Sunday, August 26, 2018

"Seek God First"


Reflections4Lfe August 26, 2018
“Seek God First”
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV)
Scripture Contemplation: 1Chronicles 10; 16:11; Psalm 14; 22; Isaiah 41; Matthew 6
©Ruthe McDonald.

M
any are missing the mark and fumbling in their lives because of one thing: not seeking God first. There is a school of thought present in the mind of many suggesting, if they connect with the right people, they will have the success desired. Success is a matter of connecting with the right people to obtain the hook-up. There is no hook-up greater than the connection one receives from knowing God. God is that great Equalizer. To know this, we must seek God first, instead of as a last resort.
I decree that this week’s  Reflections will be a continued and constant source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. Seek God first in all that you do this week. I dare you, before you ask another person’s opinion or look at another plan, that you will go to God first and see the difference that will take place in your life. Allow God to direct your path and give you what He has already ordained for you.
Busted Broken and Delayed Plans
Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
How many times have you thought about something that you desired to do and then set out to do it, only to fail? Have you sought the Lord? Did you first seek God out before you moved forward in your brilliant plans? Did you present your plans to God and asked Him what He thought and what you should do in moving forward? Did you ask God if this was the right time to move ahead?
For those of us mature enough to understand, God does not expect us to seek Him for every little thing that we do. For example: how to brush our teeth, which outfit to wear, what to cook for dinner, how we should do our hair if we should ask for a raise, etcetera. I am referring to the plans we desire to execute in our lives; those plans that have an effect on our lives and the lives of others.
God desires for us to seek Him first; to come to Him and present our plans before Him and get His opinion, direction, and seal of approval. If many of us would have done this in the first place and opened our hearts and mind to what God has to say, it would have saved us from a lot of heartaches, loss, and mishaps along the way.
We have many ideas that will come and go. Not every idea or plan is the right one for us. Nor is it the time to try to execute those plans. There are a time and season for all things. Many of us are rushing ahead, trying to get plans and ideas done only to fail miserably in our attempts. Then, we find ourselves giving up on dreams and visions, believing the lies of the enemy that maybe we just were not meant to succeed. Maybe this just was not for us. Hogwash! The devil is a lie! Failure does not necessarily mean it is not for us, it can simply mean we missed a few key things in our planning and the biggest thing was not seeking God for His wisdom and directions.
God Never Fails
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
There is nothing more than God wants for us (other than accepting Christ as our Savior) than to see us succeed. His plan for us has always been for us to prosper. That we would have a future filled with hope and the manifestation of His promises. How can this happen when we do not even go to God and seek His advice or ask about His plans for us?
Beloveds, there is a long line of blessings waiting to manifest in our lives. Blessings that would answer our questions of how, bring provisions for every need, open up doors and create opportunities for many in need. However, we will never see or receive them if we do not start seeking God first and receiving His ideas, changes, and seal of approvals on our plans.
Here is what I know: The plans we have? God placed them in us in the first place. Those brilliant ideas—whispers from Holy Spirit. Sometimes we move too quickly and other times we seek the wrong people for advice or believe we need a certain connection to make our visions happen. You’re right. We do need a certain connection: God!
Can no one give you the greatest hook-up that God! Far too many of us are in a rush to get to the front of the line. For our businesses to be a success that we cut corners, either compromise or get connected with people we should never be in alignment with or have them touch or even know about our plans and visions.
Here’s a secret that many do not know: When God gives you a vision He is responsible and will provide the provision for that vision to happen. God does things in decency and in order. If we would take our plans to God; read our word, and meditate on it; praying before we do anything; many more of us would be successful in our endeavors and not be filled with regrets for sharing our visions, our plans with people who desire to rob us; to steal what God has given us.
The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. We are making it easy for him to do so when we do not first seek God for His blessing and His directions on the plans, visions, and ideas He has birthed in our hearts.
When was the last time you read your Bible? I mean, really sat down and studied scripture and received a download into your soul from God, that gave you light and understanding in other areas? I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of that. I am guilty of not reading the word as diligently and frequently, getting caught up in the busyness of the day and then wondering why I am so taxed and flabbergasted and cannot think. I overwhelm myself when all I had to do was seek the Lord God first, and allow Him to order my footsteps and follow the plan He has given me.
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. Seek God first in all that you do. Every plan that has been given to God; that has been presented to Him will succeed in its due season. You desire the best, then give God your best and make Him first, He is the greatest connection, hook-up, that you will ever have, because He aims to give you His best and to prosper you, giving you a future filled with hope!  You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

"Do Not Limit God"


Reflections4Life August 19, 2018
“Do Not Limit God”
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9
Scripture Contemplation: Numbers 11:13; 23:19; Jeremiah 32; Isaiah 55...
©Ruthe McDonald.

