My Pursuit of Forgiveness {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan.

In Colossians 3, we are reminded of the glorious hope found in Jesus Christ. We are made spiritually alive, through our Risen Savior. There is excitement in our new life, but we can become hesitant on topics like “forgiving others”. We are kind of like the Israelites in that sense, learning we can’t take our old life habits with us.

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others (vv. 13, TLB).

Why We Forgive

This isn’t something we can dance around. Forgiving others is an important struggle to endure, especially as we look to Christ who is our Source of hope. God has forgiven us of so much. He has gone through unimaginable pain to fix the relationship we have with Him. This is such a gift, friends.

We are given the opportunity to experience God’s power as we trust and obey Him in forgiving others.

While the world teaches us to hold a grudge, God has a very different take on forgiveness. We are commanded to forgive others, even when they have badly hurt us. God’s way is much different than how we likely used to think. God urges us to forgive and even tells us that “our heavenly Father won’t forgive us, if we don’t forgive others.”

The forgiveness we have received through Christ, should prompt us to forgive others. How can we experience the tender mercy of God, but not share it with others? A changed heart is what happens, as we experience the Gospel.

Friends: Keep fighting to honor God in your relationships. As we obey God by forgiving those who hurt us, we are choosing to put our faith in Jesus Christ before our pride (or emotions). In the Bible, God teaches us how to handle difficult relationships – which brings many blessings with it.

My Story

As I look back at relational conflicts, I am reminded of the heartache and pressing need to obey God by choosing forgiveness.

If we want God’s blessing and protection over our relationships, we have to be willing to obey His Word.

Partnership with God is what made the difference in my life. Things can get so messed up, but God is the One who restores as we continue following Jesus in the hard things. Forgiving others isn’t something I can do, but is made possible with Jesus Christ. He is the One who forgives and shows us how to really love others – with His strength.

God has responded to me in forgiveness – at the moment when I needed it the most. God’s grace isn’t based on our actions, but the heart of God that lovingly pursues us no matter how far we run. This is why we can forgive, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

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Psalm 19 {Summer ’17}

In the Bible, we are given specific instructions on how to have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus and taught how to live well. God has much He wants to teach us.

Those who have chosen to follow His Son Jesus Christ, have been declared children of God. We have been saved by the grace of God! His love leads us to be adopted into His family. This sets the stage for understanding and following the Father’s instructions.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them (Psalm 19:8-11, NLT).

In Psalm 19, we are reminded about God’s law. God has specific instructions for our lives. If we want things to go well, we need to be deliberate in hearing the Word of God {the Bible} and put it into practice.

Many times, we don’t apply what God is teaching us. What we need most is to savor His Words and simply obey. We need to seek His will, not our own.

Learning to Abide

God’s Word is so important for us, as Christians. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to make sure that we stay plugged into Jesus. In 1 John 3 and John 15, this is specifically called “abiding”. We need to abide in Christ.

In its original language, this means “to remain”. We need to remain with Jesus the Christ, my friends.

Loving God and His Instructions

We need to learn what it means to love God and the instructions He has faithfully given to us – through the Bible.

God has lavished His love upon us, and continues to passionately pursue us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to show us what is right. God wants to help us to avoid the pitfalls of the human life.

As we obey God, through His instructions, He continues to show Himself to us. Not only does He show Himself to us, He protects us from the traps we don’t see.

This is why God’s Word is so important, for God wants to help us to not become hurt. He doesn’t want to see us miss out on what He is ready to give us. If only, we would listen to what our great God has told us and put it into practice.

In Christ,

Signature

The Change Within {{Week 3}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:8 and Psalm 24:3-4, 6

God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 – NLT).

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
    And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not lift up his soul to what is false
    and does not swear deceitfully.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek the face of the God of Jacob (Psalm 24:3-4, 6 – ESV).

Devotion

There is no doubt or hesitation. Those who position themselves to be purified in their deeds and heart by the blood of Jesus Christ, are the ones who will see and experience God.

Often times, we just worry about behavior motivation. In today’s world, that seems like what we pursue often times. I actually took a class on it, when I was younger. It becomes about finding “reinforcements” that cause us to change the way we do things. When we do this, we completely miss solving our heart problem.

