Jesus will always be there, so keep him Over Everything

Jesus will always be there, so keep him Over Everything

Jesus gave his life so that we could live. His sacrifice didn’t mean we would be promised a perfect life. Hard times will come. But he is with us through them.

Struggle is both inevitable and uncomfortable. But it has purpose. When we face hard times, he wants us to draw closer to him. He is by our side at all times and loves us more than anyone ever can or will.

“But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” - Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬‬‬

May we always run to him in every circumstance and keep him above all else in life. Never loose hope, never give up and be reminded to never place anything before him. He is faithful and will be with you helping you get your through all hardships as long as you call on his name!

Image source:
https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.43.2.NLT

Sometimes we are going to be put in the fire when we are following God, but we will not be alone!! Just as he protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were thrown in a fiery furnace when they refused to serve the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, you too will be protected and will not be burned or consumed. The hard trials God will allow you to face will be to draw you closer to him and strengthen you for the calling he has for your life.

“Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!”
‭‭- Daniel‬ ‭3:19-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Father God, we praise your mighty name and we give you all glory and honor for you are loving and good to us. Father, whenever we go through the trials in our lives, please remind us that we are not alone and that you are walking right beside our us through the fire. Remind us Lord not to become discouraged, not to lose hope, and remind us who we are. We are called by you for such a time as this and we must keep you above all things that come into our lives. Lord Jesus, whether you’re walking with us by our side, or our carrying us through the hardest times in our lives, may we never loose sight of the power we have through you. May we always praise you through the hard times and know that you are with us always. Father God, if we ever for a moment allow fear or doubts to begin to take route, remind us that we are sons and daughters of the most high! And remind us Oh God, that your word is our double edged sword which will defeat and destroy anything that is not from you. Lord, we thank you for loving us, protecting us, and directing our steps. In Jesus name, we pray, Amen 🙏

Growing with you,

Sandy

The Time for Forgiveness is Now

The Time for Forgiveness is Now

We live in an imperfect world. Life leaves us disappointed when our expectations or needs are left unmet. We are imperfect people who disappoint even ourselves when we don’t meet the expectations we set for ourselves.

I love Jesus and I want more than anything in the world to always do the right thing and love others as he loves us. But truth is I fall short and I make mistakes. Fact is there will be times that we will let both ourselves and others down.

Some of my past mistakes are still being carried with me. They are a weight that at times feels heavy. I know that they don’t define me, yet I carry them. They are hard to forgot and hard to move past. But I long for the day when I can.

REFLECTION:
What are you holding against yourself? Are you allowing others to shame you because of your flaws? Are you allowing unforgivess to hold you back?


Father, tonight my prayer is that anyone reading this post holding themselves or another individual accountable will find the strength to forgive. May we find the strength to let go of what is holding us back. Father help us find release so that we can walk in the Purpose you created us for. God help us to be obedient and release our shortcomings to you. We can’t do it apart from you Lord. Help us forgive, now in this moment. Help us to break chains that keep us stuck.
In Jesus name, Amen

Growing with you,

Sandy

What does it mean to forgive like Jesus?

What does it mean to forgive like Jesus?

Many times I have been guilty of believing that I am weak. This is because I respond to personal attacks and insults far differently than anyone I know. When others put themselves first, I am always left feeling guilty or questioning myself. I tend to second guess my responses numerous times after occurrences have past. I argue with myself internally and ask; Why can’t I be like them?, Why can’t I respond the way they would?, Why can I not give the nastiness back? Well, it’s because I am me. God created me to be different!

While I may at times want to respond the way others would when I am faced with disrespect, in my heart I know that I can’t.

I don’t want to hurt others or mistreat them. It feels wrong in my spirit. No one deserves it. No matter how nasty they are.

We are called to forgive like Jesus, but again what does that mean?

Forgiving like Jesus means to forgive EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. It means forgiving all the time no matter who or what the situation or circumstances are.

Now, hold on a second. What about extreme situations such as murder, rape, child molestation? How on earth can we forgive those offenses? Only through strength that the Lord provides us with and even then, it may be the hardest thing we will ever have to do. And God loves us so much that he leaves it as our choice to do. He will never force us to follow him.

There are those who will say no way, never would I forgive such an offense. And I can understand that response, because that type of forgiveness is unimaginable. But with God, I know it has been possible for some.