GOD.
Father. Deliverer. Healer. Omnipotent. Omniscient. Omnipresent. There is more to God than what we see. There are countless mysteries waiting to be revealed. Countless downloads of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding waiting to be downloaded to believing and faithful hearts, minds, and souls. Yet, we place limits on God. How? Through our thoughts and our inactions. When we do not walk in faith and accept in our hearts, what God has spoken and prepared for us; we continually place limits on what God will do and manifest in our lives. It is time to take a long look at ourselves, to ask the difficult questions, and not limit God in His answers.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. It is my prayer that you will let go of all the bad ideas and preconceived notions that you have about our heavenly Father. Release every thought that has you doubting the veracity of our God and His love and power that can change your life forever. I dare you to not put limits on what God can and will do for you if you would believe.
It Won’t Cost You Anything
Isaiah 55:1-2 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Somewhere in our hearts and mind, many of us have gotten the idea that God cannot deliver us. We have been in the same predicament for so long that it has become a comfortable place in a dysfunctional manner. We accept things in and about our lives that God says we should never accept but instead stand against, calling on Him to deliver us.
We are told that there is a price to pay. We have to be good. We have to dress a certain way. We must behave a certain way. We must believe a certain way. All of the conditions that somehow must be met before God will do what we need. Why? Beloveds, if we could meet these conditions before God would do anything for us, then there would have been no need for Jesus to go to the Cross. We could save ourselves. Answer our own prayers and heal ourselves if what many of us are taught is true.
It is as though, God has no power to deliver us from the hardships and exasperating circumstances if we do not first get “ourselves” together and make a clean path for God to come. Not so! It is a lie! We need to make that move! To go before the throne and lay at the altar, laying it all the Father’s feet and trust Him to do what He does best, and that is our Father; to deliver us from ourselves. To save us and redeem us; forgiving us of our sins and shortcomings.
Beloved, the price has been paid a long time ago. Jesus paid the cost for our salvation, our deliverance, our healing. Christ stood in our stead and bore the stripes, the nails, the piercing of His side for us. There is no limit to what God will do for us when we come to Him and allow Him to have His way in our lives, and access to ALL of us. Even those secret places we try to hide from others.
We are filling our lives with things that do not satisfy or fulfill us because we have this notion that God cannot possibly be that forgiving or that loving. Many have bought into the lies that God is not answering our prayers but instead forsaking us; forgetting about us. That could not be further from the truth. It is time to take the limits of God by dropping our ill-conceived notions and getting to know who God really is. By hitting our knees, turning down our plates, and inviting God into every single place and space in our lives, healing us from the lies that have attached themselves to our psyche and spirit, blinding us to our Father’s unlimited power and infinite wisdom.
Seek God’s Ways
Isaiah 55:6-9 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
There is no limit to the power of God and His desire for our lives. There is a pathology, which must be broken. A belief that has been passed down through families, from generation to generation that has us repeating the sins of our fathers and mothers, blinding us to the saving grace, healing, and redemptive, restorative power of our Heavenly Father.
We must diligently seek God for ourselves. To know the truth of who God is and who we are for ourselves. There will always be someone, somewhere giving an opinion of who they believe God is, as well as what we should be doing. Even I, as I am sharing these words of encouragement and inspiration based upon my personal relationship with God, am very much aware that it is another opinion; my point of view based upon my life and walk. Although I know in my heart and soul, that it is an inspired word of God, a message received to share; it is still up to the individual to believe and know God for himself or herself; to experience His divine love and redemptive power on an intimate and personal level. When you receive this truth for yourself, there is no one that can change your mind. No one that can refute what you know to be the truth because you received it for yourself.
A No Limit 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. Though what you may be facing right now may make no sense at all, making it feel as though God is far removed from your situation; know that there is nothing impossible for God. We may not understand all of His ways but we can know for a certainty that He has no limits to His power or His unconditional love. Trust Him. Trust in His unconditional love for you. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

