Soften The Heart: Devotional #21

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

And uphold me with your generous Spirit.

Psalm 51:10-13

The Bible shares with us that each of us are salves in this world. We are either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. Either way, we are owned.

God granted us the choice in whom we will serve. We have been gifted a freedom to make mistakes, question authority, challenge ourselves, and find ourselves. In our freedom we begin to understand humility and love. We learn, grow, and teach (intentionally or unintentionally).

In choosing God, it is also mentioned that the path of Christ is not an untroubled one. Many tribulations will follow each us in our lives. However there is a degree of peace, patience, and assurance when strengthening your faith and choosing to be a slave of righteousness.

It’s a difficult web to be caught in. And we are all in it.

We need help each day to choose God over the traits of this world. Some days we have slips and will continue to have slips. But we must not shame ourselves, we must give ourselves grace and others daily. We must exhort ourselves, challenge others, and be brave to do what others may not be able to.

To seek God is to have the fog lifted in your life.

Fog can keep us stagnant because we are unaware or afraid. Since we can’t see beyond it, we decide to remain stationary because we only trust what we can see.

To have the courage and hope to seek something greater is to discover what’s beyond the fog. It’s to surrender to the unknown.

And it’s the discovery that there is indeed more than what meets the eye.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #20

“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.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #18

“I WILL bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

Psalm 34: 1-2

We are surrounded by creation. We marvel at nature and it’s intricate details but sometimes fail to acknowledge the creator of it all.

How we are all so connected and dependent on one another. Creating some type of mysterious puzzle. May our eyes begin to see.

To even be apart of this creation is miraculous. To be conscious of it all is worth praising. We must give gratitude daily. What a gift every moment is.

Acknowledge this plan, pray without ceasing, notice even the smallest of details, and there are many. Hope is alive.

As plants reach and point to the sun, life points to something bigger than ourselves. Thank God for our senses to allow us to fully engulf what God has made for us to enjoy!

Such a power, such a gift, that our God wants to share with us, because He loves us! As a parent loves their child, you are loved very much.

But yet, we forget how amazing the details are. We chase the world. Our attention goes towards greed and power, constantly looking to satisfy what we think we need. We crave control and have a difficult time surrendering to our creator. The flesh is strong, but the spirit is stronger. This I believe. We must never loose sight of the important things in life.

God can be found in all things. But we must eagerly seek. Stay curious like a child.

Thanks to our Lord, who has provided such a path to draw us to our Heavenly Father. Who has given each of us life. We shall praise, and acknowledge daily. Turn from our ways and follow his.

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 #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.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #10

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content”

Philippians 4:11

If we define the word worry, it reads; “give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” Think about that for just a moment. When we can’t control something, it causes us stress and anxiety. It leads us down the path of worrying where we end up in a field filled with fear.

How often do you worry? Many times I’m sure. About all sorts of things, right? We worry about the future, we worry about our children, we worry about bills being paid, we worry about our health, we worry about our family, we worry about many, many things.

We all worry. What you should know though is worrying is natural human survival instinct. Ultimately we worry to protect us from harm. Maybe you’re thinking, “how is worrying about my family protecting me? I’m worry about them.” Yes, that is true, however you worry to protect yourself from feeling pain. If something happens to someone in your family, you know you would suffer too. And who wants to suffer? Again, we worry to protect us. *Humans are pretty selfish, we think about ourselves a lot.*

Now worrying and living in fear is giving in to a very powerful force. Too many times we allow these emotions to completely control us and prevent us from truly living and feeling joy in our hearts. This also prevents our relationship with God from growing. Why? Because we aren’t trusting God. We aren’t trusting the creator of the entire universe. You’re not alone my friend, and you’re not on your own.

We have to lean in, we have to surrender, and we have to trust our Heavenly Father. He knows way more than we do. But, like a three year old, we are stubborn children. We want to do things on our own. Like children, we don’t want help. We don’t want to believe our Heavenly Father knows more than we do. Maybe we aren’t children, we kinda sound more like teenagers.

The spirit within us is like a muscle. As we strengthen our spirit muscle, it becomes stronger. The seed of love that God planted in all of us becomes stronger. God is love my friends. But we gotta water that seed! And we have to water others! As we continue to work on your relationship with God we become stronger than the flesh, we become stronger than those feelings and emotions that act like a wall preventing us from living in peace and harmony.

When we continue to seek God, the walls of fear and worry begin to crumble and dissolve like a soaked cookie in milk. We begin to feel peace within ourselves.

No matter what state we are in we aren’t worried or in fear because we know God loves us. We know no matter what, it’s going to be okay. We begin to understand God is in us, he surrounds us, he is reaching out and rescuing us.

But to be in that state, we have to reach our hand out. Gods hand is already present, we are the ones holding back. And once we grab ahold of the hand of God no matter what happens you’ll know in your heart God has got this. No matter what you know in the end Gods going to make everything right. God loves you. He loves you, He loves you, He loves you.

God bless