Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

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Enemies of the Heart | Guilt

April 9, 2019

Subscribed to this devotional recently and I’m just gonna leave Day 2 here. Just in case you stumble across this, read up.

Andy Stanley: Enemies of the Heart 

Devotional Day 2

“Fessing Up”

Scripture: 1 John 1:5-10

The first enemy of the heart is guilt. Guilt is the result of having done something we perceive as wrong. The message from a heart laden with guilt is, “I owe!”

Consider the man who runs off with another woman and abandons his family. Without realizing it at the time, he has stolen something from every member of his family. He has robbed his wife of her future, her financial security, and her reputation as a wife. From his children’s perspective, this man has stolen their Christmas, traditions, emotional and financial security, dinners with the family, and so on.

Now, the man who did all this doesn’t think in terms of what he has taken. Initially, he thinks in terms of what he has gained. But the first time his little girl asks him why he doesn’t love Mommy anymore, his heart is stirred. He now feels guilty. Dad owes.

Nothing less than paying that debt will relieve a guilty heart of its burden of guilt. People try to work it off, serve it off, give it off, and even pray it off. But no amount of good deeds, community service, charitable giving, or Sundays in a pew can relieve the guilt. It’s a debt. And it must be paid or canceled for a guilty heart to experience relief.

How do you get your guilt canceled? The answer comes in one of the first Bible verses I memorized as a child: 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (kjv).

Confession has the power to break the cycle of sin. And like most medicinal remedies, it works when applied properly. Proper application happens when we confess our sins, not just to God, but also to the people we’ve sinned against.

Guilty people are usually repeat offenders. And as long as you’re carrying a secret, as long as you’re trying to ease your conscience by telling God how sorry you are, you’re setting yourself up to repeat the past. However, if you start confessing your sins to the people you’ve sinned against, odds are that you’re not going to go back and commit those sins again.

Confess both to God and others, and you will slay this enemy of your heart.

What are you feeling guilty for? Confess your sin to God and to whomever you have hurt. Do it today.

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:5-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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The Greatest Gift You Can Give

February 11, 2015

I never imagined that following Christ’s example could be so hard because being self-centered is being human. You cannot deny that most of the time, all we think about are our selves. It’s always about us. It’s always us that need to be taken cared of, to feel comfortable, to be understood. Being human is being insensitive and selfish. And being human opens up to disappointments and frustrations because, reality check, we don’t always get what we want.

I won’t be a hypocrite and deny that I do not enjoy watching the lives of people who’ve hurt me fall apart. But then, I know I am in no place to judge. After all, I am oblivious to whatever it is that they are going through. As the bible says in Romans 12:18-20,  As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone. Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord. But, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed.”

My journey to finding and being with Christ is far from accomplished. I will always act human. But knowing Christ and his teachings bring you to a place wherein you interact with peace. And being selfless, being sensitive, being considerate, being compassionate to not just your self brings about peace; peace of the heart and peace of the mind.

Being merciful and good, especially to your enemies, may be one of the most powerful things you have ever done. – Joyce Meyer

Sharing Day 243 of the reading plan I am currently on from http://www.joycemeyer.org/ Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional

The Greatest Gift You Can Give

It’s the most outrageous thing. The more I think about it, the more amazed I am. It gives blessings that are undeserved and withholds punishment when it is deserved. It’s absolutely the greatest gift you can give someone.

This gift is called mercy. See, Jesus came to earth and gave us mercy, so we need to learn to give mercy to others.

By Christ’s example, we’re taught to love and pray for our enemies. We’re taught to be friendly to those who do not treat us as we would like to be treated. We are told to give to and care for the poor and helpless who will never be able to pay us back.

We can give to people who will give us gifts in return. But we’re more blessed when we choose to give to those who cannot pay us back, that’s giving mercy.

The greatest gift you can give God is to become more like Jesus. You can do that by treating others the way He treated you. Give those around you the greatest gift they could ever receive from you: mercy.

Prayer Starter: God, I thank You for the mercy that You selflessly give me every day. I choose now to give that mercy to others. Every chance I get, I will show them the mercy that You have shown me.

