on what we should do and the path we should walk. Yet, many have gone astray. They have not listened to God, but instead have followed their own desires and whims; have followed others on a path of disobedience and destruction, has not yielded to God.
Our spiritual houses are breaking down. Our lives are not what we hoped for or expected. The truth of the matter is that many have been selfish in their pursuits, forsaking the word and will of God. We have moved away from the will of God and His instructions and have procrastinated in our repentance and humbling ourselves before the Lord. We wonder why we never have enough, why we can never move ahead or catch a break. We have been indulging in our flesh; gratifying the lusts of our eyes and ears, and have forsaken our relationship with God.
This has left many empty, at a place of uncertainty, and spiritually bankrupt. It is time to stop procrastinating, especially when it comes to following the will of God, walking in obedience to His will for our lives. We cannot continue to straddle the fence and only serve God part of the time but expect full-time blessings.
Romans 7:17-19 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
There is a war within between the flesh and the spirit, and if we desire to rebuild, to start over, and see our dreams and visions resurrected, we must walk in obedience to the Spirit, put the flesh under subjection, and stop procrastinating when it comes to following God’s instructions. We must yield to God, and do exactly what He instructs without hesitation.
Start Rebuilding
2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Haggai 2:18-19 Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider: 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”
The Father has spoken and given instructions, now it is time to start rebuilding. To begin to rebuild what has been torn down, and left in shambles. God has equipped us, enabling us to move forward. If you have repented, sought out the Lord, and have a heart that is willing to move forward in obedience, then it is time to remember those dreams and visions. God has restored hope, as He has forgiven you of your past. The only one that wants us to wallow in the past is the enemy so that he can use it to cause us to procrastinate long enough to talk us out of believing what God has already declared and decreed over our lives.
God has already forgiven you, now you must forgive yourself and start rebuilding, following the instructions that God has given. Repent, humble yourself, seek His will, the Kingdom of heaven first; allowing God to equip you with all that you need. Do not be afraid to start over, to begin again. God is with you. He will not allow you to fail when you are walking in obedience. Get your plans; the plans that the Master Architect has designed for your life. Follow His blueprints and you will not have to worry about it failing inspection. It already has Holy Spirit’s seal of approval.
Finally Beloved
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. Rebuild and start living your best life now! Yes, you messed up! Who hasn’t? So what you are getting older! We all are! Take what you know—all the life lessons; including the mistakes, and grow from them. Do that thing you always wanted to do but was afraid to do. Life is too short to live with so many regrets. Always remember your hopes, dreams, and visions. Remember whom you are before that tumultuous relationship, before that job loss, the broken promises, and heartaches that may come. Life is not easy but it is worth it. So remember all of those great things. Stop procrastinating and do them! You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

"Don't Be Deceived and Robbed of Your Promise"

