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The Grace of Aging

Has there ever been a time when you walked past a mirror and did a double take? Has there ever been a time when you got on the scale and just shook your head? Has there ever been a time when you had the perfect outfit picked out in your head, put it on and it does not fit!?

Yes, I have looked in the mirror notice my face has wrinkles, my hair is thinning and weight that clings like saran wrap and judge these as undesirable. But then I ask myself who and what am I comparing myself to? And why am I comparing?

All of us at some point will have the “has there ever been a time when” moment. Those moments use to freak me out to the point I was stressed out! But one day in that moment I was convicted. No matter how much I was stressing out about aging, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Because aging is part of God’s perfect design. So, I threw out my preconceived notions about the negative aspects of aging as well as no longer wrecking my brain with trying to research “age defying” products and adopted a new perspective. Once I changed my perspective the stress left.

As my relationship with my own body deepened, I learned to enjoy the different experiences that come along with aging, stopped reminiscence about being younger, and truly enjoy my current age. I feel much calmer and confident within myself now. I worry less about what the fashion is {while still being cute..lol} and more about feeling comfortable and happy with what I am doing and who I am in God’s image. I also loooove seeing how other women find their way of expressing themselves during this season.

Although I have learned to enjoy aging and appreciate the grace extended. I must be honest. A normal aging body seems to have become the aberration, and the perfected, sculpted and forever youthful appearance has become the norm — or at least the sought-after norm. Please don’t mistake my honesty for saying women should let themselves go. What I’m saying is society oftentimes portrays flawless images of women who reveal their “tricks for staying young” thus sometimes causing us subliminally to not like what we see. Every woman age differently! What works for one may not work for you!!! So be careful not to allow what you think is another woman’s flawlessness to overshadow and down play your flawlessness. Because we are all flawed yet flawless in God the Creators eyes.
 
Learning to fully understand and embrace that attitude is everything in aging gracefully affords us the chance to be who God created us to be in that season of life. Aging gives us a chance to fulfill long awaited goals and dreams, focus on what is in front of us and not what is in the rear-view mirror. We don’t have to become marginalized or reduced to sitting down. It’s a perfect time to become role models showing younger women what it’s like to age gracefully without the pressure of having to be flawless.

 Embrace the wisdom as an older woman. Let’s celebrate older women and encourage younger women, for what they have weathered in life. I want to see older women, free to show up as themselves with wrinkles, fat or not, graying hair or not, and everything else that comes.

The more focused you become on enriching the lives of others, the more sense of purpose you’ll have. The more you begin to explore new interests, the more engaged with life you’ll become. The more you begin to tackle long-postponed projects, the more empowered you’ll feel. All these things put into practice will result in a heightened enthusiasm for life. The more energized and optimistic you feel, the more you’ll be moved to express your gratitude to God. Thank Him for this wonderful life you’ve been given. An attitude of gratitude, more than anything else, will help determine whether you grow old gracefully — or just grow old.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Be thankful for God’s grace in aging. Embrace your flaws as if they are flawless!

Job 12:12--Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

Proverbs 16:31--Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

2 Corinthians 4:16--So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Titus 2:3-5-- Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
 

Crave

When you crave, you’re Continually Reaching After Various Enticements until the eager desire is met.

Have you ever searched and searched to satisfy a crave? No matter what you try to substitute the crave with, the other option just doesn’t hit the spot. Have you ever thought about the intentionality we put into going out of our way to seek to satisfy that crave? We don’t even put a lot of thought into the distance traveled or money spent to acquire what we need to satisfy the crave.

As you’re reading this blog there is probably something that’s enticing you to satisfy a crave right now. Don’t be embarrassed, we all get them. Sometimes to a fault of indulging in craves that are not good for us…but I’ll move on. When this crave happens our minds run through several scenarios as to how to obtain that crave. However, there are also times when we try to ignore the crave.  So, what happens when you ignore a crave? More than not the crave doesn’t go away, it lingers as if there’s a small voice whispering in your ear that continually entices you to reach after it until it’s conquered. The funny and truth is we are not settled nor satisfied until we feed that crave.

We all get cravings of different kinds. But when spiritual craves hit, do we entertain it with the same magnitude as we do natural craves? When the crave hits to study or pray does a light bulb go off in your head that leads to a desire to ignite a continual effort to feed that enticement or is the desire ignored? Do you stop what you’re doing with an eager desire to intentionally reach after and feed the crave with no thought as to how far you’re willing to go {not just in distance, but intime} or the how much it will cost {cost doesn’t always mean monetary}? Are you willing to elude time when you are indulging in the joy of feeding your spiritual crave?

