Soften The Heart: Devotional #19

“For the Lord is a sun and shield;

The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!”

Psalm 84: 11-12

Do you ever think about what would happen if the sun were to just disappear, vanish, be gone!

Have you ever asked yourself what really does the sun provide to us? What’s it’s purpose and how do we, and life benefit from it?

Well, one thing for certain without the sun we wouldn’t even be able to exist and earth would completely freeze over if the sun were to disappear. Life would very well come to an end.

The sun is essential to life. Nature knows that but do we? How many of us take our sun for granted and rarely acknowledge it’s importance.

The sun is earths guardian and giver. The same way the Lord, God, is ours.

To trust in our Lord is to trust in God, and those who seek God know that he is essential. He is the provider and giver of our lives. He remains very present and so many of us take our God for granted and do not know of His importance.

May we continue to reach for God the way nature reaches for the sun.

An example of nature reaching for the sun is take a plant inside your home and you will notice that it will always lean and grow towards where the sun is shining. Even if you turn the plant, it will change direction and always follow the sun.

The next time you go outside with the sun shining bright take a moment of gratitude and be reminded that we have our own sun providing, protecting, and giving us life. To each and every one of us.

“For the Lord is a sun and shield”

Amen.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #19

“…for all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:14

Let’s define a few of these words so we can better understand this scripture and message.

The definition of the word humble is having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.

The definition of the word exalt is hold (someone or something) in very high regard; think or speak very highly of.

If you reread the scripture with those definitions you could say it says that whoever thinks very high of themselves will be brought to their knees and a person who lives a humble life will come out on top. Possibly a more fulfilling, peaceful life.

This scripture instructs us to not look down on others. We are instructed to remain humble at all times. And if we fail to do so God will definitely interrupt and remind us of our place. We will be reminded that we know very little to what we think we may know.

Erase the mentality that you are more deserving than another person. Truth be told, we don’t know what others do in secret. One person may share their charity work publicly while another chooses to remain anonymous.

Erase the thoughts of it will never happen to me or assuming you have more time than another. No one is more righteous than another. We are all sinners and we are all broken in search of repairing and rescuing.

Many walk this life living unconsciously. Unaware that the past still has control over their wheel. They are stuck in their conditioning and haven’t gained the courage or knowledge to break the cycle. We are in constant need of God’s grace to revive us.

We must be patient and again humble ourselves. Change can be extremely difficult for many. And we are not judge those. Some do not change their lifestyles because it’s what they know. They are comfortable, and they feel safe even when their environment is questionable to another. They don’t know any different.

When Jesus was on the cross, during his death, he remained humble. He didn’t say anything cruel nor did he exalt himself. He said, “forgive them Father, for they do not know.”

Recognize how fragile life truly is and offer compassion and offer it fully to everyone. There was a time when you didn’t know. Just as children don’t know many things. With time they begin to understand.

But God calls us at different times. And when we are called we are to be examples.

Pray to God to correct you when you are exalting yourself, pray to be humbled and pray to be humbled often.

May we live with love.

– m.g.

Allow God To Catch You When You Fall

When your child is just learning how to stand or learning how to walk you are either holding them, or standing very close by.

In case your child falls you want to be there to catch them, versus them falling down and hurting themselves.

Nobody wants to see their child hurt or in pain, so we stand very close.

In this walk of life, we are the child and God is our heavenly parent.

But like most children we are very stubborn. We believe we can do things on our own, better yet, WE WANT to do things on our own. Like we need to prove something.

The thing with this mentality is we end up falling many times in life and learn many things the hard way, and it hurts. It hurts really bad. And God is just there waiting, patiently, to help us when we are ready to ask for it.

It’s not that he hasn’t tried to help us, we have pushed Him away saying, “I can do it myself, I don’t need you.” So he watches us fall and thinks to himself, please let me help you.

He knows learning how to walk is challenging and He knows the walk of life can’t be done without the help of Him.

Actually, it’s not that it can’t be done, it can. God just doesn’t want it to be a hard walk of life. He gives us an opportunity to try on our own but he stands by waiting for the permission to help us.

He wants to catch us on those falls because he knows if we keep falling we will be become discouraged and won’t try anymore.

Nobody wants to crawl forever. We want to walk and RUN. When we allow God to catch us we will begin to take more risks, we will be confident, and we won’t be afraid.

When my children were small they would crawl to the edge of the bed only because they knew I would catch them. Imagine if they could talk at that age and say things like, “alright mom, stop, I want to crawl all over the bed myself without you hovering me.” But my children let me be there for them just in case. They felt safe. And they actually enjoyed me catching me.