Reflections4Life March 4, 2018
“Don’t Be Deceived and Robbed of Your Promise”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Scripture Contemplation: Genesis 3:13; Deuteronomy 11:16; Joshua 1; Jeremiah 23; John 10:10…
©Ruthe McDonald.
Beloveds, if there is one thing that I am certain of, other than the unconditional love of God, it is the fact that the enemy is a thief and he has set out to steal, kill, and destroy us. Spiritually and physically. He does not care how but he will use every weapon in his arsenal to deceive and rob us of the promises of God. Yet, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who came to give us life and has equipped us with armor to defeat the enemy. If we believe and trust Him, then we know we are already victorious.
I declare that this week’s Reflections are a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. Be confident in the Lord and His promises for your life. Seek Him daily and saturate yourself in the word of God. Allow the word to quench your thirst and feed your hunger, as Holy Spirit fills you with the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of how strategically to defeat the enemy, no matter how he attacks. Greater is God in us the enemy in this world.
Don’t Be Deceived
Genesis 3:13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The enemy hates the fact we are made in the image of God and are filled with His Spirit. He loathes the creation of God and the power and authority that God has given us. Make no mistake that the enemy will do everything in his power to deceive you and cause you to doubt God, sin against God, and to stop believing God altogether. The enemy understands that if he can get into our minds (his playground) and get us to contemplate on his lies long enough, it will become a belief to us, it will find its ways into our hearts and become real, weakening faith and making the voice of God sound distant. Once he gets us to doubt God, he has found a doorway in and it is hard to get him out before he does grave damage.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Our hearts tell a tale; a tale of what we believe, what we accept as truth. What we have thought about, contemplated, and eventually believed as truth. This is why God admonishes us to pull down strongholds, to dismiss the wicked and lying thoughts and whispers of the enemy that speak the opposite of God and His plans and promises for our lives. We eventually reap what is in our hearts, whether it is true or not. When we allow the enemy to rent space in our heads and we begin to think on and entertain the lies, whispers, and evil thoughts that the enemy has planted, instead of denouncing them and replacing them with the thoughts, promises, and word of God—they become our truth. The lies embedded in hearts, becoming our belief, robbing us, of the sincere, godly truth and promises of God. Only God can change it if we allow Him access.
The enemy is determined to deceive us and make us believe the opposite of what God has spoken and promised. He is good at smoke and mirrors and twisting the word of God to fit what he wants. The enemy was able to deceive Eve the moment she entered into a conversation with him. He took the word of God and twisted it, and made it seem like she was missing something. His sole intent for his deception was to rob humanity of the promises of eternal life; the promises of life in the Garden of Eden and a relationship with the Creator.
Don’t Be Robbed
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The Father lets us know that the enemy is after us. He is seeking to devour, to steal, kill, and destroy. The enemy desires to rob us of the promises of God, to rob us of our peace. He wants to steal our joy, our courage, our faith, and belief in God and His promises. There is nothing more that would please the enemy than to destroy our relationship with God. He would love to destroy our faith, killing our dreams, and robbing us of the promises of God in our lives.
God would not have admonished us, warning us about the enemy if He was not certain that the enemy would try everything to get at us and we were capable of defeating the enemy. Some of us walk with the notion that the enemy will not use whomever to get to us. Some of us believe that we are wiser than the enemy is. We are smarter than and will not be fooled or tricked into believing such treachery.
Think about Peter and Paul. Think about Adam and Eve. Not to mention, Abraham, Isaac, Isaiah, Joseph, David, Solomon, Samson, etcetera. We are not immune to the enemy and his attacks, but we can be equipped and ready to win the battles that come our way, and that is to stay in the word of God; to stay in a mindset where we are yielded to God and seek His will each and every day. To be fully dressed in the armor and to pull down the strongholds and dismiss the whispers and lies and not contemplate on them or entertain them until they become embedded in our hearts, becoming real and true.
What it’s All About
This battle is not even about us. To the enemy, we are a pawn in a great chess game between him and God. This war is about Satan striking back at God. To hurt God by destroying as many of His children as possible before his time is up. Even the enemy knows he has already lost but he would have us believe that we are the losers and that God does not care about us. He wants us to turn away from God and denounce Him; giving up our birthright—eternal life with our King.
It is about love. Satan wants to destroy love. He wants to rob us, and this entire earth of unconditional love. This is why he attacks our minds, knowing that whatever we think on constantly eventually becomes a truth and belief in our hearts.
God has already warned us that the enemy seeks to devour us. He studies who we are. Taking notes on what concerns us. He sees what we love, searches for our greatest fears, our worst nightmares, our weaknesses, and Achilles heel, whatever he can use against us to destroy our relationships, especially with God.
Luke 22:31, 32 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
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. Take heart, Beloveds. God has our backs. In fact, He has us covered. We must stand strong against the wiles of the enemy, putting on our armor, staying prayerful, reading our word, pulling down strongholds, and believing what God has spoken. The moment we stop believing God, is the moment there is a crack in our armor and the enemy will not hesitate to pounce. Pull down the strongholds. Take courage and do all that God says, and remember that he that keeps his mind stayed on God will be kept in perfect peace. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing.

©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.