These questions aren’t being asked to make you feel bad about having a crave or the distance traveled to obtain the crave, because I have them as well and have driven a distance to satisfy my crave. The questions are asked to intrigue your thoughts about natural and spiritual craves and the effort you put into each of them.  Thus, I never want to put a great amount of exertion into satisfying a natural crave and not the same amount if not more time into satisfying my spiritual crave.

What crave entices you the most?
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Do you long for and have an eager desire that craves to feed your Spirit?

Psalms 42:1-2--As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

Psalms 63:1--O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalms 119:81--My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.

Isaiah 26:9--My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.

2 Peter 2:2--Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
 

Keys

 
Life comes with challenges, some unapologetically difficult to navigate. There are seasons in our life where we feel as if we’re barely hanging on. This season can encompass discouragement, failure, fear, unfulfilled dreams and many disappointments that cause faith to waiver and doubt in trusting God’s promises. The harder the season and the longer it lingers makes it difficult to stand causing hope to be lost.

When these seasons occur, our mind can become confused. We believe we will make it, yet the circumstance of the season says I don’t see how.

So, how does one manage to navigate through the difficulties of any season? Is it possible to be rooted and grounded in the turmoil of a stormy season? In order to adapt to weather in any season keys are needed.

Keys grant access to understanding something that is beyond our reach by leading us to the source of knowledge. The following five keys are essential for any season:

The First Key: “blessed is the one who TRUSTS IN the Lord.”
Learn and be willing to trust that the Lord is who He says He is and that He will do what He promised He would do.

The Second Key: “whose confidence IS the Lord”
Your confidence must rest in knowing that God is bigger than anything you will ever face thus He has our best interest at heart.

The Third Key: “be like a tree PLANTED by the water.”
Tress are firmly planted thus equipping them to withstand the worst of storms. We too, must be firmly planted and rooted in God’s word so that it might empower us to stand when the storms come.

The Fourth Key: “does not FEAR”
Knowing who we are in Christ, and accepting that truth will help eliminate any fear that arises in our lives. Once you embrace the fact that you are a chosen daughter of the King, fear must leave.

The Fifth Key: “does not WORRY.”
This key hinges on all of the other keys. When your trust and confidence are in the Lord, you are planted in His word and intentionally living a fearless life, there is no need to WORRY and therefore you can stand firmly.

Remember, you are God’s girl and He has given you everything needed for life and godliness. His promises to you are from everlasting to everlasting, written throughout His word. From Genesis to Revelations He has given you the keys to be victorious and face any season. Thus, you are equipped and empowered to stand {withstand} any storm!
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Is it time to remake your keys?

Jeremiah 17:7-8--Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Proverbs 14:26--In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
 

The Rising of the Sun

As I open my eyes every morning and see the early morning sunrise peeping through the blinds in my bedroom, I think about the magnificent God I serve. Sometimes I’ll go to my kitchen window and gaze out at the sun realizing my naked eyes can’t take the power of the sunrise Yet, I can’t seem to look away.

The power of the brightness of the sun brings to mind the power our God has and the power that we have at our disposal. If only I would consistently tap into that power.

The sun rises each day. But I often take for granted the rising is orchestrated by God. Being honest I sometimes also take His power for granted in my daily realities of life. There are times when I spend more time trying to figure and work things out in my own power and not fully relying on the ultimate power source of God. Thus, my actions don’t match what I say I believe.

Have you ever taken a moment to truly realize God’s magnificence in the rising of the sun? One day I did just that! Oh, what a joy that engulfed me. In that moment I gained a deeper understanding of His power and glory in my daily life. Oftentimes we only acknowledge when God’s magnificence manifest after a storm in our life. Yet we tend to forget to recognize and acknowledge His magnificent power and glory are present every day of our lives.

Regardless of what the day looks like, the sun ALWAYS rises! It’s brilliance and magnificence are ever present, even on the drabbest and overcast days. Just like God’s brilliance and magnificence shines even when you can’t see it.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: The sunrise is a constant reminder that the naked eye cannot handle its power and is a reminder to be intentional in grabbing hold of God’s daily glory and power.
 
Lamentations 3:22-23--22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 46:1--God is our refuge and strength, a very present[b] help in trouble.
 

Positively Pressed

Positively Pressed
 
I’m pressed!!! Usually when we hear these words it brings to mind someone being forced or stretching themselves beyond their limit to get something done, or trying to beat the clock. When in this state stress can be the companion of press.

What does your press look like? Is it comprised of the overwhelming stressful thoughts of OMG I need to hurry, not one more thing on my schedule!!??