Jesus taught that we are to forgive others just as he forgives us. He never placed a limitation on what or who should be forgiven.

Jesus was the ultimate mercy seat for every single one of us. He gave his life for all. So if we are to be like him, we too must extend mercy and grace to all who offend us. He never told us it would be easy, but he did tell us to go to God in prayer and ask him to forgive us just as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12).

In this same chapter in the book of Matthew, Jesus told his people that their sins will not be forgiven by the father if they don’t forgive others:

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” - Matthew 6:14-15 NLT

Another version of the Bible explains it this way:


“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” - Matthew 6:14-15 MSG

So we are called to live by grace and extend mercy to all, always. Otherwise, we ourselves will not be forgiven for our sins.

In Matthew 18:21-22, the Apostle Peter questioned Jesus on this very thing.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Jesus is saying here that we must forgive over and over, continuously. Through our own strength we can’t do this. But the strength of the Lord will cover us in our weakness if we call upon his name and ask him to help us.

If you’re like me, striving not to meet others with the same disrespect they do to you, know that you are not weak. You are actually the opposite, you are strong. Take pride in this strength and continue to ask the Lord to help you continue to practice it over and over again if needed. For anyone can be reactive, but being like Jesus means forgiving and showing mercy, grace and strength. Do your best to not act out of your character, but rather continue to show the strength of the Lord at all times and in all things.

If a time comes when you fall short of this, don’t beat yourself up, repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness and then surrender the hurt and anger to the Lord and forgive your offender anyway.

God is showing me that as followers of Christ, we should always strive for peace. For when we do, rewards await us in Heaven.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” - Matthew 5:9, 11-12 NIV

Father God, We thank you and we Honor you for always forgiving us no matter what we do or how much we continue to do it. Jesus, you gave your life for us and you continue to chase us with unrelenting love no matter how many times we mess up. We know that in this world we will have trials and tribulations, but we know that you are right there with us giving us the strength we need to get through. Lord we ask that you would continue to strengthen us during these difficult times and change our hearts to be more like yours so that we may be able to offer forgiveness to those who hurt or offend us. May we be wise and guard our hearts, but may we also be reminded to forgive those that offend or hurt us. Father God our flesh is weak, but we submit ourselves to you and ask that you would lead us and guide us so that we will walk in your purpose for our lives and ultimately love others as you love us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Growing with you,

Sandy

Please watch these video stories below from Mathew West. I pray they show you that even in the most devastating circumstances, forgiveness through the Lord’s strength is possible.

Lord, We Need You!

Lord, We Need You!

Words hurt!

People will insult you.

People will belittle you.

They will tell lies about you.

They will try to break you.

They will try to push you down.

Their words will pierce your heart and they will pierce your soul.

They will make you think less of yourself.

But do not give up on life.

Do not believe their lies.

Do not believe their opinions.

You are not less than.

You do have a purpose.

There is hope.

God created each one of us from the very moment of conception with a God given, appointed purpose.

You are not what has happened to you.

Your circumstances do not define you.

God loves and cares for you.

When your heart aches cry out to him!

He will show up for you and pull you through.

No matter what they say or what it is you are battling, cry out Lord I need you!!

You must understand God has so much in store for you.

God has a plan and a future for you.

God is going to use your pain for your purpose!!

He is going to use you to help others who will walk through the very valley you’re in now.

Do not give up on yourself.

Your life is tied to saving the lives of others.

Pray to God and ask him to give you strength.

Your testimony is for others.

You will overcome.

You will be used for greater!

Father God, we give you thanks for you are worthy of all praise. We call upon your name and cry out to you. Lord, I need you. Lord, we need you. Lord, your people need you. Father, hear the cries of your people and show up for them. Show them Lord that they are never walking alone and that you are with them. Holy Spirit move in their lives and transform their spirits from within. Father God, comfort hearts and break strongholds. Lord Jesus, you are love. Remind your people that they have been set apart by you for a greater purpose. Renew their strength oh Lord so that they may fulfill their God-given purposes to help others. Align them with the right people who will help strengthen them. Father God, we know that our pain births our God given purpose. Renew your people Lord, reveal yourself to them and give them the strength to stand in the midst of the attacks, insults and pain. Father, comfort them in their pain. We come against the plans of the enemy Lord and declare that your will for their lives will come to pass. They will overcome and have a testimony to encourage and empower others. Father God we know that you will go before them so that they may intercede and go before others in the future. Strengthen us to walk in our God given purpose. We know that only you are able to provide for our needs. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Growing with you,

Sandy

Forgive Them, They don’t know any better…

Forgive Them, They don’t know any better…

There will come a time when we all will be hurt by someone. When this time comes, you must learn to forgive them. Some people just don’t know any better.