You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭36‬ NLT)

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(Photo courtesy: tumblr)

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God Can Clean Up Any Mess

January 13, 2015

No matter how disastrous your situation is right now, cling to that last string of hope and know that God will clean up your mess no matter how gross and disgusting it is. God loves us that much. All we need to do is reach out to Him.

Sharing Day 227 of the reading plan I am currently on from http://www.joycemeyer.org/ Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional

God Can Clean Up Any Mess

I was seriously abused throughout my childhood. My life was horrible! I don’t remember ever being really happy until I was in my twenties. My mind was a mess, my emotions were a mess…everything was a mess!

But it didn’t stay that way. God has dealt with me, changed me and brought me through it all. Now I have a great relationship with God, real peace and joy, good relationships with family and friends, and I’m doing what God has called me to do.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. I’ve discovered that anything I sacrificed to get closer to God and obey Him, I received back from Him many times over what I gave. And what He gave me was always much better.
You may be thinking, “But Joyce, you don’t know what I’m dealing with. It’s so hard!”

I understand, I’ve been through some really hard stuff. But God will reward those who seek Him. Be determined to seek Him in the midst of your hardship. He is more than able to clean up your messes!

Prayer Starter: God, I believe that You can clean up my messes. Instead of staying stuck in my troubles, I earnestly seek You today.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭6‬ NLT)

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Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2014

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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬ NLT)

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God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬ NLT)

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May we grasp what is truly important this season. Merry Christmas to all!

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Increase Your Self-Acceptance

September 24, 2014

Sharing Day 116 of the reading plan I am currently on from http://www.joycemeyer.org/ Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional

Increase Your Self-Acceptance

You may not think highly of yourself, but God wants you to like who you are. Here are 5 practical tips to help increase your self-acceptance and improve your opinion of yourself:

1. Never speak negatively about yourself. The communication of your faith is made effectual by acknowledging every good thing in you through Christ Jesus, not by focusing on the wrong.

2. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Peter encountered this obstacle when he compared himself to another disciple. He said, “Lord, what about this man? Jesus replied, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you?…” (John 21:21-22 AMP). We are not called to compare, only to comply.

3. Let God determine your worth. Remember that you have already been accepted by God.

4. Keep your flaws in perspective. It’s ok to see where you want to improve, but make sure you appreciate your progress.

5. Discover the true source of confidence. If you place your confidence in God, you can’t help but have a healthy attitude. Do your best, and leave the results to Him.

Prayer Starter: God, thank You for accepting me even when I have trouble accepting myself. Help me to acknowledge the good qualities You’ve given me and keep my flaws in perspective as I find my confidence in You.

That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (‭Philemon‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ KJV)

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Trusting and Believing

March 25, 2014

I would like to share with you the reading plan I am currently on. The plan aims to help you grow in trusting and believing God’s promises.

Trusting and Believing: Devotions from Time of Grace. (www.timeofgrace.org)

These are readings from Day 1 to Day 13.

Knowing is not yet believing. Believing is not yet trusting. Some people can’t accept the concept of God’s existence. They see no particular order in the universe that would demand the existence of a grand designer behind it all. Some people know that there is a Creator, but only as someone to acknowledge from a distance. Some acknowledge the creator’s existence simply to satisfy the thought that all living things came from something. Some people have come to know about the one true God by hearing the bible’s message yet they still feel alone and disconnected.

And then there’s trusting. Life makes it hard to trust and believe the way the bible calls us to do. I cannot deny that I’ve felt so many times that God has abandoned me during my most trying times and I have questioned his existence. I have shed countless tears and felt very desperate. But hearing, listening and trying to understand God’s word has done so many things. Life has a purpose, and all we have to do is trust God to lead us to that purpose. Trusting means living in the serenity that everything will be okay. Trusting means that you know a smiling and utterly competent God will be waiting to catch you when you fall–and also when he invites you to jump. Trusting means that you are totally convinced that you will emerge a winner no matter what happens in your life.

Why is it so hard to trust God?