If you don’t want to let God catch you when you fall that is ultimately your choice, however if you surrender and just let Him help you….your life will change in the most incredible way because you will know that you can do anything.

You can crawl to the edge of the bed with no fear, always.

If, you allow God to catch you when you fall.

m.g.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #17

“Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29

I love this scripture. I love this scripture because it’s very relevant today. We are very similar to Thomas or know those like him. We often question what is true or what could be true. We have friends who question the goodness of God. I know many personally. We starve for constant prove and answers until everything aligns to our liking. We need confirmation, and then we can believe. We humans are very curious, and often learn things the hard way.

But as many of us know, it’s reading between the lines. It’s seeking the bigger picture. It’s taking a step back and making connections. It’s getting to the root of the matter.

There are going to be moments where you may question your beliefs. And those moments usually arrive in distress and hard times. Your faith and what you believe to be true will be challenged one way or another.

We live in this type of world where we don’t really believe until we experience it ourselves. And that’s very unfortunate. But it’s true, and happens all the time.

God has a way of humbling us when we believe that we know better. LISTEN, to one another. And pay attention to words that another speaks. Take their word from it. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” To me this says, in trusting me, your road in this life will be smoother and you will be saved many sorrows.

Blessed is the child who doesn’t touch the stove when their mother says it’s hot. Did you touch the stove to test your mother and see if she was being truthful? Did you touch the stove and burn yourself because you wanted to know if it really was hot? Did you trust your mother and not touch the stove? Ponder this.

Jesus came to offer us freedom, peace, love, forgiveness. Our minds think too literal. These are free gifts that he has provided to us and we are encouraged to give freely to others. Trust in what you cannot see. Trust the Lord and be free. Trust the selflessness, the mercy, the grace, the forgiveness, the love, the peace. If we would all practice these, imagine what the world could be.

I believe in Gods love. I know it’s like the wind, and I cannot fully grasp it. But I can feel it, like the wind. Like the wind, I can see its power. And I do believe that each one of us is loved. This life is confusing and sad things happen. Einstein once said, “evil is the absence of God.” And I do believe that. Those who hurt others don’t know God. Which is why is it extremely important that we be an example to others. That we light others with our light. Love everyone. Love them all. We all make mistakes. We are more similar than different. GOD BLESS.

Softening The Heart: Devotional #16

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 20:23

Forgiveness is so powerful. It’s a weapon to conquer suffering. But it’s not easy to forgive, we know that. And it’s not usually something you do once. You go to battle with it many times, if not everyday.

Forgiving is to let resentment go, against others, against yourself. It’s to release yourself from the pain that you’ve been holding for so long. It’s time to let it go. Let it go.

Jesus gave us this gift of liberation. He took the weight from us. He knew how challenging this life would be. So he dedicated his life to saving people from themselves. He reminded us of Gods love.

How freeing and beautiful is it that God loves us no matter our flaws. No matter what, we are loved. And always have been. He continues to love and forgive us because that is how much God loves us.

We are human, we are flesh. We feel guilt for many things, we hold mistakes over peoples heads never letting them forget the pain they caused, we have a difficult time moving forward because we are still replaying scenarios we wish we could have changed. We beat ourselves up for our choices. And the choices of others.

Unfortunately, the truth is we can’t rewind time, we can’t undo what has been done, and we need to come to accept what is. And trust, trust that God will take our hurt and brokenness and turn it into something that would be impossible without his guiding hands. God will make it great, and He always does.

If God can forgive us and continue to love us despite our flaws, wrong doings, and mistakes then we must provide that same love and forgiveness to others and to the reflection in the mirror.

God does not want us to live a life full of heavy burdens and heavy weight. He wants to free us from ourselves, He wants us to love. And He has shown us the benefits of doing so.

Who do you need forgive? What do you need to let go of?

May God give you the strength to do so.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #15

For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.”

1 Corinthians 7:22

Everyone has a designated plan or purpose in this life. We are apart of this miraculous design, yet we do not know quite yet what we are creating. All we know is it’s something beautiful and something we can trust.

God works through each and every one of us everyday. Strengthening us, as well as , using us to strengthen others. In this time or maybe even decades to come. We are the project and the tool. Some are aware and some are oblivious to the way God is working for them. God is on our side though, always.

Sometimes we see humans do things that we don’t quite understand. Then we judge. Then we think they need God. But who’s to say they aren’t in the process of receiving God in their life? They have to go through the motions just like anyone else. One could say you were lost before you let God into your heart. If anything we should be giving those who are “in the process” or “lost” more love and compassion. Everyone’s path is a little different. Some smooth and some very rough. A person’s sacrifice and hardship are never in vain.