But how can they not know better? Well, they don’t realize that they’ve hurt you, because they are too consumed with themselves and what it is that they want. They are full of pride.

The Bible tells us that pride is the evil way.

The [reverent] fear and worshipful awe of the Lord includes the hatred of evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.” - Proverbs 8:13 AMP

Forgiveness is hard, but it will release you from emotional ties to the person and to the situation. Forgiveness is your healing. It shifts the focus off of them and onto yourself.

Staying focused on them and what they did to hurt or offend will keep you in torture. Despising them will only keep you from your healing.

Keep them at a distance. Guard your heart. Set boundaries and pray for them. Is it hard to pray for those who hurt you? Yes!! But through God’s strength, you can, because his power is made perfect in our weakness!! (Read 2nd Corinthians 12:9).

When someone dismisses your value, disrespects you, or makes you feel invisible, Forgive them!! Pray for God to reveal his truth to them and open their eyes. Pray that he will cause them to realize their mistake and repent. Pray that they would accept salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and choose to follow him.

Don’t dwell on the way they left you feeling. Trust that God has gone before you. He knew this would happen and he is redirecting you in order to protect you. The desires of our own hearts are generally not his best for us.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4

Many people take this scripture (Psalm 37:4) out of context. I know that I have. There was a time when I read this and thought it meant, if I follow God he will give me the desires of my heart. But, as I grew in the Lord, I learned that my interpretation of this word was incorrect. It was not about what I wanted or desired. It was about God’s plans for me and what he wants for me.

When we “delight in the Lord” we have righteous desires. Delighting in the Lord means we are aligning ourselves with what God wants for us. And isn’t that far greater!? God is our protector and he knows what is best for us far more than we ever could imagine!

“Whoever goes to the Lord for safety, whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, can say to him, “You are my defender and protector. You are my God; in you I trust.” He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases. He will cover you with his wings; you will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you.”Psalm 91:1-4 GNTD

Father God, Thank you for loving us and protecting us. You are our refuge and we thank you for keeping us safe from the dangers that we do not see. Father you created us to love and fellowship with others, you created us for relationship. Father God, when we are left hurt or confused by others who cause us to feel unworthy, disrespected or just not enough, remind us that your plans are far greater than anything we could ever desire or imagine for ourselves. Help us to trust in you Lord. Change our hearts and our desires so that they are one in the same with what you want for us. Remove anything that is not from you from our lives and our paths. Lord, give us the strength to pray for those who hurt us, because we know that many times they are not aware of what they are doing. And in the times that they are aware, we know that they are far too weak to do the right thing. We thank you that our strength comes from you Lord. We know that we can do all things through your strength alone. Strengthen us so that we may always do that which is right, and that which is your will. Father, we thank you for your protection and for your redirection. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Growing with you, Sandy

Sometimes You have to Sit with Your Feelings

Sometimes You have to Sit with Your Feelings

We all have faced a time when something upset us and our feelings took over. When anger and frustration set in and we immediately wanted to tell “that person” a thing or two and give them a piece of our mind.

Reacting based on emotion may lead to saying things you will later regret.

Sometimes you just have to sit with your feelings. This is important to allow your mind time to process what happened. Identify how the occurrence left you feeling as you sit and allow your emotions to calm.

When the other person resorts to cursing you, insulting you and being hostile. You don’t have to respond.

“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” — Proverbs 29:11 NLT

Let go and allow God to fight.

Leave your troubles with the Lord, and he will defend you; he never lets honest people be defeated. — Psalm 55:22

Sit with your feelings and pray. Ask God to direct you.

“What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature.” — Galatians 5:16 GNTD

Listen to worship music and praise God for all of your blessings. Shift the atmosphere from one of frustration into one of joy and praise. For God is good and he can turn your circumstances and situations around and use them for your personal growth.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” — James 1:2-5 NLT

The next time you feel a need to defend yourself and react, leave it all in God’s hands!! He will work it all out for your good! Respond (only if you must) when you’re calm and allow yourself to be lead by the Spirit of the Lord and not by emotions.