"Gone"

Reflections4Life August 12, 2018
“Gone”
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” 2 Samuel 22:31
Scripture Contemplation: Deuteronomy 28; 2 Kings 18; Proverbs 3; Matthew 27:43; 1 Timothy 
©Ruthe McDonald.
What
 would you do if everyone you loved, everything you had was gone? No warning. No time to prepare. Just gone? Many of us have been lulled by a sense of security; not because we trust in God, or believe that He can take care of us. We are lulled by comfort and having security in the things we have and the people, we know. But what if? What if you had none of those things, and you found yourself in the midst of a war every day of your life, not knowing if today was going to be your last day? What would you do? Who would you trust? And could you truly trust in God to take care of you, although everything is crumbling around you?
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. In a moment’s time, everything we know, believe, and love can change. Everything can be gone. Learn to trust in God, allowing Him to anchor you. Receive His instructions on what it means to walk in total peace when all around you chaos ensues.
Suffering
Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
All around us people are suffering. They are losing someone they love. Families are being torn apart. Children are dying. I could go on. Yet, many take for granted the peace and safety that we have, seldom thinking about the, what if’s.
As part of a research, I watched several documentaries in addition to reading some articles, researching the effects of war and the effects of gun violence on our youth and families. Perhaps some may think that this is not something you would like to hear on a Sunday. Or something that you do not care to reflect upon at this time. Then when is a good time? When is a good time to hear what the Father has to say? When is it a good time to see what the Father wants us to see?
I know from experience how things can change within a twenty-four hour period. In fact, a twelve hour period. Death and tragedy know no time frame. They can come at any moment. Before you know it, everyone and everything you love can be gone. The world you know is gone. The peace you have is gone. And what you believe can be gone as well.
God is With Us
1 Timothy 4:10 “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”
If you believe in and have an intimate relationship with God, and you are reading your scripture daily, then you know that God has warned us that such things as this would happen in our lifetime. It is inevitable. However, He has given us His word that He would be with us always. That, He would never leave us or forsake us. That, although everything that we know is gone; all has changed; He will not change. And in Him, we can find and maintain a strong foundation, and a place to move forward in.
I particularly love The Message Bible’s translation of the above scripture:
“You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.”(vv. 6-10)
I look at the thousands of lives taken in communities due to gun violence. Children killing children; making a sport of taking the life of someone who may have looked at them the wrong way. Or, people so heinous to take the life of a child just to make a parent suffer. Or, the ensuing danger that people of color find themselves in on daily basis just because of the color of their skin, and the injustices that continue to plague our communities.
It can be hard to say to many that God is indeed with us when our child, husband, brother, sister, wife or dear friend’s life has been taken without any repercussions to the assailants, whether they wear a badge or not.
What do we say to people left behind to deal with the lost? What, as believers can we offer? We can offer God. We can offer our prayers. We can offer our silence and just be there. Sometimes, just being there for someone will be the comfort that they need to begin to heal.
How Long Would You Fight?
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Far too many of us sit in judgment; especially those of us who call ourselves believers. We are quick to pass judgment and cast someone off, rather than be who God called us to be: loving unconditionally, kind, understanding, and faithful, concerned, non-judgmental, in partial, fair, and not pompous. We use our religion as a weapon, creating toxic relationships and pushing people away.
My heart and prayers go out the people who have lost everything. And those who have lost their entire families. I cannot fathom what their hearts and minds must be going through, with the thought of death a constant in the hearts and minds of not only adults but the children, as well.
How long would you fight for what you believed in? Too many of us have given up on God quicker than it takes for paint to dry when something in our lives does not go as planned. Yes. Pain is real. Tragedy is real. Life is real. But guess what? God is real, too. And His word, His promises are real also. And when all is said and done, and everything and everyone is gone, God will always remain.
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. Life will throw us curve balls that can take the wind out us, causing us to fall to our knees. Allow God to pick you up and to lead you. Things can and often will change without a notice. In our lifetime, we will suffer loss but we do not have to do it alone. We can get through it when our trust is in God. He is the one constant that will always remain. Trust Him, and He will lead you in perfect peace. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

"Family First"


