His Presence In The Darkness

By Georgia (Jo) Kent
 
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
 
Do you need to know that the Lord has not forgotten about you? Are you desperate for a glimmer of hope in a world that seems to be falling apart? Are you in need of a light at the end of the tunnel? There is a world full of people who long for the safety and presence of Jesus but they need a beacon to guide them. God’s love shines constantly upon us, an ever-faithful Presence. When your faith walk seems dark and God feels far away, when darkness and pain arrive, the ability to recognize God’s presence makes an immense difference. The peace and presence of Jesus in your heart banishes fear, restores faith and lifts spirits.
 
“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” Psalms 118:28 NIV
 
Think about the difference between light and darkness and its relationship to God’s presence in our lives. While in darkness, we walk carefully. In the light, we walk in confidence. While the darkness gives us fear, light gives us security. Knowing that Christ is with us in struggle and darkness is one of the only reasons we don’t completely surrender to our fears and stop moving forward. There will come a time that you may find yourself sitting in the dark, remember that living in the light requires time in God’s Word and time in His Presence. Though the future looks bleak and the outcomes uncertain, there is peace in resting in the light of the Lord. It is in His light that we can find courage and strength to face tomorrow.
 
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 John 1:5-6 NIV
 
Though the world may look bleak and the situations in your own life may be dark, remember that Jesus came to this world to bring hope where there was despair. Our Savior will come and bring light and cheer to our heavy heart. One of the greatest blessings we have to look forward to in Christ is the ability to dwell in a new heaven and earth with Him as our light. A place where we will no longer feel darkness surrounding us filled with pain, sadness and sin. We will see clearly because of the bright Presence of our Lord. When you find yourself in darknesss and at your lowest and you need hope, think of some other beautiful things accomplished in the dark: a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb…the Cross. 
 
Father, give us the faith to help us in our weakness. Help us trust in Your Presence when we face situations that overwhelm us. Help us to remember that You are here with us as our shield. In Your Precious Name.  Amen
 
Sweet Blessings

Take Heart

 By Georgia (Jo) Kent
 
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee…He that formed thee…Fear not; for I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Isaiah 43:1-3
 
Everyone goes through tough times during certain periods of their lives. As Christians, we know in our heads that God is working in and through those times. But often our emotions take over. Fear and worry may set in. Are you in a difficult trial today? Are you wondering how to go forward? It’s possible to be going through tough times and have peace in the midst of trials. When the winds of change begin to blow violently all around us we can choose to focus on our unchanging God. He has A perfect plan for our lives. We must believe deep in our hearts that God`s love for us is unconditional. He loves us no matter who we are or what we have done, and nothing we do will make Him love us any less than He does already. 
 
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
 
Have you ever been so upset you couldn’t pray? Maybe your mind was filled with panic and you couldn’t think straight. Sometimes we go through times in life when it feels like God Himself has pulled the rug right out from under us. Dazed and now on the floor, we look around and say, “What just hit me?” Our trials should lead us more and more to a trusting dependance upon God and His gracious favor towards us in Christ. God’s Word gives us a lot of encouragement to trust Him. God is omniscient, which means he knows your need even if you can’t express it. He always sees things clearly. When you go to him in fear or confusion, He wants you to depend on him and He wants to be your protector.
 
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” John 16:33
 
The next time something does not unfold as you expected or you are suddenly faced with an unforeseen and unpleasant change in circumstances, remember the constancy of God. By doing this, you will keep the disappointments, surprises, and interruptions of life in proper perspective. God is unchanging, and He is committed to keeping every promise He has made. So if there is a tough situation awaiting you today, go right into it with a heart full of faith knowing that God is going to act to deliver you from every trial and suffering in His perfect timing. 
 
