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The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
 
GOD'S LOVE IS NOT A PAMPERING LOVE, BUT A PERFECTING LOVE.
 
Before I was born again my life was a complete mess, a complete mess in a sense of "I thought I had it all under control" the deception I had fooled myself into was my worst enemy. I was doing it my way, and if I did it my way it would be right not perfect but right. Do you see how completely utterly ridiculous that sounds? Now it does to me, but at that time in my life it was all I knew and it was the only way I knew how to live.
 
God literally used the bad in my life to allow me to be broken before I realized this way of living was not only wrong but displeasing to him. In order to be part of His Kingdom, this had to go and it had to go fast. He showed me a better way, a path I have been on for years. It is a path, not all will stay on sadly and it is a path that is not easy to walk. I will not sugar coat it, it is hard. It requires faith in Him and without that faith, you will veer off.

I have been riding horses since I was 3 years old, and one thing I have learned is that if a horse will not yield to its master to obey his command whether it is a nudge to get him to move or pulling back on the reins to stop. It is not a horse worth riding it is not useful or enjoyable. Think about it before a horse can be useful to its owner, it has to be broken. An unbroken stallion is proud and strong. It will not allow you anywhere near it and let no one ride it. My brother had the privilege one time to climb on the back of a beautiful paint stallion. The horse bucked, kicked, even took him into the woods to use the branches to get my brother off his back. The horse was stubborn, difficult, bucked, kicked, reared up, but my brother stayed on and in the end, my brother finally broke him. After that, you could not have had asked for a more faithful riding horse. Why did it behave like this? Because it did not want to be broken. It fought and fought till it had to give into the will of it's master.

Sometimes we have that same stubborn, rebellious, self-sufficient spirit within us, and God often breaks those attitudes because they keep us from experiencing true intimacy with Him. Have you ever been broken? Can you say you are obedient to God? Before you answer think about your walk with him and think real long and hard and ask yourself have you been broken?
  
Brokenness is empty-handedness before God. It makes no demands. It is falling into the embrace of your loving Father and finding Him to be enough. It says not only “God, I need You,” but “God, You are all I need.” Until you allow yourself to be broken and allow God tear down all that is hindering you in your relationship with him.

What are some of the things God breaks? Here are some of the big ones:

Stubbornness. “I am going to do this my way.” If you are one of God’s children, that attitude is on its way out. You can fight with Him for a long time if you want, but your stubbornness will eventually be broken.

Pride. “I know better; I am better.” God hates pride in the hearts of His children. He hates it in my heart; He hates it in yours. People who have been greatly used by God have come to grips with the need to dispense with all pride and to humble themselves.

Willfulness. “You can’t make me! You can’t tell me! I’ll do what I want when I want.” That’s willfulness, and it is also on its way out. God will use whatever He has to use to remove it from your heart and life.

Independence. “I can make it without You.” Nothing will inhibit your intimacy with the Father like an attitude of self-sufficiency. Recognize your weakness and rely on His strength.

God will use broken health, careers, dreams, relationships, promises, and hearts to rid our lives of the things that hinder intimacy with Him. Some say a loving God wouldn’t allow pain, but God’s love is not a pampering love; it’s a perfecting love. God is producing something in us the likeness of His Son and He is going to do whatever it takes to make that happen. You might want to get off the program. But any other path will lead you to a place you don’t want to be or you will fool yourself into many years of deception that you have it all under control. Even though your life is a complete utter mess, you are doing it your way and that is all that matters. 

You will never experience true intimacy with God until you are able to come before Him in genuine humility, utterly desperate for Him. Face it just like my brother on that beautiful paint stallion you too need to be broken. Pride and thinking you are "fine" and you can handle it all on your own. Will hinder your relationship with all around you most of all it will hinder you in your spiritual growth and your relationship with your Father. You will never fully experience the life he has for you until you do. What is really sad, is you will never ever experience a close relationship with Jesus.

I will confess to each and every one of you and anyone else that crosses my path in my life and I am not ashamed to admit it, I found God not in happiness nor in contentment, nor in doing it my way. I found him in sorrow, pain, desperation.  I found God when I was broken.

Prayer
Lord, I confess that I am naturally proud, stubborn, willful, and prone to believe I’m self-sufficient. I confess that I resist the thought of being broken, but I believe that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Please help me to let go and allow You to have Your way in my life. Thank You that the more I surrender to You, the more intimacy I can have with You. God, you are all I need. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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How many times have we heard another Christian shout; What an AWESOME God we serve. But how many of us can honestly say we have experienced an AWESOME God?

