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.

A Word Of Encouragement Goes A Long Way

Encouragement is defined as, “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”

Encouraging another human being doesn’t cost a thing but it gives them more than anything. It can be life changing for some!

A small act of encouragement pushes people, gives them strength, reassures them, gives them something to hold onto and maybe even fight for…..especially during challenging and sorrowful times.

Even a smile is an act of encouragement.

Don’t fall into the common trap of belittling yourself and your capabilities. You are power.

You can save lives and you DO save lives. You may not know exactly how, but does that really matter? You influence others more than you know. That’s something to think about.

Who knows what doors you have opened for others.

Know in your heart you make a difference. Pass on the love, pass on the encouragement, pass on the hope. The world needs it.

The world needs you.

m.g.

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.

There Are Many Who Believe In You, You Just Don’t Believe In Yourself Yet

Awhile back now I was researching how some baby birds learn how to fly. The reason I was reading into the process to begin with was because an author of one of my devotional books tied the development of baby birds learning how to fly to personal growth.

I just absolutely loved it and it resonated in such a way. What a great metaphor that many can relate to! Such a different perspective to perceive.

Think of a baby bird for a moment will you, all cozy and comfy in their little nest. The nest is harmless, and it’s very familiar. It’s all the baby bird knows really. Mama feeds and provides for them there, and they feel safe.

Then one day, mama bird just starts throwing her babies out of the nest! What a far drop too! I’m not kidding either, she tosses them out and I imagine her saying, “todays the day!” I found this fascinating! I had no idea!

There comes a time where mama knows it’s time. If she’s not throwing them out she’s gently nudging her precious babies out of the nest. There’s no bargaining with the mama.

The baby bird I’m sure is TERRIFIED, like what is going on!! Is my mom trying to kill me! She must hate me! But the mama bird doesn’t feel that way at all. In fact, she does this because she LOVES her babies. She KNOWS that her baby needs to learn how to fly for survival. Because there will come a time when she knows she will longer be there for her baby and she needs to know that they will be okay.

She knows her babies to need to fly and her bird friends know it. The baby bird is the only one saying, “mama No, later later! I’ll learn later. I’m not ready!”

But guess what….

Push comes to shove and the baby bird FLYS. The baby bird finally believes in itself as the mother always has and chooses to opens its wings. The baby bird trusts in his mom that there’s a reason behind this.

Life is very much like this. It never waits for us to be ready. Because truth be told, we never will be. We are too cozy in our nests.

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If you have been thrown out of “the nest”’in someway….if you’ve been taken outside what you know and you’re scared and frightened this may actually be an unprepared flight lesson.

Who’s knows why this is happening, but there may something that you need to learn. The time is now. And this frightening experience will benefit you, as it does the baby birds. Questioning it will not do anything.

You will later realized that you HAD to be thrown out in order to learn how to fly.

Oh I hope this all makes sense. Ponder it a bit.

What I want you to know is that God believes in you, the universe believes in you, many others believe in you……. people believe in you and see your potential (they always have) , it’s time to believe in yourself and to not be afraid of the falls from the nest. You were born to fly, that’s what those wings are for.

Welcome the push and shoves with bravery and perseverance. It’s normal to be afraid but once you push through that fear who knows what you’ll see and capabilities you’ll discover.

Who knows where your wings will take you……

Beautiful places, that I’m sure. No need to be afraid. Trust, always.

-m.g.

Your Ideas Are Smart AND Needed

I read something awhile back that said,

“what kills dreams more than anything is this thought, ‘what will they think of me…’”.

Someone out there needs and is waiting for your idea, your perspective, your plan, your project , etc., you have to believe that! You are being relied on and you don’t even know it yet. The person out there may not even know it yet. But someone or someone’s is waiting for YOU.

You were born here. That’s miraculous in itself. Now show who you are.

Our voices are so powerful. Our ideas are powerful and can influence change in countless, possibly infinite ways!

The world is your oyster has more meaning with age and experience, but how true this statement is.

Whatever it is don’t give up. Welcome any pushback with open arms and use that to fuel your fire that lingers inside your soul.

Share your ideas with trusted individuals and hear their opinions but don’t take everything to heart. Sometimes the ideas in our heads are so tangled up, and be challenging to articulate to others.

Sometimes unweaving them is only something you can do and MUST do by yourself.

So be patient with yourself. Give yourself grace daily. You know your vision and you can’t let others or yourself hold you back.

What are you waiting for? I’m cheering for you. It doesn’t matter what they think. Seek your reason and the nothing else at all will matter.

m.g.

Give Yourself Permission To Be Still

We are busy humans living in a very fast paced world.

There’s always something we have to do, to prepare, to clean, to organize, some event to attend, etc.

