LOVE, FAITH, AND FORGIVENESS: THE DECISIONS WE MAKE AND THE ACTIONS WE TAKE

TIME TO ACT by Stuart Miles

 

Today, I want to talk to you about love, faith, and forgiveness. Normally we associate these three things with how we feel. But I want to submit to you that these aspects of our Christian walk which are commanded in the Word of God are not about our feelings. These commandments are about making decisions and taking action!

LOVE IS AN ACTION

For example, Jesus commanded us to love each other (John 13:34). Agape love, or the God kind of love which is unconditional, is not a feeling. It’s a decision you make to meet a person’s needs regardless of how you feel. First Corinthians 13:4-6 talks about what love does:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Therefore, we are to avoid relying on emotions when it comes to loving others. It’s all about your actions, or what you do, not how you feel.

FAITH IS AN ACTION

In Mark, 11:22, Jesus commanded us to have faith in God. Faith is also about deciding that regardless of how you feel, you are going to take action. For example, In Luke 5, Peter didn’t feel like letting down his nets when Jesus told Him to do so after he and his colleagues had fished all night and caught nothing. However, he took action, obeyed the instruction, and received a miracle. Maybe at some point, you haven’t felt God’s presence, but faith says when you don’t feel His presence, you still pray and pursue God. Why?  Because faith is not about your feelings, it’s about what you do. You may have “a feeling” that God is going to move on your problematic situation, but If you don’t move, He won’t because the Bible says faith without corresponding works is dead. Faith is about your actions.

FORGIVENESS IS AN ACTION

Forgiveness is the decision we make to refuse to pay our enemy back or seek restitution from the individual for what we have lost. In Romans12:19 God said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” Isaiah 61:7 says He will pay us “double for our former shame.” However, forgiveness is also about taking action because In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus gave the following instructions: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” If you do what He said, even if your emotions are still raw, that’s how you know you have truly forgiven. Healed emotions will be the byproduct of your decision to forgive and your choice to take action and follow Jesus’ commands.

So I encourage you to take action and love people by meeting their needs in spite of how you feel. Have faith in God and take action by continuing to pursue Him anyway in spite of whether you feel His presence or not. Forgive those who have hurt you by acting in accordance with God’s prescribed method for dealing with your enemies. When you take action first, your emotions will soon line up with the decisions you make and the actions you take.

 

What are your thoughts about faith, love, and forgiveness being based on actions instead of feelings?  Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

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HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SANITY WHEN YOU ARE BLINDSIDED

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Have you ever wondered why God lets us go through situations or tests where our world is rocked to the core? You know what I am talking about. When things happen that we don’t understand.  Someone dies. We don’t get healed. Things don’t go as we had planned, and we ask God, “What were you thinking?”

I’ve been at that place in my life two times. The first time, five people in my world died in a four-month period. The second time I recognized an unsaved person in my life was prospering wildly while I was struggling. Believe it or not, I actually got to the point where I was questioning if God really existed. I praise the Lord that I worked through my garbage. When it was all said and done, I made up in my mind that from this point forward, NOTHING would cause me to disconnect myself from the Lord. I believe that’s the state of BROKENESS that God wants every believer to experience.

I also believe that God allows us to go through those times for three reasons:

  1. To show that we don’t want Him only for what He can give us. I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes mention this on the Potter’s Touch broadcast one day. Joyce Meyer says we should seek God’s face, not His hand.  When people in our lives seek us out only when they want something from us, we don’t like it either.
  2. So that we will get to the place where we fully trust Him no matter what. That means it doesn’t matter who comes or goes, who gets healed or doesn’t, who lives or who dies, I trust God knows what He Is doing. I know He loves me, has my best interests at heart, He is still good, and His Word is true even if I don’t understand.
  3. So that we mature to the point where nothing will cause us to walk away from Him. God loves us unconditionally. We need to get to the place where we love Him unconditionally. That means nothing can separate us from His love.

If we survive the uncertain times that try us, the bond we have with God will be unbreakable. We must keep our relationship intact and stay plugged into our power source. The Bible says the devil walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. If we stay connected to God, we will not end up being one of those devoured by the enemy, and he will not be able to get the best of us.

Think about this: If you are a parent, you don’t explain everything to your children either.  There are some things your kids don’t need to know. And even if you told them, because of their age, they still wouldn’t understand. If earthly parents can choose to share certain information with their kids or choose not to explain themselves when it comes to certain decisions, shouldn’t God have that same privilege? In the same way, God is asking us to trust Him when we don’t understand.