Life is happening right before our eyes. We have things to do, places to go, families to tend to and careers to build. With all those things to do we often neglect or barely squeeze in time to nurture our spiritual life. If you’re like me the initial thought of press comes with a sigh and a statement something like this…..let me go ahead and do_____________.

There are times in my life when I am pressed. When pressed, I become very stressful and my body reacts in a negative way. I was complaining one day {to myself}. After some time, I became convicted because the Bible tells me not to complain but in everything give thanks. Yet I was grappling with things {I felt} that were pressing. I asked God to show me how to turn my view of press from negative to positive. Immediately the woman with the issue of blood came to mind. I began to think about how she forced and stretched herself beyond her limits, her tenacity in trying to beat the clock in that she was determined to touch the hem of Jesus garment before He left the Galilee region to speak to another crowd. As an outcast and socially isolated, not to mention she interrupted Jesus on His way to heal the mortally ill daughter of Jairus. I’m sure she endured some stress her in her press. But because Jesus was the focal point, she didn’t allow stress to engulf her nor did she complain.

The woman with the issue of blood equipped me {in so many ways}to change my perception of press. Although situations and circumstance causing the press may be negative my attitude toward it doesn’t have to cause stress especially once I learned to have faith to come to Jesus for direction and resolution.

 The woman with the issue of blood felt crushed, was under pressure, pressed and oftentimes felt as if she was in a dark place. But did she recognize being crushed, under pressure, pressed and in a dark place put her in a powerful place? A powerful place for transformation, healing and redemption to happen.

Our press may not be as serious or long as the woman with the issue of blood. However, the press can sometimes be the pressure we need to realize God is squeezing us beyond our limits that reduce us to the point where we have no other choice but to call and reach out to Him.

PEARLStoPONDER: Some of the finer things in life are pressed to produce the most beautiful outcome. How are you viewing your press?

Luke 8:43-48-- 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
 

Growth Is Intentional

Growth Is Intentional
 
When you’re unhappy on the inside you usually take your frustrations out on those close to you. How many days, months, and or years have you spent feeling bitter, being angry with or feeling sorry for yourself?

Have you or are you allowing others to stop you from growing? Are you in a place in your life where you say “I need to stop being angry with and feeling sorry for myself and I know I need to grow in this area?” Yet you find yourself continually doing and thinking that “same” thing in the area you say you need to grow.

I thought back to a situation that made me bitter. I know being bitter is no good for me because it stunts my growth and is contrary to God’s Word. The funny part is, I know what it takes to overcome bitterness. But I’m human and it took me a while to shake this, because at that time I wanted to shake someone. {Just being transparent}.

I found myself asking myself why am I allowing bitterness to make a home thus causing my growth to be stunted in that area? Why is it so easy to grow in some areas, so difficult in other areas and why can’t I just pull the trigger on making  this change?{at the time I was experiencing this bitterness I had no idea God would use my test to be a testimony to help someone else….lol}.

During one of my frustrating moments in prayer I asked God to show me where the hinderance is. As God often does, He gives me my answer in an analogy. God’s answer to me: “you must be intentional in feeding what you want to grow otherwise if you don’t feed it expect stunting, or worse deterioration. In order to grow past bitterness, you must feed it.” What???!!! Feed the bitterness? Was my reply. “Yes, be intentional in feeding it with the nutrients that are beneficial.”  I can see the perplexed look on your face..lol. I was perplexed too. After that prayer I didn’t’ receive any more explanations. For weeks all I heard was growth is intentional. Then the light bulb went on. Ahhh… I can either feed the negativity of bitterness or I can feed the positivity of bitterness with the thought process of love, revised expectations, patience and mercy.

I thought about the food I put in my body and the intentionality used to ingest the best nutrients. The best nutrients will yield positive effects that will lead to correct growth verses unhealthy nutrients that will yield negative effects and the possibility of stagnation and deterioration.

This analogy took away the excuse or belief of saying I can’t grow and equipped me the with knowledge that the only thing stopping your growth is the lack of intentionality.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: What are you feeding yourself?

2 Peter 3:18-- But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 Peter 1:5-8--And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

I Just Cannot!

I Just Cannot!

No matter how much I want to I just cannot take on the burden of someone else’s battle! I can be a support, but the battle belongs to them.

If the battle is intended to bring them to or make them closer to God my help or 2 cents will not change the battle or the duration of the battle.

As women we all want our children to thrive in life. And oftentimes it’s very difficult to see them go through any type of discomfort or engrossed in any type of battle. But have we forgotten the discomfort and battles we experienced, endured and overcome is what has equipped us with the strength and knowledge we have today?