I often thing of the song by Alabama,

I’m in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die, but
I’m in a hurry and don’t know why

We are so conditioned to be busy that if when we aren’t busy we are uncomfortable. We become bored or even anxious because we are so use to always being occupied with something.

We have to seek something to do to keep us busy and distracted. I believe many of us feel that if we aren’t doing something then we aren’t being productive. Society highly influences this.

The problem with that is if we are constantly go go go guess what happens?

We become burnt out my friends! Agitation becomes our shadow. And that’s not good for anyone who is near us. That’s not the kind of energy that we want causing ripple effects.

This quest to accomplish starts once we are born. It’s not enough to just be. We are already being judged on what we can do and can’t do. There are milestones for every month/year. We’re always being watched and compared. It makes sense why we are so concerned what others think about us.

If certain milestones are not hit, we panic and become overly concerned. I just want to say there’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer. Plenty of people in history by the way fall under that category and it should encourage you.

As you get older it just constantly feels like one thing after another. You think to yourself, when am I just going to get a break? And the truth I think is….we never really will until we just begin to take breaks. That’s life. That’s just how life is and the sooner you realize that, the better. Don’t forget about yourself.

YOU, have to make time and effort to sit still, to be still. To do nothing once in awhile and just breathe. There’s always going to be something. Some hurdle to overcome. And often times it takes something to make us stop in our tracks and just be still. And it shouldn’t be like that. We should be encouraged to notice the details in the present and not always driven to reach “new levels”.

Maybe you had a surgery, or you’re not feeling good and you’ve been told to have bed rest, maybe you broke your foot, etc…….you don’t need THIS or THESE types of things to happen in order to sit still, to soul search, to read a book, to enjoy the sunset, to try something new for yourself, to RELAX, to surrender. You can give yourself a moment to be still whenever you want. Truly, it’s your choice.

You’re multitasking, giving yourself all these things to do and the only thing you’re doing is stressing yourself out. And something I’ve realized is we are typically making ourselves stressed out for other people! Who really don’t care as much as we believe! Give yourself some grace and others.

Take a moment and be still for yourself. Give yourself permission.

Do it for YOU. Life is quick and feels more quick when you’re always busy. Slow it down and practice just being.

Not every thing needs to be done today, this week, this month. Notice the little details and seek the beauty that can’t be reached when you’re moving quickly.

Walk sometimes instead of always running. Less busy, more stillness and slow pace. When your driving a car you don’t whip the steering wheel to turn right or left. You gently turn the steering wheel with ease to change the direction of your vehicle. It’s okay to move slowly and be still. As long as you keep going.

You’re a miracle all by yourself. Remember that always.

m.g.

Learn To Be Happy With What You Have

It’s really easy to get stuck in the mentality cycle of “If I have this…..or if I can obtain this….then I know I’ll be happy. I’ll be good. My life will be better.”

This way of thinking is far from the truth. It’s like trying to catch the sunrise with your hands.

Most of us have been here and occasionally do still get lost in this way of thinking. That’s normal. We’re human. It happens. With social media it’s incredibly easy to become a victim of envy.

“If I lose weight then I’ll be more confident, if I have this and that in my home then it will feel more “homey”, if I could get this promotion then I’ll have more money to do things and I’ll be happy, if I had this OR if I DO THIS then…….(fill in the blank) .

Do any of these thoughts sounds familiar?

What I have learned over time is to be happy with what you have and enjoy it. If you look closely and I mean really look at the details of your life you’ll recognize that you may already have what you really do want. You may have what you’ve been asking for.

If you’re always gawking at things you don’t have you’ll end up neglecting what you do have. And by the time you notice, you’ll realize how much time you wasted followed by an immense amount of guilt.

If you continue to seek the next best thing constantly you will always want or feel like you need more to get to that next level of satisfaction. Even when you achieve something that you have wanted you will not feel fulfilled, you’ll begin to search for something else to fill that void.

It’s like when a person is searching everywhere for their reading glasses. They’ve searched their whole house, their car, their neighbors yard, the dog house, and they’ve searched all these areas numerous times. Only to discover their glasses have been on their head this WHOLE time. That’s kinda how happiness and peace is.

When you can become happy with what you have, everything else becomes icing and sprinkles on the cake. Happiness isn’t on the other side of achieving or gaining something, it’s where you are right now. It’s in you my loves.

Enjoy what you have, appreciate where you are, and be happy with what you have been given in this precious, fragile, life.

As your gratitude muscle grows you begin to grow. But like a muscle, you can’t just work on it once and be done. You have to maintain and continue to strengthen otherwise you’re back where you started.

And hey, if you end up back where you started that’s okay too. Just continue and keep going. Discover new methods of appreciation.

You have what you need. Learn to be happy with what you have, because you have so much. You truly, truly, do. Believe it.

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.

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.