If we indict God’s character, choose to disconnect ourselves, and deny His existence, where does that leave us? He is still God, but not in our finite perception. That basically causes us to enter into atheism. But Tony Evans said, “If you get rid of God, you’ve still got your problem.” The thought of living life in this world without God is a scary prospect. Therefore, if we want to hold on to our sanity and regain equilibrium when we have been blindsided, the only answer is this: Trust God. It’s the only way out.

Have you ever been blindsided? What did you learn from the process? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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TRUST IN THE LORD!

Trust by Stuart Miles

The other day, I was meditating on Proverbs 5:6-7 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all thy ways, and He will direct thy paths.” TRUST. “Trust” was the word that jumped out at me and the question came to mind, “What does that really mean for believers?”

The definition of trust according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Trust must have an object. God is the object of our trust as believers. He is well worth putting our trust in because He has never failed us, and He never will.

When we trust in God with all our heart, that means that we will not allow anything to separate us from His love (Romans 8:39). When tragedy strikes, we cling to God for dear life. We still believe in the impeccability of God’s character no matter what. Trusting God with all your heart means you know without a doubt God is good, His Word is true, and He cannot lie!

So when we as believers really put our TRUST in God and we say out of our mouths, “God, I trust you!” that means we are making several declarations simultaneously:

  1. We trust that He loves us unconditionally. God said in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” His love is so vast and so deep, and it never ceases. When you know your Daddy loves you, you can rest assured that He will do everything in His power to make sure that you are well taken care of.
  2. We trust that He absolutely has our best interests at heart. You can trust that God is for you. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” He says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Therefore, we know that we can rest in our heavenly Father’s good intentions toward us.
  3. We trust that He knows what He is doing no matter what it looks like. Trusting God entails our belief that God is executing His divine plan even though things aren’t necessarily going the way we planned. Even if we don’t understand and have unanswered questions, when we trust Him, we can rest in knowing that He has all the answers and is working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28).
  4. We trust that He will always keep His Word. The Bible says, “All of the promises of God in [Jesus] are yes and amen” (II Corinthians 1:20). Numbers 23:9 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” Therefore you can trust God to be a promise keeper. He will never fail to do what He says He will do!

Are you trusting in the Lord today? God is certainly trustworthy, and He will never let you down. No matter what you are going through today, know that God loves you, He is looking out for you, He knows what He’s doing in your life, and He will keep His Word to you. You can fully rely on Him and know that those who put their trust in Him will never be ashamed (Isaiah 49:23).

What are you trusting God for today? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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HOW TO MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND KEEP YOUR PEACE

Accusation by Ambro

God has been really impressing on me to release some things lately, mainly my expectations of others. My mom once said this profound statement: “Lower your expectations of others. Raise your expectations of yourself.” Although when she said it I may not have liked it, but I never forgot it. And now that I am older, it’s just starting to sink in. She was right. When I lower my expectations of others and raise my expectations of myself, the judgmentalism stops, and I maintain my peace. I’d like to share some other ways you can put this into practice.

RELEASE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT YOUR STANDARDS
We all have standards, and sometimes we expect others to adopt our standards. When they don’t, we get annoyed and tend to lose our peace. For example, you may have set the standard for yourself to show up on time for meetings. But what if your colleague does not show up on time? How can you reframe your thinking in such a way as to not lose your peace? We have to remember that they may not have the same values. Everyone doesn’t think like we think. Maybe promptness wasn’t given a priority in their home where they grew up. Maybe there was an unfortunate mishap that kept them from being on time. Whatever the case may be, we have to lower our expectations of others and raise our expectations of ourselves. Let’s be led by the Spirit in what actions we take, refrain from judgment and take the behavior in stride instead of taking it personally. That is what we must do if we want to stay in peace.

GIVE PEOPLE MARGIN
I am also learning to raise my expectations of myself in the sense that I try to give people margin and lower my expectations of others by not expecting them to be perfect. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” If we are to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), we have to be long-suffering and forbearing with each other. We have to be forgiving and willing to overlook offenses and believe the best. That’s hard sometimes. But we can do it with the help of the Lord, and if we know who we are in Christ, we can and will choose the high road that God has called us to travel.