God will soften their heart, God will liberate those souls, but it takes time like anything else. Certain steps need to be taken the same way certain recipes have to be followed specifically. Have you ever cooked or baked something and forgot a necessary ingredient like salt, or baking soda? God doesn’t forget. He knows the steps that need to be taken for complete liberation.

We can’t see the whole picture. We can see maybe but a small corner. Not the front, back or side, but a tiny, tiny, corner.

This scripture reminds us that we belong to God in whatever state we are in. And those that know God (the slaves of Christ) are to help and encourage those who are in the process of receiving God and accepting His love. If we go back to the scripture it reads “The Lords Freedman”. If we define ‘freedman’ it means an ‘emancipated slave’. And if you define emancipated it means process of being set free. We must be patient the way God has been with us. Each one of us is loved, and God doesn’t love anyone less or more. Nobody is more righteous than another.

The truth is we live in a broken world with much pain and suffering. And Everyone is in need of mercy and grace and we must give it and give it often to one another. We must be that example that many need, we have been given our own power to help liberate others and point them in the right direction. We have been given a gift to encourage others to seek God themselves and find that comfort, peace, and love. And we know in our hearts they will find that mercy and grace that has been given from the very beginning.

God loves us all. He knows this is hard. He reminds us that we are not alone. We are bound together.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #14

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.”

Habakkuk: 3:19

When I first read this scripture, I thought to myself, what is so great about deers feet. Do I want deers feet? What does this even mean?

I did some research to discover that deers feet are made up of keratin, which is the same thing our nails are made up of. That gives you a slight idea of the strength of deers feet. Take a moment to examine your nails and feel for yourself. Imagine your feet made entirely of this hardness! Such strong feet you would have!

Mammals such as gazelles, sheep, hogs, cattle and goats also have “deer feet”, or others call, cloven hooves.

These special feet help them to climb the impossible. And it is only possible because of these special feet that they can achieve such great heights.

Upon my research I stumbled across a video of a mother goat and her child climbing this very high dam. They were climbing this incredible dam to get the salt at the top. A salt that is so desirable and needed for them to thrive and survive. Without that salt, they would wither and become weak. After that treacherous climb, can you imagine the taste of that salt? How rewarding for that mother goat and child.

This spoke to me. The salt is very much like God. How we desire God so much whether we know it or not. We need God to survive and thrive in this world, otherwise we are weak in spirit. To achieve the salt is to be liberated and rejuvenated. But it is only He, who can gift us “deer feet” to climb and conquer what many see as impossible.

With God the hills are possible to climb. The salt at the top is achievable. You have been given such a gift to climb, you just have to trust that gift. And that’s where we fail. We don’t trust what we have been given. The heights scare us. But it will be okay, because like the deer and their special feet, you have been given “deer feet” as well. The salt at the top awaits you.

May the Lord be your strength, and may your feet be like deers feet.

Amen.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #13

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

For the commandments, “you shall not commit adultery,” “you shall not murder,” “you shall not steal,” “you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Romans 13:8-10

We tend to make things far more complicated than they truly need to be. Sometimes the answers that we receive aren’t good enough for us. This scripture is simple, to love one another. Simple right?

But another person may read this and reply with, “but why, why must we love one another.” And then there we go again making something more complicated than it needs to be.

Would you agree?

Now here’s another example, my husband says I always add too much seasonings in food. He says, “salt and pepper, that’s good enough. Everyone wants to get all fancy with food, but if you have salt and pepper then that’s truly enough.”

Of course I really enjoy more spices, and seasonings than that. But he’s got a point, when it comes down to it, salt and pepper are good enough. Even just salt brings enough flavor!

Life doesn’t need to be complicated, and we shouldn’t be wondering what we need to be doing in this life. The answer again, is simple. The answer is love. With every thing that we do, we must pour love all over it. Soak it, drench it, submerge it in love.

God has woven love like a ribbon into each and every one of us. We want to love, we crave love, we need love. The best way to receive it, is to give it.

But sometimes we do put up walls and boulders to prevent that flow of love. Love doesn’t want to be restricted, it so badly wants to be released. But some truly don’t know how to release the love that is buried deep like oil in the ground. It needs someone to help discover it. To show that person, love has been with them this whole time. They just didn’t know.

We must be patient with those, and do as we are instructed. To love those as ourselves. How God has been incredibly patient with us, can’t we do the same for others.

If someone doesn’t know how to love, you must show them. Let your compassion, empathy, and kindness be exposed for all to see. Be that guiding light, and pass the flame, that they too may have light in their lives.

Allowing yourself to love or to love others can be difficult for some. Wounds that were once covered in sand and repressed are now exposed and have to be dealt with. But you don’t have to remove those boulders that block your flow of love by yourself. Help is always near. God wants us to work together to become closer to Him.