1. Fear.
Fear holds us back from trusting and believing. Fear paralyzes. Fear makes our painful memories much more intense. Fear breeds despair about the future and makes us not like our present very much either. fear makes us blind to the blessings we have and fear makes it difficult, even impossible, to believe that there will be good things to come. But during these bleak times, Isaiah has some wonderful words to say. You could trust and believe in a God who is not going to let you lose your true treasure. In fact, God would actually be using the hard things in your life to help you!

He said in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

When you find yourself being afraid, take a deep breath, listen to these words of God, and remember that you are being cradled in God’s very big hands. You are safe.

2. Guilt.
It’s really hard to trust God when you feel guilt in his presence. Guilt comes on two levels: there’s head guilt and heart guilt. In our heads we know that we have broken God’s rules for our behavior. But guilt is also the wretched feeling of shame and failure in our hearts. Sometimes we let God’s Word get us halfway there. We hear the gospel message and know that we have been forgiven, but we don’t feel forgiven. We still feel dirty; we still feel the intense disappointment we must be to God.

The bible tells us that personal confession is a necessary part of healing the emotional baggage of guilt. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Confession is God’s way of getting the poisons out. It’s like draining a wound, it cuts through all the pretending, denial and defense. To get rid of guilt, we first objectively hear what Christ has done for us and subjectively, by confessing our sins, actually naming them, saying them out loud to our God without blaming others and without pretending, cutting through the denial–then we will get on the path to emotional healing as well. Our minds will know forgiveness. Our hearts will feel forgiven.

3. Self-Hatred
Everybody has been bullied. Everybody has been pushed around, ridiculed and mocked. People assume that those doing the putting down must feel powerful, but actually it’s the reverse. People who hurt other people really don’t like themselves much, and so they want to drag others down to their own level of emotional misery.

Honestly though, we’d all have to admit that there are things about our own lives that we don’t like, and so we don’t like ourselves all that much either. Here’s why we need God so much. We depend on God’s high opinion of us to give us a reason to believe not only in him but in ourselves again.

Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The Lord thinks you are so precious and valuable that he was willing to die for you in your messy state. He didn’t wait for you to clean yourself up first. He died so you could belong to him. If He thinks you’re valuable, then you must be! If he thinks you’re worth dying for, then you must be precious indeed. If he sends His Holy Spirit to live within you, then you are not helpless. If he loves you, then you can love yourself again.

4. Doubt
Is it good to be skeptical? If you’re a scientist, skepticism is considered a badge of honor. Scientists live to prove things and it’s by doubting, trying and testing that the great principles and laws of the universe are uncovered and the properties of matter better understood. Is it good to be doubtful and skeptical of God? Is it a good plan to devise tests to prove God’s existence, love, wisdom or power? Not such a good idea. Doubting God was the first human sin. In the string of things that Satan planted in the minds of Adam and Eve, the first step was to doubt God’s Word.

The Lord’s words banish doubt. When our life shakes with doubt, listen to your God talking to you. Let his calm voice assure you that nothing is too hard for him and that everything is going to be all right.

5. Fatigue
Think how much harder it is to feel confident when you’re exhausted. “Good tired” is how you feel at the end of a productive day. But you also know “bad tired,” don’t you? Bad tired is when you are physically and emotionally drained by the selfishness of others, or worse yet, by your own foolishness and bad judgement.

Fatigue wears down your cheerfulness and patience. Fatigue breeds pessimism and bitterness. The Lord Jesus knew personally what severe exhaustion felt like, and he wanted his tired brothers and sisters to know that there was relief for them.

He said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

6. Prosperity
You can understand and even sympathize with people whose poverty and hardships have made them suspicious of God’s love and power. Has it ever occurred to you that prosperity is an even greater spiritual burden?

Jesus told his shocked disciples once, in Matthew 19:24, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

He said this from sad experience, because his encounters with the wealthy were usually not pleasant. God gives money to people as a tool to make his agenda happen. He provides treats because he is kind and loves to see us happy. Alas, money can easily become god to be pursued and worshiped for the power it gives.