If you’re like me we want to jump in and rescue our children. So, one day I had to asked myself. Is their battle really that devastating or is it my perception of the battle? HMMMMM???

One of my prayers for my children was and is for God’s protection, allow them to have a right relationship with Jesus Christ and whatever they do or go through let God get the glory. Yet, when God began the process of using my children for His glory I began to complain. In prayer I was convicted of asking God “why do my children have to go through……?” I had a dialog that went something like this…God why are you rebuking me for asking why? His response (days later), did you not ask me whatever your children do or go through let me get the glory? Ouch!!!

At that moment it clicked and I audibly told myself “I just cannot!” I must trust God’s plan and understand God needs to mold them. The molding process is not pretty or clean and involves some discomfort but the end result is God’s masterpiece. However, in my human {motherly}mind I was still grappling with how, if or what can/should I do to help my children during their battle. In the midst of one of my grappling sessions, the following story came to mind.

There was a woman who had a child. Her child was born for a specific purpose for God’s glory. This woman had to hear her child being ridiculed, she had to watch them being belittled and physically harmed. Yet, she not one-time questioned God for the pain her child was experiencing. I’m sure internally this woman was enduring turmoil that was unexplainable. However, she realized she just could not take on the burden of her child’s battle. I’m quite sure there were days where she wanted to interject verbally and physically to protect her child. But she understood she just could not because no matter what she would have said or done was not going to change the battle her child had to endure. The best thing the woman did was to take her feelings and concerns to God about how she felt and how she should cope with her child’s battle.

The woman I’m speaking of is Mary and her son is Jesus. When I think about the strength she had in knowing not only her sons’ purpose, but the things he had to do to fulfill that purpose gives me great comfort in those times when my children had battles that I felt were too much for them. {To be honest the battle was too much for me}. Don’t get me wrong I am in no way comparing any battle to that of Jesus Christ. What I want to point out as a woman are three characteristics of Mary that I gleamed hope and strength from that allowed me to say I just cannot! Because I {learned to} understand my children’s battle is bigger than me.  
 
 
1. Mary’s meekness gave her strength and control.
Luke 1:38--  Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”
 
2. Mary’s belief in the Word of The Lord was shown in her acknowledgement through her reverent adorations and praise.
Luke 1:46-47-- 46 Mary said,“My soul praises the Lord’s greatness!47 My spirit finds its joy in God, my Savior.
 
3. Mary was real. Mary was not divine but just as real as any other mother who experience joy accompanied with moments of sorrow and despair.
Luke 2:48-- When his parents saw him, they were shocked. His mother asked him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been worried sick looking for you!
 
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Don’t make someone else’s battle your burden. God does not need your help!
 

Hurting Should Not Equate to Hurting

Hurting Should Not Equate to Hurting

Raise your hand if someone has hurt you. That looks like all of us. Now, what do you do with the hurt done to you? Are you a wounded woman who wounds?

You often hear the expression, “hurting people hurt.” But should that be the case? I get it we live in a world where hurts happen intentionally and unintentionally. Some with malicious intent and others due to ignorance. Oftentimes those deep seeded hurts are caused by those closest to us. Regardless of where or whom the hurts stems. Is your initial response vehemently lashing out or do you hold on so tight to the hurt with clenched fist and teeth? {The clinched teeth fist and teeth was me, so much so to the point where I would be physically ill}.  Which response is best? And which response is better for our mental, physical and spiritual health? The answer is subjective to the person on the receiving end of the hurt.

I don’t want you to think for a moment that I’m writing this blog because I’ve never been hurt or have never caused hurt. Nor am I advocating remaining in any toxic relationship. I’m writing out of reflection. Not so much reflection on the past (and its’ hurts), but more so reflecting on the future as to how I desire to handle hurt now and going forth.

I understand some hurts are attached to trauma and we must use wisdom as to how we interact with that person. For some they think the best way to deal with hurt is to hurt others. But how beneficial is it to you and are you willing to continue that same detrimental habitual pattern of hurt and how you deal with hurt? Are you willing to self-reflect and learn new habits as the giver or receiver when it comes to hurt and hurting?

The first step in your journey of renewing your mind concerning hurt and hurting is to revisit your expectations of how you deal with others and what you will accept from others. The following six questions is a starting point to help you analyze your current expectations and a thought process to renew your expectations. View each question in the state of how you dealt with hurt/hurting in the past and how you want to deal with hurt/hurting with a renewed mind.

1. What does it mean to “love your enemies” according to Matthew 5:38-45?
2. According to the Bible what is love?
3. Why is it impossible to love our enemies in our own strengthen? So, how can/should we love them?
4. What is “tough love?” When is tough love necessary in conflict or toxic relationships? Have you ever experience having to love someone this way? Was this beneficial to you?
5. Distinguish between simple, foolish, and evil women. How have you dealt with each type of women? Which ones were the easiest/difficult to love? Why?

