Spread the Love

Rhonda G. Leach Gould2

Sometimes it’s easier to spread hate than it is to spread love. Now, don’t act like you don’t know what I mean! There are just some people that are easier to hate than love. I justify it! These people either don’t think like me, they don’t dress like me, they’re not the same color as me, they don’t live in the same neighborhoods as me, they’ve hurt me too bad or any other justification I can come up with. If I really look within me, I can find many justifications that Godcould use against me but He don’t! His desire is for me to be in heaven with Him and if He justifies me away from Him then I’ll be lost. The same goes for those who we justify away. How am I to bring people closer to HIM if I push them farther away from me? Yes, I know…… someone else might pick up the slack with that “one particular person” but maybe that “one particular person” is who God has brought into my life for that “one particular purpose”. I’m not responsible for how that person speaks or acts but I am responsible for how I do.

Leviticus 19:18“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

JOY

Is joy a choice? Yes, I believe it is!

Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

In the holiday season emotions can run hot. The past collides with the now. Family gatherings sometimes can stir up old and sometimes new entanglements that haven’t yet been dealt with. But we want so badly to be joyous. 

That joy can be ours if we choose it. Jesus gives us a reason for joy each day. Look for it, grab it and spread it around!

It’s not about who has come & gone in your life, it’s not about the approval of others, it’s not about reaching the top of the career pole, it’s not even about you!

It’s solely about JESUS and who HE has brought into your life for you to love & receive love back, it’s about HIS unconditional love and grace-filled approval, it’s about HIM directing you where you can bring HIM the most glory. It’s about JESUS living within you!

Psalm 16:11 You make known tome the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Joy is the brave response!

I don’t know about you but my life has not always been a Pocketful of Sunshine. He tells us until the day we come to be with him life will not be easy. But he shows us a better way. Our response tot he hard times is the proof of how fully we trust him.

Psalms 20:5 says, May we shout for Joy over your victories and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

In the darkest of moments we feel alone. But when we let Jesus into our life, into our day today trials his presence will be shown. And because of that presence Joy will prevail in our walk. Our words will be words of love and kindness. Our darkest moments will pass with the next day’s light.

Psalm 21:6 surely you have granted him an ending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

We are awake in our mornings and walk through life seeing with our eyes only what we want to see. We feel with our heart only want we want to feel. We can be selfish beings, processing those things and not considering others. But if we truly have the Lord living within us, radiantly Shining, allowing love to come  into our hearts and open our eyes wide to those around us then the outcome of our life will be filled with Joy and that Joy will be spilled over into the lives of everyone else around us.

Psalm 19: 8 The precepts of the Lord are right,giving Joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

How do we find the joy in times of trouble?
                                                         
Romans 12:12 says Be Joyful in Hope, patient in affliction,faithful in prayer 
                                      
That sums it up!                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Our hearts are the most important organ in our bodies. Everything works because our heart is working. If our heart should grow weak then our bodies will be weak but if our heart is strong we will have a better chance of being strong. What do we want to fill our heart with, joy or anger? We can choose who and what we take into our lives which will determine the    status of our heart. The process of determining that can sometimes be painful but the long term results will be for life.

Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of Joy.”

When we walk through our days with the past lingering over us, we live in fear of the hidden becoming light. But when we allow the past to only live in our past then our future lives in truth and is bright.

Psalm 30:11 “You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with JOY.”

Climb to that highest mountain and shout it with all your strength! Share it with your neighbor! Live it amongst your family! The JOY is yours, He is showing you reasons to have it with each new day, with each new experience, with each new person that comes your way. Share it, give it freely! That is the way He wants you to live!

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of JOY.

Be aware of your words and fill them with Joy. Be intentional with your speech when you share those words. Be the light that brings HIM the glory as you walk.

Psalm 33:3 “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully and shout for JOY”

I praise the Lord in all I do.  I trust in Him for everything.  I am nothing without Him.  I am everything with Him.  He is my protector and justifier.  He love unconditionally and always.  He walks with me through my joys and my trials.  He leads me when I am lost.  He holds His hands out so that I can find Him.  He is a Good Good God!

Psalm 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing Joy. Spread protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Lord because of You I have JOY in my life.  Amen!

Truth will set you Free

Have you ever really thought about this statement?  Who’s truth? Your truth? My Truth?