Father, thank you for all that You have blessed us with this week. Thank you for providing peace in the face of anxieties. Fill each of us with Your sweet presence. Help us to always have greatful hearts. Help us to show Your grace to others in need. Protect and guide our every step with Your loving care. In your precious and Holy name. Amen 
Sweet Blessings

Out Of The Darkness

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18

There are so many Christians today that live in their painful pasts, shadowing the present that stands before them. Never moving forward for fear of falling backwards. Finding true freedom in Christ requires letting go completely of the past that binds us to the pain. Sadly, many of us aren’t able to do that. Though we know intellectually Christ has freed us, our memories haunt us, and we repeatedly revisit our past and all the things we did wrong. Some things we’ve kept to ourselves and pray that no one ever finds out. Some things have left us so damaged we cant see a way out. We tuck all the shame, pain and fears deep down inside our heart and pray that we can forget. When present events trigger a reaction in you that takes you back to that unhappy time and the pain returns, we forget we have been set free.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Letting go of the past not only helps you to live your best life now, but also paves the way for future success. The past is gone, but every time you give thought to it you bring it back into the present moment and you loose sight of the way out. Unhappy or hurtful past events can bring heartache, depression, and destructive behavior into your life if you don’t learn how to release them and let them go. Whatever holds you hostage keeps you from enjoying a deeper, fuller relationship with Christ. Surrendering your past is not about dwelling on the things you did. It’s about putting it under the blood of Jesus and focusing on the One who looks beyond those things into your heart.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Holding onto the mistakes and failures of our past stays with us and contaminates our future. To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and the fears and the disappointments of the past that all bind our spirit. Peace of mind comes from living in the moment and not the past. We can’t focus our minds on Jesus and what He can do for us while we’re focusing our minds on our past and what we’ve done. Give your blessings the same amount of weight that you are tempted to give your troubles. Everyone has a past. The past can not equal the future unless you live there. By the grace of God lay your past mistakes at the feet of Jesus, walk into the light and begin a new life free of bondage to your past.

“Dear Father, help us to resolve any and all unresolved issues from the past and let go of any hurt, anger, grief, fears, and resentment. Help us to be free to fully live and fully love. Thank you for setting us free. in Jesus Name. Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

With everything around us constantly changing, we have the comfort of knowing that our Heavenly Father never changes. He is the only constant in our lives. His love and faithfulness are the solid foundation that we can build our lives on. People and circumstances change but his love and compassion for us never change. No matter how dark or discouraging our circumstances may appear, our Father’s hand is guiding and gives wise direction to every decision and problem that comes our way. We are greeted daily with His mercies…How great His faithfulness.

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

Are you in the valley or are you praising Him on the mountain top? Do you see the glass half empty or half full? Have faith and believe He will see you through. Our Father delights in our trust in Him. His word is fresh everyday! His Presence is always with us no matter how alone or lonely we are! When we study and meditate upon His word, it fills us with hope and uplifts and encourages our wounded and broken heart. Through the Holy Spirit we have a future of hope and eternal reward. His word reveals this truth again and again. Open his word today and allow it to minister to what’s going on in your life.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

If you are feeling alone and pursued by your enemies, turn to the One who is our salvation, our rock, and our redeemer…Hold on! He will see you through. God is still faithful. His word reveals this truth again and again. We are surrounded by amazing beauty and wonders that bear witness to His great faithfulness, mercy and love. We cannot help but give praise and thanksgiving to our loving, faithful and unchanging Heavenly Father. How great is His faithfulness!

Heavenly Father, thank you so much! No matter how difficult things are for us, You are always there. You do not change and Your compassions do not fail. Your faithfulness is great and your mercies endure forever. I praise Your name! Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Finding Joy In Sorrow

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

How do we remain joyful when inevitable tragedy faces us? We cannot expect to go through difficult times without feeling the impact of such events. We can expect to experience sadness with loss. How does joy come from trusting in the Lord in times of difficulty? God’s ways are not our ways. We may not comprehend the notion that joy can come from despair, love can grow from forgiveness, or life can grow out of death, yet Christ showed us all of these things.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

God does not promise us that we will be exempt from trouble or sorrow. Tears will come, have faith, one day soon, deep inside there will be a joy that is difficult to understand. It is a joy from God, produced by the Holy Spirit. Share your tears with God. Sometimes, the tears of grief are really a prayer, even when there are no words. Your tears are so precious to God that He records each one of them and stores them in a bottle.