After taking some time to ponder over and answering these questions do another self-reflection. Ask yourself in what areas have you grown and what areas you need to work on to not become a woman who wounds.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: Self-reflection is the best reflection that leads to emotional, physical and spiritual healing.

Colossians 3:12-16--12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
 

Nestled

Nestled

I often look out my window or make intentional observations of trees specifically looking for birds’ nest. I’m not bird watching, but I’m in awe of the meticulous and intricate details of each birds’ nest I see. My aweness doesn’t stop there.  I become more amazed when I see a birds’ nest resting on a seemingly thin branch withstand strong winds, torrential rains and heavy snowfall.

When a bird builds a nest, they take small pieces of grass twigs and mud to create a safe place to lay, incubate and rear their young. This safe place is used by the bird to nestle themselves to get rest and obtain strength to carry out their ecological God given purpose.

When I watch the intentionality and tenacity of a bird making a nest, I’m intrigued at how they navigate around and through distractions encountered. In spite of the distractions the bird finds the necessary twigs (tools) needed to prepare a place of safety and security. It makes me wonder if I’m just as tenacious in gathering my twigs (spiritual tools) to prepare myself to nestle in the arms of God who provides a safe and secure place for me?

A nest resting on a seemingly thin branch may appear unstable to the naked eye. However, the unseen intertwining of the twigs creates a secure attachment to the branch. This brings to mind the security we have in Christ when connected to The Vine. We may not always see the interworking of the intertwining of the twigs that connect us to The Vine. But just trust, as do the birds, the strength and source of the twigs.

Winds blow, storms rage and heaviness of life happens. But like the meticulousness and intricately detailed nest. We must take advantage of the strength and source of the twigs to ensure we are equipped to stay connected to The Vine. Thus, allowing us the opportunity to nestle in the safety and security of God’s loving arms.
 
PEARLStoPONDER: The next time you see a birds’ nest don’t view it as a bunch of twigs and branches. But as a reminder of God’s source and security.
 
John 15:1--I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

John 15:7--f ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Psalms 18:2--The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalms 23:1--The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Psalm 31:3--For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
 

The Joy of Gifting

The Joy of Gifting
Have you ever heard, “if I don’t get the gift “I” want I will be so mad?” During the Christmas season we all scurry around trying to find that perfect gift. Yeah, Yeah, I understand that we sometimes receive gifts we feel are yucky and unusable, thus we re-gift. I know we all like gifts, and it’s nothing wrong with receiving gifts. However, the problem occurs when we gripe about the gift. No one owes us a gift so if they took the time out to think enough about you to give you a gift find some joy if not in the gift but in the thought.

In the midst of our silent griping, has it ever dawned on us that the “perfect” gift has already been given and no matter how hard we try we will never be able to match or out do that “perfect” gift? The perfect gift is the gift of redemption through Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior {Ep 2:8}. This gift will never fade, go out of style or deteriorate. This gift comes in a big package with small but powerful gifts included.

The small but powerful gifts are:

The Gift of Peace: Jesus, the Prince of Peace, wants us to have His peace in every aspect of our lives, at all times.

The Gift of Joy: Fullness of joy is not found in God’s presents, but in His presence. One of the best and easiest ways to increase your joy is to keep your heart and mind focused on God and His word.

The Gift of Righteousness: Righteousness is right standing with God. When we accept Jesus, He gives us the gift of His righteousness and by faith we are made right with God.

The Gift of Hope: This extraordinary gift allows us to experience peace and joy as we simply believe God’s Word and hold on to His promises.

The Gift of Faith: Faith in God brings us rest into our souls, thus allowing us to live simply and freely. Trusting doesn’t just happen, but as we grow and become to know God more personally you will see your faith increase through your experiences and prayers.

The Gift of Love: God’s Word teaches us to love everyone including ourselves. As we learn to receive God’s love we will begin to see and love ourselves and others through God’s eyes. Albeit, we can’t earn it nor do we deserve it, yet God is willingly and continually longing to express His love to us. We just need to be willing to opening our hearts to His love.

So, as you enjoy your Christmas holiday, remember the joy of gifting:

G: GRACE—Because of God’s grace our past is forgiven
I:   IN—God’s Spirit is IN me
F:  FUTURE—My future is secure in God
T: TRANSFORMATION—God has and is continually transforming me
 
PEARLStoPONDER: God’s gift is the best gift!

John 14:1-- Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Ephesians 2:8-- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 
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