It’s up to who you ask because my version of the truth is truth.   And I don’t want anyone to tell me different.  Why is that?

What am I afraid of?

The bible speaks of the truth setting you free.  But sometimes the truth is painful to accept.  Honesty of sin is scary.  Facing past hurts can be heart breaking.  But I have found and continue to find the truth will set you free to be a true statement.  I know that may not be the popular answer.

John 8:32 [Full Chapter]

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I recently sat through a sermon on sexual immorality.  In today’s world of “do what feels right for you”, sex in the way God intended it has disappeared.   I’m not throwing out judgement here because I’m as guilty as the next but Jesus freed me from that guilt.
He showed me the truth and the truth did set me free.
God intended sex to be between 1 man and 1 woman.  He designed it that way from the beginning.

Genesis 1:27

So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:24

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

This is nothing new.   Sexual immorality has been around since the beginning of time.

I’m a big proponent of boundaries.  But  no one wants to have boundaries these days.  Or maybe we have boundaries just some areas of our life the boundaries are more open than in others.

If you’re unsure that there should be boundaries in the sexual arena then just open you’re bible app and read Chapters 19 & 20 in Leviticus.  As I said before, this is not a new cultural issue.

Sin is at the crux of sexual immortality and those acts are the pure definition of sexual immortality.   Each of them linked to something that is missing inside the human heart.  A hole that is hollow and needing to be filled.

I was introduced to this song and find it’s lyrics interesting and on point for this topic.

Words such as zero, feel, nothing real, chaos, way out, ways of the ones before me, lonely and run away.  All words of being hollow inside.

Imagine Dragons – Zero (click to watch video)

Notice mid-way …… Maybe you’re the same as me…..They say the truth will set  you free.

Jesus came to set us free.   Forgive us of our sin.  Rid us of our guilt.  Cleanse us of our shame.

He is the only thing that can fill that hole.  Let Him fill it!

Lord I am grateful.  Grateful that you have freed me from my old way of thinking.  Cleansed me from my past and allowed me to heal from sins done against me.  I’m grateful!  Lord, I want to use my forgiveness to help others heal.   Help me to be brave.  Amen!

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Good News

Good news!   We all love some good news.   And you sure ain’t hearing it on the TV these days or reading it in a news paper or scrolling through it on social media.  It seems as if Satan is waging warfare on our people.  You know what I mean, I don’t have to explain myself I’m sure.

I have several audio books that I’m listening to right now but I think that I need to narrow it down to just one at a time.  So I think I’m gonna stick to this……..

“Eternity is now in Session” by John Ortberg.  He says, You can tell a lot about people from where they get their news.  If people are on one side of the political spectrum they might get their news from one source.  If they’re on the other side they might get their news from another side.  Where do you get your news?  Jesus was among other things in the news announcing business.

Are you seeking  out His news?  Do you check in with Him before  you come to a conclusion about a certain topic?

There is a lot of gray in the bible when it comes to some things but on the things of the heart and our salvation, there is no gray.   His news is our BEST NEWS!

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
If you were raised a certain way, with certain beliefs, do you seek out His truths, His good news, His direction to make sure your beliefs as an adult align with His?
If you want a good article to read, start with John.  If you want to be feed some good wisdom, read Proverbs.  If you want to see that others struggle with the same problems and need help praying, check out Psalms.  If you want to know how to walk your day to day life, ponder through Acts.   There is lots of good news and sound instruction scattered through the Bible.   But the primary Good News you need to know is Jesus! Jesus is here.  He died for you so that you would be forgiven.  He gave you the Holy Spirit, His Spirit, to guide you.
So don’t seek out instruction, guidance or Good News from TV, News papers or Social Media.  Look to Jesus!
Lord, I do not know what I would do with out Your kind of Good News.  Thank You! Amen!
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Potential

What drives our potential?

#fmf

Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Maybe we should look at who created us.

Omniscient  – All knowing – Job 37:16

Omnipotent – All powerful  – Gen 18:14

Omnipresent – Ever Present – Jeremiah 23:23-24

Immutable – Never changing – Malachi 3:6

Holy –  Able – Psalm 99:9 & Habakkuk 1:13

Righteous – Perfect – Matthew 5:21

Sovereign – Just – Rom 1:18

Love – Infinite love – Rom 5:8

Merciful – Forgiving – Luke 15:11-32

Veracity –  Absolute Truth – John 8:32

Trinity – 3 in 1- Never alone – Ezek 36:27

If I am made in His own image, then I have  potential to do anything that He has lead me to.