We often think love is a feeling, but love is more than that, it’s a choice. And we must choose love at all times.

I pray, that the love that flows in each and every one of you may be released. That you may follow love, and submit to it. God is love, we know this. Like a river, love may take you to unimaginable places. But you must surrender, and trust the almighty. Who knows what waits down the river of love. I pray that you seek the unknown and discover new beautiful things that would not have been discovered had you not trusted your Heavenly Father. I pray that you may have courage and not be afraid. For God is always with us. May each of you always feel His presence, even during those rough trenches. May you let love in, and be free.

Amen.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #12

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?”

For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it’s own things. Sufficient for the day is it’s own trouble.

Matthew 6:31-34

We are hardwired to worry. Which means it’s a feature that each and every one of us is born with. If we define the word worry it means to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. I’m sure this sounds very familiar to many.

Worrying isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what aid’s our survival. If you’ve seen the movie ‘The Croods’, (it’s a kids movie, its very cute) the dad is caught saying, “fear is what keeps us alive.” If we define fear, it reads, an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Worry and fear truly go hand in hand, and are emotions that each and every one of us feel and experience.

While worry and fear may help keep us alive, it is not Gods wish that we give these emotions complete control over our lives. Which many of us do without realizing it. And that is where we stumble. We give fear and worry much power, and there’s no denying that.

It’s a very difficult way to live. However we have been given Jesus to show us that there is a better way. That it is possible to release the power of fear that holds us. None of Gods creation can be enjoyed fully or embraced if our focus is on something else entirely.

God knows this world, and God knew that many of us would trust or choose fear of the world over Him. It is God we must fear, for He is the creator, the whole, the thing in which we truly want and seek.

How often does a parents heart ache when they see their child worrying about something where no worry is necessary. But the child doesn’t trust the parent, because they believe “we don’t know.” We don’t understand this emotion that they are feeling, that’s what the child thinks right?

But the parent does know. Which is why it’s so difficult for the parent, it’s more than difficult or can become frustrating. We are in this same scenario with God, our Heavenly Father. As difficult as it may be, and it is very difficult at times, we have to choose God over fear and worry in this world. We have to trust that He knows better, and he does! It has to be a deep conscious effort every day, and with God it is achievable. We must decide to choose God every day.

We have to strap on that armor everyday. To battle ourselves! But the greatest thing is God is on our side. And the more we continue to seek Him and know Him, the stronger our armor becomes. Fear and worry don’t stand a chance. Hope and courage are what we begin to rule.

What may help you focus on today instead of the worries that have yet happen is when I begin to worry or have fear I immediately begin to count my blessings. How can I moan and groan or even worry when I have been given so much. I shall rejoice everyday for Gods grace!

Turn it over to God, study and ponder his word, and pray about it. He knows what you need, but we also must be patient.

God Bless

Soften The Heart: Devotional #11

“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

Proverbs: 27:17

I had a really great, thought provoking conversation with a friend of mine that I have only known now for a few months. Our daughters are in class together and we met at one of their classmates birthday parties. Neither one of us knowing a beautiful friendship was about to be born. How grateful we must be for the small moments that lead to something priceless, like an amazing friendship.

We had a conversation on the phone not too long ago, and we had a deep conversation as we normally do. Unfortunately it came to an end due to my children needing my attention, but once we got off the phone I was provoked to find a scripture related to friendship because I felt so grateful to have a friend who I can share my inner thoughts with. We each challenge each other with what we believe in, in a very respectful way.

No offensive is taken, only respect and listening to each other sharing why we feel, believe, or think the way that we do. I believe we humble each other in our discussions and help one another to see more beyond the horizon. We sharpen each other.

How important, and what a gift, friendships are. A friend that is pushing, challenging you, and encouraging you, is going to improve you. Sharpen means improve or cause to improve. Improve means make or become better. Countenance means to admit what is acceptable or possible.

In relation to the scripture above, we strengthen each other’s tolerance and endurance to the sufferings that are experienced in this world. We alleviate burdens and give the gift of perseverance to one another.

To live is to experience suffering, we know this is true, and this scripture tells us how you and I can give strength to one another and endure what to some would be unbearable. This scripture reminds us that we are not alone in our sufferings and how important relationships are with one another.

We are here to uplift one another not to bring down. We must sharpen each other to the best of our capabilities. Because everyone at one time or another will seek or is seeking right now alleviation in what they do not know. We must share our light. We only shine because of those that taught us.

Reach out to your best friends today and remind them how much you cherish their friendship. Explain to them why you choose to have them in your life. Give them love and gratitude. How special to have such friends who develop us and push us to grow.

Love to you all.