7. Denial
Children love to pretend. They have a rich fantasy life and effortlessly slide into their own parallel universe. The plan is to quit pretending when you are an adult and learn to see and accept reality.

If only. I bet you know plenty of other adults who are still pretending. Single people move in with each other and pretend to be married. Married people act as though they are single. Sedated by drugs or alcohol, people pretend that their lives are fine. People pretend to be financially successful but behind the scenes they stagger under enormous mortgages, home equity loans and maxed out credit cards. The worst kind of delusion is to pretend that you are morally good enough for God. You can blame other people for your sins. You can compare yourself with people farther down the food chain and feel superior. You can indulge in selective memory, remembering only what makes you look good.

God’s view? Living in a state of spiritual denial is deadly. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” You need help. God’s help.

8. Blindness
It’s hard to trust in God for the future if you think that your present life is a dry, parched desert. That’s not reality though; it’s just ignorance. Or worse–blindness to the wonderful things that God has been doing for his believers.

In Ephisians 1:3,4, St. Paul wrote to some Christians who were being tempted to think they had nothing, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.”

As you put Jesus’ gospel glasses on, as you see yourself as loved and forgiven, you can start noticing the good things that have been there all along: faithful friends, dear family members, skills and gifts, daily bread, flowers and sunsets, and a faithful Savior whose promise of everlasting life cannot be taken away from you.

9. Pain
Whatever intense emotion you are experiencing right now will color your entire worldview. If you are in pain right now, it can be very hard to be optimistic, to trust that your future will ever be better.

In John 16:33, hours before his death and resurrection, Jesus predicted terrible hardships for his disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Here is our hope–not in our tired and aging bodies, not in our brilliant minds or wealth, but in the words of the One who has suffered like us and for us and who has conquered death, hell and pain for us all.

10. Confusion
Some people find their trust in God draining away because he doesn’t seem to be doing what they want when they want it. Think for just a moment what God’s greatest desire for you is. It is not to make you wealthy, famous, powerful or even comfortable. It is to get you through the minefield of your earthly life safely hoe to heaven.

Let God’s ultimate goal for your life be your goal too. Replace confusion with this kind of clarity: 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

11. Self-Sufficiency
People want badly to believe that the world is steadily evolving into a higher state. It is a wonderful thing to be self-sufficient and to work at bettering yourself. It is a terrible thing, though, to suppose that we don’t need God. We are not evolving into better people. If anything, people are slowly devolving into beasts.

There’s a better way. The wise counsel from Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Every day in every way we are loved and blessed by our dear Father, Savior and Counselor.

We need to let go of the things that hinder our trust in God. You don’t always have to be in charge. Let go and let God work. He knows what is best for us. Trust that he knows.

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Despite doubting, cursing, and blaming God for all the unworldly experiences I’ve encountered, He has received me with open arms and loved me without any apprehensions. He has blessed me beyond belief and I have so much to be thankful for. Learn to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Trust and surrender to him, let him direct your path and hear him say “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life,” (Psalm 32:8).

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Photo courtesy: Google Images

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Sunday musings: Parents

March 2, 2014

For being a parent: a mother, a father, is the greatest accomplishment you could ever fulfill in your life.

Majority of parents would want what is best for their children. No matter how hard the pain and sacrifice each will have to go through, a parent will oversee and go beyond just to see his children well and grounded.

It is our duty as parents to take good care of one of the many wonderful blessings God has bestowed upon us.

We are not perfect, we are only human but human as we are, we are given the power to decide to be our best selves, a self that our children will look up to. A self that they could be proud of.

One of the tough parts of being a parent is knowing we can’t rescue our children from every difficulty in life. Sometimes the pain they suffer has to be their own. In those times, what we can do is walk with them in their suffering and, with God’s grace, see them through it. Even if the burden is theirs to carry, they don’t have to face it alone. (JimDalyBlog.com)

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We do not control our children’s lives, but we are tasked to be their guide, to support them, teach them and encourage them to be the best they could ever be, ready them to face the everyday reality of what we call life, so make time.

As God our Father is there for us, so shall we to our children.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

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DAVJ

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