But what is driving our potential?  Is it God or is it self?  Are we following our head or following our heart?

God created the whole “ME” and therefore I should use the whole “ME”.  With all the above attributes of God in me through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit my potential is limitless.  I simply need to believe it!

So we should not doubt our potential if we are listening to His voice.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

Philippians 4:13

 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Do you Trust HIM?

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As she remembers her child and weeps

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

I have walked some paths with my family members and with my friends, that have been joyous and hard.   Each path that I have walked has taught me a lesson on relationships.  Some have shown me what it means to support even when I didn’t understand fully.  Some have taught me to show them a clearer path when their path was foggy.  Some were trying and some were easy.  But they all are necessary for the lesson that God wanted me to learn and the lesson that the one I was walking with was learning.

I know that the scripture is telling us that we should rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, in a way that is not self serving.  To let it be about that person.   To not be desiring for the good to be mine and thankful that the bad is not mine.  Just to be with them in theirs.

I am seeing this scripture in a new light now as I’ve never had to walk the path that I’ve walked this past week. And will cherish each moment that I get to walk with my friend over the next months.   This path that I’m walking is with a friend who just lost her child in a horrific accident.  This path she has never walked and I have not either but this is a path that neither will soon forget.  I am willing to weep with her as she is weeping but I pray that we will be able to get to a place of rejoicing through it too.

I have no words of comfort for her.  Nothing seems suitable.  But I can sit.  I can hug her long and hard, as if to breathe for her.   I can give her time and that’s all I have to give.

God tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede when we pray and we have no words.  I’m sure that he has heard my simple silence as I sought understanding, comfort and guidance from Him this week through this.  I pray that I will continue to hear and act when He calls me to respond.  I pray that I will learn from the weeping.

I know that He is hearing my sweet friend’s prayers too and will continue as the days, weeks and years pass and she remembers her child and weeps.

Lord, walk with me.  Amen!

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I don’t know how!

I will never think of this phrase the same.   Saturday around 3:30 pm, I got some news that totally rocked my boat.  I went through the process of shock, disbelief and pain.  As I’m rushing to the hospital to be with a friend, I was crying out to the Lord, “I don’t know how to do this!”.   I don’t know what to say, I don’t know whether to show my grief or be stoic.  I simply just didn’t know.  That’s when I had to rely on this verse to show me……….

Proverbs 3:5-6 [Full Chapter]

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Truth is, there are no words, there are no perfect actions, there is nothing that can make this okay.
Once I arrived to the hospital and got to my friend, she said those same words, “I don’t know how! I don’t know how to do this!”.  This day my friend lost her 4 year old to a drunk driver.  There is no right way.  There is no step by step manual for this.
So all I can do is trust.  All she can do is trust that He will lead the way.  I will pray that she and her husband stay strong in the Lord.  They hold tightly to their faith and they allow each other to grieve in whatever way they need to.  That they will not shut each other out.  That they will be honest with those around them on the days that life is just not okay.  That they will be able to rest and that they will be able to smile.  That they will not let the child they have with them suffer this loss on his own.  That they will share in each others pain and they will someday be able to rejoice with each other again.
I don’t now how but I fully trust that God Does!
Lord, be with this family. Hold them tightly in your arms and give them comfort.  Help those around them, and me, know how. Amen!
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Known & Never Changing

Psalm 102:25-27

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.

“I can always trust an unknown future to a Known & Never changing God.” by Lara Casey

What comfort this is to me.   In my 56+ years of life there is nothing that was never changing.  Many many things changed, some were welcomed and some were painful.  When I was introduced to HIM, my God, during my senior year of high school, I had no idea how this one change would effect my life.  Many many changes came and went but He was the one constant there with me.  I didn’t really understand all that He was doing in my life for a long time.  We all have moments, defining moments, when He shows himself more fully.

First major defining moment was during the divorce of my high school sweet heart. He was reaching for me and drawing me in closer to Him.  A few steps closer I became.

Then during the illness of our oldest son, God carried our boy smoothly through surgeries and treatments and ultimately healing.  He provided people to surround us, comfort us, provide for us and love us through it.  My trust grew stronger.