The one thing I know about God is that He has a way of surprising you it is in such a gentle way. When you realize it I know for me it is like my breath is taken away for a moment. There is only one other being in this world that can do that to me and that is my husband. God’s way is different when you connect the dots it is truly, truly, an amazing revelation! There is one vital thing we need to understand and that is God’s way is supernatural. When he speaks, it is nowhere near like man. When it happens, you are moved beyond tears. It is a moment that is a reflection you reflect not on the world or the issue at hand you reflect on His word and you realize He is speaking directly to you. In my previous devotional, I stated this:

So, faith is a gift from God that we receive the word of Christ, which in this dispensation we get from the Bible rather than from a burning bush. So, in His time, He will give faith to us as needed from the word of the Bible. In 2 Cor 10:15 we see that faith can grow, so as we study the Bible God can add to our faith.

Now keep in mind this devotional was written 2 years ago I think I know it has been awhile. I have been taking a break from our series on righteousness the past week. For the last week, I have been praying for my family I have been praying for direction and the choices and changes my husband and I are making. That they are the best for our family most of all that we are staying in the will of God for our lives. Only a few that are close to us know the situation in depth what has transpired in the past few months. As I was browsing the internet this scripture came across my screen just last week.

For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right. And patiently endure unfair treatment. 1 Peter 2:19

God sees all and knows all. He is not blind and never turns a blind eye to what happens or what is happening to you. He knows our thoughts and our hearts. While others may try, and paint you as something else to man. They will never be able to do that with God. He knows the truth.

As I read this scripture I sighed last week. I found hope and God allotted me faith just when I needed it most. A simple reminder “HEY Shannon, you have done nothing wrong you and Kevin were doing what was right. Now, my child patiently endure this unfair treatment blessing are going to flow from my throne.” It was not until I sent out this older devotional yesterday that I realized just how supernatural it was for me and how directly he was speaking to me. You may not be feeling the connection but I very much do. How He speaks to you maybe different with someone else. God speaks to us on so many levels but when he does and I can speak from experience. The most powerful are when it is subtle like a feather that brushes across your cheek. It may be done quietly but the words are loud and very clear. You cannot mistake the voice of God. You just cannot you know when His voice is subtle but it rushes over you like ocean waves pounding at the shore.

Jesus stated: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27.

So, my little sheep are you hearing the voice of God? Are you thinking He will speak like a man or are you hearing him through His most beautiful word that is ALIVE? I am here today to tell you LISTEN, stop, pray, wait patiently, let him speak volumes to you. Then the next time someone says, “What an AWESOME God we serve.” It will mean more to you than just a statement. You can in the humblest way shake your head and agree and say “yes” I have experienced and served the Spirit of a HOLY God.

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Pain From the Past  

This emotion has to be the one emotion that is the hardest to get past. Notice I said past we never get over the pain that someone inflicts on us we just learn to move on from it. Pain, it lives up to its name, after all, it is a 4 letter word. None of us can get past it without God.

God has a lot to say on this matter scripture tells us. Proverbs 4:23 states; Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 

When the heart is broken, we react in not so good ways revenge is high on the list among many other things. It causes us to say and do things that we normally would not do. To those that are constantly in the line of fire of someone that has not dealt with certain things in their life. The aftermath is catastrophic I am talking levels that there is no way to restore relationships that they have broken. As a Christian, we have to refrain and have a lot of self-control over our emotions and pain because this is one dangerous emotion indeed. It can lead us down a bad path if we do not get control over it. I am not saying bury the pain oh no, that is what many do and when they do it never ends well at all. You start taking it out in other areas of our life. There is no brush it under the rug approach on this. If that pain is not dealt with it can infiltrate the mind and cause all sorts of havoc and chaos in your life. If you do not get rid of it, it will destroy not only you but your relationships with others around you.

I have personally witnessed firsthand the devastation this can cause in one’s life. I have watched someone drive themselves mad because they have not dealt with the pain from the past. When one harbors that pain they become dangerous they have the mentality of I will stick it to you before you stick it to me. The paranoia sets in and they will create situations that are not even there. I am talking about their worst fear. They will create in their mind the worst fear from that pain. They will retaliate on something that is completely, utterly, false. If you try to help that person, help them try to see they are wrong and need to deal with the pain of the past it can go one of two ways. The person if they are grounded in the word and need a helping hand they will accept it and take your help for what it is help. If they are not grounded in the word and still refuse to deal with it watch out! Satan has his grip tight and he is not letting go. That is because this is how he operates. He operates through these negative emotions. Once he has that person he literally has them in shackles and chains with cement blocks tied to their feet. It is a VERY dangerous situation for you. We can pray over that person, rebuke Satan, constantly do everything we can to try and help them break free of those chains. But if they are not going to knock that demon off their back there is nothing you can do. This is not your battle it is theirs. This is one they must fight. If they do not you have to walk away and let God bring that person to their knees.