“You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book.” Psalms 56:8

What a wonderful God we serve. He is a God of infinite love and is ever present to give us peace in our darkest days, yes, even when we face illness and death. The blessing in our sorrow that is born on the battlefield is embraced by God’s beautiful, intimate presence. When we are suffering, he comes near, picks us up in His loving arms and comforts us, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Lord, we know You are the source of our comfort. You’ve walked where we walk, you’ve grieved as we grieve. Keep us always mindful of Your presence. I trust that You will take that which brings sorrow in our life and make it a source of joy. Amen

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson

Strength And Comfort For Our Journey

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Blessed be . . . the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Life is a journey that sometimes seems very hard and frustrating and can often be very unpredictable. Today, it seems like so many people are going through difficult trials. Physical, financial or emotional trials. We can have wonderful days when everything is in perfect harmony. Then there are days when we seem to be weighted down with so many storm clouds. It may seem like we are hit from all directions with trouble of one kind or another and we can’t seem to catch our breath because of the intensity of It all. It’s during these difficult times that we need the ever present abiding fellowship with our Father in Heaven who supplies us with the strength and courage to weather these storms.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12

Christians are not immune from the trials of life. Christ made no promise that those who followed him would enjoy a special immunity from pain and sorrow. Nor did he himself experience such immunity. He did, however; promise enough joy and courage, enough love and confidence to enable us to do far more than survive. God loves each of us and cares very deeply about our sadness, our trials and our frustrations.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

God knows exactly what we need to make it in the difficult times in our life. He offers us two indispensable tools for getting us through our trials. He gives us comfort and strength. Comfort calms us, gives us hope, encourages our faith and gives us the ability to trust Him for the strength to press on. He gives us the strength needed to help us overcome obstacles of everyday life. He comforts with His hope and then gives us the strength to indure. Today may God comfort your heart and mind and give you all the strength you need to cope and move forward.

Father, we come to You for peace and quiet. There are so many storms in life and we need the reassurance of Your presence. Please guide us according to Your perfect will for us.. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Just Breath

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

The truth is, we aren’t weary simply because our schedules are full. We are weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn’t always allow. It is often when we are the weariest that our souls can be in the midst of chaos, storms and confusion. Sometimes God allows us to be put into difficult situations so our faith grows. It’s through these trials that we learn to trust God and draw nearer to Him.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”Jeremiah 6:16

God preserves a space in us to hear His voice He reveals the places we’re off track, and shows us what is unnecessary clutter. Quiet rest allows us to fill our cups back up. During the down time, we can deal with the mental clutter and focus on God. Resting gives us space to breathe. Inhaling and exhaling in a gentle rhythm set by God. We receive an inner peace that allows the heart and mind to cope when we are anxious. When we learn to rest in silence, patiently waiting, we find strength and joy in God Himself.

“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

Invite God to restore your soul and receive a fresh filling of His love, mercy and grace. When you do, He will replace your weariness with strength, your resentment with thanksgiving, your irritability with patience, and your anxiety with peace. Meet with Him. He will refresh and renew you, enabling you to go out into the world to serve your family and friends filled with a newfound sense of His peace, love, and joy.

Precious Father I ask you to show us how to prioritize our daily schedules before our cup becomes completely empty and help us to always leave room for your presence. Help us to learn to listen for your voice and to recognize Your sweet spirit. Please help us to learn how to depend completely on you. I ask all this is your precious name. Amen

Sweet Blessings

Grace Covers Scars

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Most of us today were either born into pain or lived through pain that has scarred us deep within our soul. Some of us have learned to mask this pain and others have lived very dysfunctional lives because of it. We all have scars, though some of us are facing them and some of us are hiding from them. No matter who you are, there is a past pain in your life. God would like to use it for his good. In order to do that, we have to be willing to allow him to redeem the hurt, cover the scar with his grace and mercy, and then step out and use it for his glory.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Getting past our pain is a crucial step toward living a victorious life. God cannot fill hearts and hands that still clutch the pain of the past. Walk straight ahead into the love and transforming power of God. Trusting that He has already covered your past. It means trusting Him daily with the details of your life. He will bless your today’s and reinforce your tomorrows. He is the only One who can truly help you put the past behind and press on toward the future.