Genuine purity points us to worship, which means we will see and experience God. (Click-to-Tweet)

Jesus cuts to the chase right here – True purity points us to worship, which means we will see and experience God. We can’t settle for the counterfeit things. He knows the difference. If we don’t put our hearts in our relationship with Jesus, He will notice. Not only does He notice, it actually holds us back. It locks us to a chain, preventing us from going further. Purity must begin in our hearts, for that’s God looks at.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7 – ESV).”

While we may think “if I just do the right things,” we get messed up in our focus. While man looks at doing the right things, God looks at having the right kind of heart. Let’s just seek Him, giving Him our hearts today – friends!

God looks at having the right kind of heart, that leads us to Him! (Click-to-Tweet)

Scripture shares something with us – In order to see and experience God, we need to worry about our heart. What do we have going on in our spirit? To meet with God, we need to be far more concerned about he internal – for it matters more than the outward appearance and good deeds.

Lord, I want to see You. Help me to concern myself with my inward appearance. There is no fooling You. I need to allow the transformation to start with my thought life. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Matthew 5:1-10: Children of God

There is so much hope found in the Beatitudes! God’s works are on display here. This is what God can (and wants) to do in our lives! Will we take these words to heart, and give God control over our lives to get to work?!? He wants to help us in every area of our lives. No area is too hard or messy for our great God to handle!

Jesus spoke, they listened and took His words to heart:

The spiritually bankrupt – get to join His Kingdom!

The mourners and broken – are comforted and healed!

The gentle in spirit impact the world in ways none could ever fathom!

The spiritually hungry are filled to an immeasurable capacity and lack nothing!

Those who show grace – get to experience God’s Awesome grace!

The pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted

… will see God like never before, experience Him like never before, are called God’s beloved children, and granted access to all that is our Father’s.

Who can become a child of God?

Anyone who chooses to place their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savor. We all stand in need. There is not one of us that does not stand in desperate need for Jesus Christ as their Savior. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We all are sinners and in need of God’s divine grace. We need to first admit to God that we have sinned. Secondly, we need to choose to believe the truth about Jesus. We need to put our trust in Jesus, choosing to follow Him. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and rose Him on the third day. It is in Christ we have new life, and so many indescribable blessings!

The benefits of being a child of God:

As His adopted children, we get to experience the full benefits of being a child of God. We are heir. We have an inheritance. And, we don’t have to wait until we die and join our Father in Heaven to experience or see our inheritance. We can experience it all right here, right now!

The Priority of My Prayer Life

Today, I have been thinking about my own intimacy with my Creator. It dawned on me how the many needs of this world can affect the quality of my prayer life. The intimacy I can experience, is not as strong as it could be. The many needs in our world, can take priority over my need to be with my Lord. It can be fairly easy for me to make those needs my prayer focus – instead of focusing on my Creator. And, I think I have approached my time in prayer all wrong. Where has my priority for intimacy with Christ, hearing from the Holy Spirit, and learning my Father’s ways? My intimacy can get lost in the midst of knowing there are many needs. I realize there are many self-focused words in this post, but this aspect is taking care of my walk with God. Placing my spiritual needs at a higher priority. My need for Christ is greater. In order to bring others to Him, I must first bring myself. I must search for the intimacy I crave. Meaning: My way of approaching prayer must change.

But, what if:

  • I allowed my spirit to chill out, and just enjoy His Presence?
  • I trusted God’s Word when it says the Holy Spirit intercedes for me too?
  • we slowed down long enough to not only grow in our intimacy with our Creator, but to learn just how big God is.
  • we took another route to our prayer lives?

Praying for others is a good thing, don’t get me wrong? I just don’t want to lose my intimacy with Christ in the midst of it – by focusing on the wrong things.

Instead of quantity prayer requests, I should be focusing on my intimacy with my Creator and the quality of my prayer time. My focus needs to be on developing a Spirit – led prayer life, where the focus is not on mental prayers of the many needs that we want God to meet.

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

As we experience Him, we can grow in our relationship with Him – no longer cold and distant, but hearing Him clearly and closer than ever. As we keep Him the Main Thing, we will grow in our faith and connect with God. Our prayer life needs to be about more than throwing needs God’s way. We need our prayer life to be life-transforming.