Reflections4Life August 5, 2018
“Family First”
“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.” Genesis 45:1 (CEV)
Scripture Contemplations: Genesis 15; 45; 2 Kings 25; Matthew 14; John 6; Romans 12:12-13

I
 recently had a conversation with a dear friend about ministry and those who work in ministry, such as pastors, prophets, ministers, teachers, etcetera. They raised some valid questions that I think many take for granted. In my heart and what I have always been taught, is that family comes first. The family is your first ministry. Ministry begins at home. But somewhere along the lines, many leaders have forgotten this. Far too many are putting the Church, the business of ministering to others, over their own family. When it comes to ministry, a family must come first. If it does not, there will be a price to pay; one that is too high.
I decree that this week’s Reflections will be a continued source of encouragement and inspiration for your heart mind and soul. Let the word of God penetrate your heart and mind. Take some time this week to evaluate if you have been putting your family first, or if they come after everything else is done. Sometimes, a family is the hardest to minister to but what about your immediate home? Your nucleus? Your wife, husband, sons, daughters? How well are you listening and ministering to their needs? Let God lead you in the guidance of your home. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is peace. Is there peace in your home?
First Things First
Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Why is it so easy for some to speak, minister, listen to, or help others who are not related to them? How is it, that some find it easier to minister to other children than their own? Many leaders in the body of Christ are missing the mark when it comes to their families. There are parents who are missing the mark when it comes to their children. They have not developed a relationship with their children and have no idea what is going on in their lives.
If we, as leaders and parents, expect certain things or behaviors from our children, then we must ask ourselves what we have shown them. What have we given to them that they are now reciprocating? We reap what we sow; whatever seeds we are planting in the lives our family members is indicative of the kind of fruit that will grow. You cannot plant apple sees and expect oranges. You cannot plant seeds of distance and closed minds, expecting your children to come to you with their hearts open, ready to share with you what is going on with them.
The family must come first. Too many have their priorities turned around and wonder why our family is so far away from God. Did we even stop to listen to them, and what they want? Or do we expect so much from our families because we want to paint a certain picture of the world? Far too many are holding their families to a higher and impossible standard so that on the outside they look like better individuals. Are you seeking a loving and sharing family? Or, a bunch of obedient followers that lift you up?
Meeting Their Needs
Matthew 25:36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Why is it so easy to meet the needs of strangers, than those who carry your blood in their veins? Why is it so easy to mentor and groom a child that is not yours but be harsh and unbending to your own child? How is it possible to spend hours preparing to minister to others, traveling to preach, and teach, and your own household is crying for attention, warmth, and unconditional love?
Matthew 25 is not just referring to strangers but also referring to those in our own homes. It boggles my mind how many ministers’ children that I have ministered to, counseled, and have become friends with who have said the same things over and over again; How much they disliked their parents, despised the church, and did not want anything to do with the church and sometimes God.
They felt abandoned by their parents; abandoned and second place to the church. They also could not understand how their parents could show so much understanding and compassion for a bunch of strangers but have none for them. It hurt my heart to hear not just, what they were saying with their mouths, but to also hear their heart and understand.
Beloveds, we do a disservice to God and to ourselves when we neglect the ministry of home. If our homes are lacking, then how much of a positive impact are we actually having? The problem is not just with parents and children, but also with spouses. Perhaps one spouse got saved and the other did not. Do you think you are going to win them over by always putting their needs and wants second? By always running to church and forgetting about taking care of their needs?
God is a God of decency and order. He does not come to separate families but to heal, restore, renew, and strengthen. When we have a healthy home, we can soar and help so many others, becoming that example of God’s love and balance.
Our first ministry begins in our homes. When we take care of home first, then we can effectively be used outside of the home. Our family, our nucleus—our immediate family home— and their needs must be our first priority. How can we leave our children and spouses to the enemy? That is what we are doing when we do not put them first, ministering to the needs that are first coming from within.
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 may seem easier to minister to strangers; to be caught up in the accolades and feelings of awe when you are praised and adored. But at what price? At the price of your family, their souls, and spirits? No, Beloved. The family must come first. Your home is your first priority and ministry. When God is in charge there, He will be the one to enlarge your territory and make you effective everywhere else He calls you. Let God lead, as you lead your household into their greatness. You are blessed. Now go…and be a blessing!
©2018. Ruthe McDonald. All Rights Reserved.