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

Soften The Heart: Devotional #9

“I go to prepare a place for you.”

John: 14:2

How often do we scramble chaotically to present a clean and tidy home before someone arrives? Pretty often I would say, especially when we are hosting something like a birthday party. It’s a race against time. Can any of you relate?

Now, we don’t begin scrubbing or wiping everything down for ourselves, no, our mess or way of living doesn’t bother us that much. We clean with passion for our guests or friends or family! We do this because we care! We do this because we want to create a space of comfort, safety, well-being, and ultimately good vibes. We want our place to be a place where they enjoy coming to. We want to create a place where they don’t want to leave and anticipate coming back to again!

God has invited us to join him in a huge celebration and He is “preparing the party”. Are we going to accept the invitation? Of course we are! Jesus doesn’t need to prepare anything for anyone, but He prepares a place because He loves us. It’s all for us. He is ready to welcome each and every one of us. He knows this earthly life is troubling which is why this is so important that the place He prepares is ready for us.

We will walk through those doors and the weight of the world that we lived in will be lifted. We will instantly feel that comfort and safety in which we try ourselves to provide for our guests. Imagine that, how loved we are. It will most definitely be a place we never want to leave, and we will be reminded of all the love that was always there, just waiting for us to arrive.

God Bless.

Soften The Heart: Devotional #8

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

It is undeniable that humanity does evil things. We are most definitely witnesses to that. Evil lurks around like a fragrance that has yet to fade away.

Jesus though gave us some serious truth bombs. We know this from reading the scriptures. And the effects of these “truth bombs” are still lingering today. Rather than a bomb being filled with gas or smoke, Jesus planted bombs filled with love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

The fragments from these bombs are still piercing souls as we speak. The dust has not yet settled from what Jesus has done for us or taught us. Which is why we don’t understand everything fully yet. We’re all still in this giant cloud of smoke from this gift that God gave us because he loves us. Most people wouldn’t think of a bomb as a gift, however this bomb of love and truth from God is the greatest thing that could ever happen to us.

Here’s the thing though, Jesus came so that through him we may have peace. The key word is *may*. It is completely our choice to take this peace that God has offered to us.

Rather than being in the cloud of smoke afraid because we can’t see anything, and groaning because our ears are ringing from the noise, or hiding because we’re scared. We can be anxiously excited to see that all our fears have been conquered because of the truth bombs that were planted for us. If we keep our eyes open while the dust is settling we can actually witness the changes. We get to see evil transformed to love. How amazing!

Jesus says, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. What a comforting thing to know. Soon enough we all will get to rejoice in this beautiful new world. Praise God, Praise the Lord.

Love to you all

Soften The Heart: Devotional #7

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

And perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Romans 5: 3-4

This earthly life is full of inevitable hardships. Which is what a tribulation is; a hardship. However, as the scripture says, with hardships come lessons in determination, which gives us strength, which gives hope and encouragement to others and to yourself.

Some of you may already know this to be true and the pain is still lingering. You may be in a storm right now. But you also know what comes after a storm. A beautiful rainbow.

Sometimes in life you see great ordeals approaching, other times, those hardships will unexpectedly knock the air out of you the way a car spits out an airbag. Nobody wants to go through pain and suffering and nobody wants to see those especially close to them endure such things. They break our heart and crush our soul. But we are strong and courageous.

We have such things because we live in a world that is ill. However what we are being told to do when we encounter a hardship is to be still and rejoice. We are being told, don’t worry, something good will come out of this if you allow it. You have to seek the good. But think of those hard times for a moment, what did they teach you? What are you doing now and sharing with others to prevent anyone from suffering what you may have endured. Hard times happen to bring us closer together, not to separate us. Which is what God and truthfully all of us want. We want unity and peace.

So let’s hold hands and embrace these hard times together.