I will be honest with each and every one of you that is reading this. This is the hardest, I mean the hardest situation you will ever be in. It is also the hardest thing in this world for you to watch and walk away from. More so when it is a family member. Sometimes God wants you to step back take a deep breath and YES think of yourself because of Proverbs 4:23. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own witnessing and wanting to help others we forget. For those of us that embrace the cross know how important it is and we want to share the good news of Yeshua. We want all to have a personal relationship with God. However, we need to lose ourselves in him, not in the situation at hand. This is what can become dangerous for us. This is a tightrope and I think as a Christian you are constantly on that tightrope. The key is knowing when you need to get off. This is a lesson God has shown me the past 8 months. Knowing when to walk on that rope and when to get off.

Pain from the past can cause more division in one's life than anything else. If you are harboring it get rid of it. If you do not know how, pray, seek God for help let those that he has placed gently in your life to guide you and help you. If you are on the other side of that person’s pain. Learn when to walk away because God says you matter too and no one should ever get a free pass to continue to demand that you carry the burden of their pain on your back. We are to carry each other’s burdens. Not their baggage from the past.

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Peace With Enemies

There are people we encounter in life who make enemies everywhere they turn.  Those who can be around them endure out of fear or hope to ride their way to success on the coattails of another.  We don't like to be around such people but we encounter them most places we go, even in our Christian circles.

On the other hand, there are people who we can't help but like even if we don't agree with them all of the time. They are always polite even when expressing a different point of view. This is the way we are to live as Christians. We are to not engage in arguments and we are most certainly not to add fuel to fires. We are to calm them, God looks for us to be peacemakers. We have to remember we are mere vessels for God we are delivering his message, not ours. I have seen so many people on Social Media jump to conclusions. I have been called a racist more times than I care to mention because I support Donald Trump and I voted for him. I ignore them because I do not want to fuel the fire. That is what they want they want to engage in hatred, arguments, and it does not matter what you say. They will never change their opinion and they will never change their minds of what they think or believe.

I have a good friend that lives in my home state of Texas he is an Orthodox Jew. We have been friends for a few years now. He is different than many Orthodox Jews. His wife has been in the hospital and he has had a very rough past year. He started a go fund me page and I wasted no time in donating to help him with his wife's medical bills. I shared within my circle not for money but also for prayers he needs them. I asked family and friends to pray for him and his wife. We may not agree about certain things when it comes to our faith but we do believe in the same God. A week ago he replied to one of my posts it was about the Book of Acts and the church today etc. He replied with a scripture from the New Testament. Then someone that follows him who is a more stern Orthodox Jew started bluntly asking questions about Jesus putting certain words in bold. Like the word "IF" I knew then this person was here to argue not learn or ask honest questions but to put this Christian in her place. I let it go did not reply did not engage. My friend + her reply to my post. I waited and one of my friends in Israel stepped in gave a really good answer to her question pointed out where Yeshua can be found in the Old and New etc. Then it ramped up the argument was on my other friend chimed in. Not to calm the fire that was being fueled he was backing up his Jewish friend. I then stepped in replied and stated that I was not going to allow this to continue I disabled comments told them both I loved them and supported the Jews and Israel. However, I was a Christian and he knows that I believe Yeshua was the Son of God and I believe it with all my heart. I explained to my friend that I had friends in Israel that were Christians he was the only friend I had that was Jewish that did not believe in Yeshua. I told him I respected his faith always have and if he and I were to continue as friends he was going to have to show me the same respect I have shown him. The other person went to another post and continued her rant I ended up removing her comments and blocking. My friend sent me a private message and asked for forgiveness.

Sometimes we have to take a stand regardless of what is at stake. I will never deny Christ and I will never allow anyone to attack me or my Christian friends. Do not get me wrong I have stood up for him too when other Christians have attacked him. I had no idea which way my friend was going to go. I have often been baffled as to why he does remain friends with me knowing I am a Christian. This is where peace with your enemy comes in. You have to draw a line and take a stand. However, I saw a side of him that does concern me he did not (unlike I) stand for me when I was attacked by his own. It was evident his friend was there to argue and be combative.

We have to always remember being a disciple is hard work. We are not to run and hide the instant we are attacked. Do not get me wrong there are times we pick and choose the battles. We are going to be different from the rest of the world because we are not choosing for ourselves we are obeying God what he has told us to do. Our enemies will take notice that we don't fight back the way others do.  They will lose the urge to fight when we take a different stance than the world. We, unlike the world, make peace with our enemies. Some will take notice while others will want to remain combative. This is when we will know which battles to fight and which ones we leave to God.