RECOGNIZE HOW HARD IT IS TO BE A HUMAN BEING
Furthermore, we have to recognize how hard it is to be a human being in this life. Let’s face it. We all come from dysfunctional families. All of us are capable of being deceived by the devil. When we get saved, we have the huge job of renewing our mind after we have been programmed wrong for years! To be a decent, law-abiding, functional citizen of the Kingdom is a huge challenge. We all are swimming against the current just like a trout swimming upstream. In the same way, the forces of hell are arrayed and working against all of us with the goal of dividing us, destroying us and keeping us from fulfilling the plan of God for our lives. Therefore, we need to raise our expectations of ourselves, lower our expectations of others, give one another a break and pray for each other!

Saints, we have to keep in mind that every one of us is a work in progress. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Thank God that in Christ we are covered by the blood while we are being sanctified. If we can hold on to that thought, we will be able to maintain our peace and joy even when people don’t live up to our expectations.

What are your thoughts about managing your expectations? In what area do you need to raise your expectations of yourself to improve your life? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND

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I have a secret to share. The Bible says in James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” Sometimes I struggle with trusting God when what I experience in this natural realm makes no sense to me.  I believe we all struggle with that to some degree at times, wouldn’t you agree? Have you ever been there? Have you had a time in your life when what happened to you just didn’t make sense at all, and you were left reeling?

The other day I heard someone on a Christian television program say, “When you don’t have all the answers, you need to put your questions in a file marked, “I don’t understand.” I wish I could remember who said that because it was so profound!! That was such good advice and a great analogy!

When I thought about it, I do have a file folder in my file cabinet, marked, “Miscellaneous.” In that file, I put items that don’t fit into any other category of the folders I have in there. In the same way, all the things that don’t make any sense whatsoever to your finite mind, those events where you have no idea why things happened the way they did, need to go in THAT folder. And not only do you need to put them in the folder, but you also need to FORGET ABOUT THEM until you get to Glory. When you get to Glory, you can open the file, pull out all of those incidents and ask God face-to-face, “What were You thinking?”  Now, He may choose to explain Himself before you get to Heaven. However, if He doesn’t, and you want to maintain your sanity, you will drop those things you don’t understand into that “Miscellaneous” file in your mind, and trust God with abandon as you recognize the following things about your Heavenly Father:

  1. He knows what He’s doing, even if you don’t.
  2. He loves you and has your best interests at heart.
  3. He will reveal what you need to know in due time.

For example, the other day, I ran across a believer who was bitter because a family member had died after the person prayed and believed God for healing. In that individual’s mind, the death was so senseless.  There was anger at God Who was painted as an unfaithful liar. Although I could understand the pain and confusion that was clearly evident, what needed to be understood is that the Lord sees everything from beginning to end (Isaiah 46:10), and He knows everything. What we see in this natural realm with our senses is like looking through a peephole while God is sitting on His throne viewing the entire landscape of our life. He also knows what all the players are doing, thinking, and believing. My question is how can we indict God and lament that what He is doing makes no sense when we know practically NOTHING in the big scheme of things and He knows EVERYTHING?? You see, from God’s perspective, what you’re experiencing makes perfect sense because He has all the information and you don’t. As my pastor once told me, “Just because it doesn’t make sense to YOU, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.”

If you are struggling with trusting God today, I want to encourage you to remember Who He is. He’s God all by Himself, the One Who cannot lie. The One Who cannot fail. The One Who knows exactly what He’s doing and sees and knows all. Most importantly, He’s the One Who loved you so much that sent His Son to die for YOU.

Have you ever had an experience where you had to simply trust God when you did not understand what was going on? What were the circumstances? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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KEEP JESUS AT THE CENTER

Santa Claus

Peace and blessings to you! Today, I want to tell you about an incident that happened to me recently. I went to buy some stamps at a local grocery store. I handed the cashier the money and she handed me the stamps I had purchased. When I looked at the stamps, to my surprise, they had images of Santa Claus on them. This is October, and Santa Claus stamps are already being sold.  Halloween had not even arrived yet, and Christmas commercialism was already starting to rev up! I couldn’t believe it.

I guess after observing the expression on my face, the cashier asked me if I wanted regular stamps, and even though I felt uneasy, I said, “That’s  OK,” and proceeded to walk out of the store. I then sensed a growing unrest in my spirit and the Holy Spirit telling me to take the stamps back! I went back to the cashier and told her I would rather have regular stamps. She checked her drawer.  She checked another area. She went to the customer service office. They didn’t have any regular stamps!

I calmly told her, “Jesus is the real reason for the season. I don’t want to even promote this.” Then I walked out of the store with the stamps. If I wasn’t pressed for time, I would have asked for my money back. When I got to my car, I decided I would then take the stamps back at a later date to exchange them when the store got more in stock.

