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 #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.

Don’t Spend Too Much Time Trying To Understand, It Will Only Rob You Of Your Peace

So many things happen in this given life. Good and bad.

It’s the hard, unimaginable things that really kick you in your stomach leaving you unable to catch your breath.

Difficult situations/incidents happen around you, to people you know, people you don’t know, and maybe to you. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be categorized as unimaginable.

Things happen where we just ask why? Why?! We have difficulty understanding.

But one thing I know for certain is that we are never alone. When life happens to you, it has also happened to someone else. Probably even a close friend of yours.

Things happen all the time, all around the world, that leave us confused, curious, wondering…..but if we spend too much time thinking about those things, dwelling in our thoughts, THEY WILL, they will imprison you and rob you of your peace. And could possibly steer you onto a very difficult path.

I know this to be true. And if you swim out too far, it can become impossible to swim back.

Time spent questioning will steal precious moments from you. It’s very challenging to focus on work, your children, your spouse, a project, etc, when your mind is elsewhere trying to wrap your brain around something that you can’t change and that you will more then likely never fully understand. At least not in this life.

When something leaves you questioning let this be an opportunity to reflect, to recognize what your true priorities are, and to be grateful no matter the circumstances. Light is always present.

Easier said than done, I do know. But we all have to diligently seek and give it time.

And also know, it’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling……..feel the emotions. Don’t push them away. Moments do need to be taken to acknowledge how you’re feeling and healthy ways to express them.

But then, you have to allow and challenge yourself to move forward in order to gain your peace back. And moving on does not mean forgetting what happen. It’s those hard moments in life that leave the darkest stains on our hearts.

It’s those hard moments in life that also produce the brightest flowers.

Choosing to accept and move forward is to surrender to what has been done and remain steadfast. Humans seek control, and when life reminds us that we have very little control it terrifies us.

Never loose hope. Pray all the time and never loose hope that one day we will receive all the answers that we seek.

When a child is young there is much they do not understand, especially with their parents. But when they are older a light comes on and everything makes sense.

In this life we are those children who don’t understand and I myself do pray that one day all of us will have our answers and peace and be completely reassured this whole time we truly were loved, even through those hard, difficult times.

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.

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.