“God always gives you all the grace you need. So you will only have to suffer for a little while. Then God himself will build you up again. He will make you strong and steady. And he has chosen you to share in his eternal glory because you belong to Christ.” 1 Peter 5:10

Find joy in what you do for yourself and for others. Putting our past behind is constant motion but so is pressing on. We can’t go back and change the circumstances in our past that have marked us, but God can take those scars and turn them into something beautiful. As you embark on this journey, allow God to expose all your hidden scars. Invite Him to heal and restore you, so that you can enjoy the freedom of abundant living. Fall in love with Jesus. Loving Him will turn all your past pain that scars into a present beautiful memory filled with grace.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2

Sweet Blessings

Eagles Wings

BY Georgia (Jo) Kent

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Cancer… There is no word that strikes fear in people’s heart more then cancer. Thankfully, I personally, have never experienced having to hear my doctor tell me that I had cancer. However, I have recently had several very dear friends of mine face those horrific words. I have always thought that if I stood before a mountain too tall to climb over, that I would simply go around it. That’s very easy for someone who is cancer free to say. Applying it may be a different story. As I try to process what I think that my reaction would be, the only thing that I know with absolute assuredly, I would turn to my faith in God and his promises that “He bore the stripes for my healing” and that “He would never leave me or forsake me.”

”I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” John 16:33

Somehow we forget that life really is fragile and that radical destabilizing news is only a phone call away. A dear friend of mine shared with me her experience and testimony with learning that she was facing cancer…”I thought I would share I got my pathology report back. I’m stage 1 melanoma survivor. My doctor told me that if I wouldn’t have found it when I did, it would have invaded my lymph nodes and I probably would not have survived. I wanted to share that the Sunday before I saw the doctor I was in church and God gave me this verse to hold onto; John 11:44 “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.” His word is truth and I believed in what he said to me. And now I’m thanking my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for what he did for me. “You’ll have many mountains but you will rise on “Eagles Wings.”

Where do you go for peace and comfort in the midst of the turmoil that that kind of news brings to your soul? When you’re in a difficult place your spirit may know that God is trustworthy, but your emotions may stumble. If you have cultivated a growing relationship with God, great solace is found in His presence, love, mercy and grace. Learn to focus on God’s Word. Store it in your heart. You will never have to take that journey alone. When you’re in a dark place, know that God crawls into the darkness with you, tells you He’s with you, and then he holds you till hope begins stirring in your soul.

I have been so blessed and heartened to watch my friends on their journey’s with so much faith and grace. I want to take this moment to tell them…’Thank you’ for showing me what beautiful women of God you are, and for giving me such inspiration should I ever have to face this journey. You will ever be in my heart and my prayers!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Sweet Blessings

Broken Vessel’s

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks. We are often left bruised, dented and scarred. It’s important to know that this damage does not define you, it is refining you. When it seems like you are at the bottom of life’s bin remember that Jesus paid a high a price for those of us at the bottom. We live in a broken world with broken people. We all have areas of brokenness; Broken dreams, broken spirits, broken hearts, broken relationships, even a broken sense of self-esteem.

A broken heart can hold us back from taking part in an authentic and loving relationship, a broken self-esteem can stop us from having a positive and productive personality, and a broken spirit finds it virtually impossible to experience real joy.

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21

In Corinthians 12:9 Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Through the brokenness of our lives we can become the vessels that God intended us to be. God gave us wisdom which is in His word. Through His word brokenness can be repaired. Maybe that broken dream was your dream that did not fit His plan for your life. Possibly that broken relationship was never ordained by God because it was never part of His plan for your life. As difficult as it may be for you to believe this today, the Master knows what He’s doing. He knows your breaking point. The bruising and crushing and melting process is designed to reshape you, not ruin you. Your value is increasing the longer He lingers over you.

“We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

Have you made a mess of your life and wish that you could start over? Are you a broken vessel in the potter’s hand? If God left us broken, there would be no hope. Let the love of God break you so that you may also be a vessel for the Master’s use.

Sweet Blessings