You see, I refuse to put Santa stamps on my letters, especially my Christmas cards because I feel that’s a blatant contradiction. I never send Christmas cards out that have Santa on them. My cards must reflect Jesus because He is what the season is really about. Therefore, for me to send out a Jesus card with a Santa stamp goes against my conscience. That’s just my train of thought. It’s not a rule. It’s not in the Bible, so you let the Holy Ghost lead you.

I know you are probably saying, “Why are you making such a big deal over Santa stamps?” Because I am looking at the big picture. My point is that I am so tired of the devil trying to take the focus off of Jesus and His birthday and put it on other things that have nothing to do with what the season is really about. I am currently writing a book entitled Keeping Christ in Christmas: Thought-Provoking Ideas for Making Jesus the Center of Your Child’s Christmas Holiday which expresses my sentiments about this topic. Therefore, I want to encourage you now, as we approach Advent, to KEEP JESUS AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL. During the Thanksgiving holiday, make Him the center. Let’s make Him the center on a daily basis right on up through December and beyond.

Saints, it’s so easy to get caught up in all of the hoopla of the season and forget the baby in the manger who grew up and died on a rugged cross for all of our sins. Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Let’s try our level best to keep the focus on our Lord and Savior so that we can celebrate Jesus’ as He deserves to be celebrated and have the merriest Christmas ever when December 25th finally arrives!

What are your thoughts about Christmas commercialism? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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LET THE LORD FIGHT YOUR BATTLES!

Boxing Pic

I pray you are walking in God’s unmerited favor like never before and seeing God’s blessings manifest in your life. Today I want to challenge you to trust God to be your defense.  Psalm 5:11 says, “Let all those who put their trust in you rejoice. Let them ever shout for joy because you defend them.” God is saying if you trust Him to defend you He will. The converse of that is if you don’t, He won’t.

Most of the time, when the enemy attacks us through people, our first knee-jerk response is to defend ourselves. We have to give that person a piece of our mind. Or we have to make sure they know they are wrong about us. We have to fire back with something! We can’t let them get away with it, right? If they hurt us, we’ve got to do unto others as they have done unto us! We rationalize in our mind, “God’s not going to do anything anyway. I’ve got to take matters into my own hands.” And if you are going to defend yourself, God will NOT defend you. Again He says all those who put their trust in Him can rejoice and shout for joy. If you wanna defend you, God will sit back and let you do it. God will fight for you, but He’ll only fight with you if He has given you instructions to do so.

You might ask how does God fight for me?  How will God defend me? I can’t even see Him! Here are some ways God wields His power on our behalf:

  1. He allows people to reap what they sow (Galatians 6:7). In Genesis 27 Jacob tricked Esau, but in Genesis 30-31 was tricked himself by Laban.
  2. The Holy Spirit convicts the person of sin (John 16:7-8). In 2 Samuel 12, David was confronted by Nathan the Prophet.
  3. He orchestrates and allows difficult circumstances in the life of your antagonist (Isaiah 49:25). In Exodus 7-12, He sent ten plagues upon the Egyptians.
  4. He exalts you right in front of their eyes (Psalm 23:5). In Esther 6, Mordecai was paraded through the streets by Haman, his enemy, as ordered by the king.
  5. He makes your enemy your footstool (Psalm 110:1). In Genesis 37 and 39-45, Joseph was in a position of power and his brothers ended up having to come to him for help.
  6. He divinely gives you words of wisdom that do not tear them down or damage the relationship but makes them think about what they are doing (Proverb 25:15). In I Samuel 24, David relayed to Saul how he refrained from killing him, and the king was convicted of his wrongdoing.
  7. He allows your enemy to be caught in the trap of their own making (Psalm 57:6). In Daniel 3:22, the soldiers who threw the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace got burned up themselves.

Granted, you may not always see God fight for you, but know that He will if you will trust Him. His Word will not return to Him void. So the next time the enemy shows out and you get the urge to defend yourself, abandon self-sufficiency and let God defend you. Recognize that “hurt people hurt people,” as the old saying goes. Know that who you are in Christ, your worth, value, and status, cannot be altered regardless of what they do or say. Instead of defending yourself, pray for the individual the enemy is working through, ask God for instructions, and purpose in your heart to let God be your defense.

Have you ever had an experience where you saw God fight for you? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help in spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth. Click here to find out ways you can help.

 

 

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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