Father God, I thank you for your love and for always there being there for us, protecting us, and ready to fight our battles when we call upon your mighty name. Lord, I lift up my brothers and sisters today who are in circumstances or situations which have their emotions heightened and going in every direction. Jesus in your name we come against anger, fear, frustration, sadness, and every negative emotion that is taking over their minds right now. Father, give them peace that only you can give and remind them Lord to take time to calm & pray, leaving things at your feet. Lead them Oh Father to respond according to your will and not their own. We know that you go before us and that you are fighting for us. So Lord, give them strength to call upon your name and lead them to respond with words that will not cause harm or pierce the heart of another. We know that you work things out for the good of those who love you, so we give you thanks father God in advance because we know that you will make a way and that you work their situations out. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Growing with you,

Sandy

The Battle is The Lord’s!

The Battle is The Lord’s!

When we are trying to do right and live according to God’s will, the enemy will attack when you least expect it. When you are seeking the Lord, the enemy wants nothing more than to break you down and destroy you. Most times he will do this through people who are on a mission to break you, destroy your character, or desire to make you feel worthless. You must remember that we aren’t fighting against flesh but instead we are fighting against evil spirits.

“We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.” - Ephesians 6:12 CEV

The enemy doesn’t want you happy or getting ahead in life, so you must be aware of his tactics. Recently, I reached out to someone with good intentions that were met with disrespect and nastiness when we couldn’t come to an agreement that made them happy. I chose not to engage and left the conversation, because I knew nothing good would come of it. I have held conversations with this individual numerous times asking for them not to speak to me disrespectfully; however, the individual still chooses to use words that exude hatred, so I am learning not to engage.

God will fight our battles for us if we allow him to. When you are in a battle you must have faith and trust that God is going before you and will fight for you. His word says you need only be still.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”- Psalms 46:10

When you are frustrated and overwhelmed or feel as though anger is taking over, that is when you must trust God the most. God will never leave us or forsake us, his desire is to protect us. Whatever is coming against you, he has got it! So give it to God and let his peace fall upon you.

If you come up against conflict with someone whose goal is to break you down, do not engage, walk away and let God handle it.

Our Lord desires for you to be at peace, so you must allow him to remove the frustration and trust him to go up against anyone or anything which comes against you.

In Jesus name, you must remind yourself that you are a child of God. You must remind yourself that God has your best interest at heart and he desires to protect you. No matter how frustrated or angry you become, do not go low and fight evil with evil. That is not who God is calling you to be.

Ask God for the strength to turn your back and remove yourself from situations or conversations which seek to attack and break you down. Trust God and have faith that he has got it.

The battle is the lords, not yours!

“He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” - 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NIV

You are never alone, the Lord us fighting for us and he us with us in every moment so call upon his name.

For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. - Deuteronomy 20:4 (NIV) 
“They will fight against you, but will not overcome you for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:19 (NIV) 

When someone constantly is at conflict with you, understand that it is not about you, the battle is within themselves. If someone constantly chooses conflict, it is because there is no peace living within.

The enemy seeks to use others to destroy us, and he would use anyone he can to do that, while also simultaneously using evil to destroy the individual from within. Have you heard the saying, “Kill two birds with one stone?” If allowed, the enemy will wreck havoc and destroy both of you at the same time.

Remember that we are fighting against that which is unseen and have been given God’s word as a sword against the enemy. His word says, when you resist the enemy he has to flee. So when you feel conflict attacking you through a person, rebuke the enemies plan and demand him to flee.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NIV)

When conflict arises walk away or discontinue conversation. We are not called to entertain insults or verbal abuse. Pray that they would come to know the Prince of Peace and do not allow them to take away your peace.

Father God, We know that you are love and we thank you Jesus for being the Prince of Peace. No matter how hard we try Lord, we know that there will be times that we cannot escape conflict and that there will be people who will resort to insults and nastiness in order to feel better about themselves and to try to win a battle they’ve created. Father, when these situations arise strengthen us so that we do not meet evil with evil. Give us your strength so that we may turn away and remove ourselves from situations and conversations that are not pleasing to you. Father, guard our hearts so that evil words will fall away without piercing our souls. Turn around all that the enemy means for evil. Remind us oh God that the battle is within themselves and that they need healing. Give us the strength Father to never take matters into our own hands and to trust that the battle is not ours but yours. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen

Growing with you,

Sandy