Still many changes………..  Jobs , empty nesting and the addition to a daughter-in-law.

Satan tried hard, really hard, to cause another change for us.  Marriage struggles, wall building, harsh words, bad behavior and it would have been easier to say “I’m done!”.  But He wouldn’t leave me, He settled in my soul through the Holy Spirit and kept me hanging on.  He gave me the courage to hang on.  He gave me the wisdom of how to change “me”.  He held our marriage together with His love because at the time, we didn’t have much.  He was steadfast and never changing in His plan for us.  I felt His presence and found the knowledge in His word through consistent prayer and time with Him.

More changes…..  Moves to unknown territory, to an unknown land, to an unknown people, to different, where we had to depend on each other and on Him alone.  He was faithful to us, He showed us the way and provided for us a path to travel.

So with all these changes and the changes that I’m sure are yet to come, one thing that I can be certain of is this…………….

“I can always trust an unknown future to a Known & Never changing God.” by Lara Casey in her book “Cultivate”

So rest in this promise, He will never leave you hanging, if you will hold on!

Thank You Lord for being the one constant in my life. Amen!

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Cultivate

2 Corinthians 9:6

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
If you’ve spent any time at all on my blog you probably have noticed many pictures of my flower gardens.  I simply love my flowers.  I have lots of them and many varieties.  I have planted more than I have in the ground growing now but they withered away.  That could have been for many reasons, temperatures,  soil types, cramped spaces, not enough sun, or too much sun.  There is a variety of reasons those plants didn’t make it, they didn’t flourish.  Most of the time it was probably because of my lack of cultivating the land properly and making sure they had the right nutrients to survive.
Life is the same way.  I’ve spent many years allowing God to cultivate my life.   I spent many more trying to do the cultivating.  I’ve said yes when I should have said no.  I’ve said no when I should have said yes.  I’ve jumped in head first when I should have tested the waters first.  I’ve made assumptions without regards for others and in turn it caused death in relationships.  I’ve spoke my truth before I sought out HIS truth.  And I could go on and on.   I was going to be in control of my life.  I was going to bring in that good soil and mix up my own concoction and fix my life to be what I thought it should be.  But life is just like gardening.  You have to seek out the instructions for growing whatever it is you want to grow.
I’m currently reading (audio) a book by Lara Casey called “Cultivate” and it’s as if I could have been her main character.  Busyness, striving, searching for who I am and who I should be, not ever really listening to Him and letting Him show me where to go.  There is a quote in the book that says, “We don’t have to fix our lives, we just have to fix out eyes on HIM”.
But that means I had to stop and listen.  Seek and study. Be open to His design for me.  I am looking to Him to teach me and show me how to do life.
I’m getting a good grasp on the direction he is sending me and I have to watch myself not to jump ahead.  I don’t want to sow sparingly but I want it to be His sowing in my life that reaps bountifully.
So I say to you…………..SLOW DOWN…………..LISTEN………….BE OPEN………….FOR HIM!
Lord, thank you for doing Your work in my life. Amen

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Hidden

Luke 12:2

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

Am I the only one?  Well as I type this question, I know without a doubt that I’m not!  It doesn’t matter what comes after “am I the only one, what”.  What has filled that space?  It could be a sin that I have committed or a sin that was committed against me, either way, most likely, I am NOT the only one.  So why do we try to hide it?

Like the little tree frog in the picture of the bird house, he thought he was being sly.  That would not be somewhere we would generally find a tree frog, so he figured he was safe there.  But Nope!

Over the last several years God’s uncovered many things about me.  Some of them involved others and some of them were just between me and God.  There came a time, God’s time, that the hidden needed to be made known.   It was painful to rip that covering off but a necessary process for healing and redemption.  The fabulous part about the whole process is that each time it reminded me of the Love and Forgiveness that the Lord has for me.  Once uncovered it can no longer weigh me down!  As for the hidden that involved others, those were times of action on my part to show HIS forgiveness and allow them to work on their own redemption.  That process is not for me to do, it’s between them and God.

So I write these words to encourage you to allow God to uncover those things in your life that need to be revealed.  To seek forgiveness and redemption for those things that are weighing you down.  Healing will never come with a covering over it!

Lord, thank You for giving Your Son so that I can find healing through the uncovering.  Amen!

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