The Living Word

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run. Carry out my instructions; don’t forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life.” Proverbs 4:10–13 NLT

Life is full of obligations, emotions and relationships. Some are life-giving, yet sometimes the weight and responsibility of everyday life is heavy to bear.  As wives, mothers, friends and daughters, we need to know we’re not alone. We long for someone who understands, someone to help us find perspective. A friend who gets us. You’ll find that friend in the pages of the Bible. It is a roadmap for our lives, It shows us how to be happy, successful, a loving parent, heal broken hearts and build our faith.The Bible not only gives us instructions, but also examples. If you earnestly seek to know the Father better and please Him, time spent in His Word will never be wasted. Through it, you will experience the joy of a personal relationship with God.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

The Creator put much thought into the instructions to ensure everything we needed to know is covered. The Word of God constantly points us in the direction of success in all areas of life. When we have instructions, we have a plan to follow. Instructions bring security, confidence and peace: all we have to do is follow them. Each day brings us to new crossroads that we must face. His Word contains the perfect answer to every question, and the exact solution to every problem. It gives us warnings about life and how to proceed when those warnings arise. It speaks of how we should care for ourselves and for others. It tells us what we must do to maintain relationships and speaks to the very heart of what we were created for and what our purpose in life is about.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Every word in the Bible was inspired by God. The scriptures represent God’s heart. His heart is to teach us to live the right way so we can truly enjoy life while being in relationship with Him. His boundaries and commands are meant for our good. If a Christian wants to know what God’s will is for your life, read His Word. Only when we surrender our lives to His Word is Heaven able to guide our footsteps.

Father, implant Your word in my heart. Let it take root and grow. Let it flourish and thrive. Let it be alive and active, guiding my steps and directing my path. In your name Lord. Amen

Sweet Blessings

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Honor Your Parents

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“…Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3

Parents… They give us the gift of life, love us, and care for us. Loving us when we are unlovable; faithfully, unconditionally, never asking for anything in return. Today, we see less and less respect and honor shown towards our elders in families everywhere.

God included the responsibility for honoring one’s parents in the Ten Commandments. There were no exceptions listed, even if your parents were terrible, this is still God’s Word to you. As long as one’s parents are alive, the responsibility to honor them remains. Think about this: God himself promises that if you will honor your parents you will have a long and blessed life. What a promise! Regardless of your age, consider your responsibility to honor your parents. We need to learn from Scripture what God means by “honoring” our parents, so we can honor our parents and be blessed with a long and fruitful life.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

The temptation in life, especially in young and middle adulthood, is to get so busy with life that we take our parents for granted. But instead of taking them for granted the scriptures teach us its time to begin investing our time in them just as they invested their time in us. There are a lot of acts of kindness you can perform but just spending time with them is first on the list. Honoring your parents is not just speaking politely to them, or telling others that they are great parents. If your parents have needs, you should help them. In this way, according to Jesus, you are showing them honor.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

Take a moment to look at the way you are treating your parents. This means in thoughts and deeds. Not just how you act towards them when you are around them, but also examine your thoughts, how it is you think and feel about your parents in your heart. Examine yourself closely and see if there are any changes that need to be made to line your life up with God’s word. If changes in attitude are needed, then ask God to help and begin to make those changes today. Reality for many of you is that you have parents that do not treat you very well; nonetheless, you are still called by God to respect your parents. By respecting your parents even when you do not feel they deserve your respect, allows God to work on your behalf because you have been obedient to his word.

Remember that if you sacrifice one thing for them, they will sacrifice another million for you. Keep that in mind and you’ll love them even more. Call/text/email things to them often, make them a part of your world. Show them that you value them and care. Parents love nothing more than talking to you. One way to start following the command is to pray for them daily. Finally, just love them a little bit more every day! You too will stand in their shoes one day.

Father, thank you for the gift of children. I pray that as my children grow older they will also grow in their desire to seek after You and obey your commandments. Keep a humble heart in all parents toward their children, and children towards their parents. In your name Lord, Amen.

Sweet Blessings

“Blessed Are The Peacemakers”

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”Matthew 5:9 NIV

The world needs peace. The home needs peace. The office, the factory, the school, and the family need peace. To have peace there must be those who bring the peace of God. We are called to bring the peace of God into the life of others. In the middle of the storms of life, you can be a person who brings the calm that others so badly need. When you look around you, you can see anguish, worry, doubt, and fear in the life of others. You can reflect the peace of Christ and bring a kind word of love and assurance. Give away the calm love of God. Bring the healing of His grace, love, and peace.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” Hebrews 12:14 KJV

Sin has a way of creeping up in our lives. There’s no big warning sign that sin is about to manifest itself somehow through our lives and then boom, something comes out of our mouth or a thought crosses our mind and suddenly there it is. Often that can lead to strife among our friends and even our own family. Yet, there is a call from the Lord Jesus for us to be peacemakers at the same time. How can that all work together. I believe there are two catalysts to making peace as a peacemaker. One is forgiveness and the other is humility.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 VIV

Let’s face it, not everyone likes you or me. We may have enemies, even in the Christian body. But the Bible is clear that we are to make peace with those individuals. Whenever we encounter a situation that is hostile and fraught with tension, we are to be the peacemakers. The Bible teaches us to do whatever it costs to live at peace with all men. There’s a peace that comes from having an inner peace with God, one that allows you to sleep at night because you have been perfectly honest with yourself and with God.

Personal peace is only possible through Christ! Not only is it only possible through Christ, but it comes as a gift from God, totally removed from our circumstances of life. Even if one’s life is filled with controversy, anxiety, or even constant troubles, the peace of God can and will rule in the heart of the true believer. The peacemakers are those children of God who not only have great love for God, but also have love for all of mankind and they attempt to do everything possible for the advancement of peace everywhere.

Father, I thank you that I have found peace with you through Jesus Christ. I thank you that you have renewed my spirit. Help me to live with everyone in peace, that I can forgive as you have forgiven me and give me a humble heart. In Your name Lord, Amen.

Sweet blessings

Joy Comes In The Morning

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalms 5:3

One of the most valuable spiritual habits that I am cultivating in my life is morning prayers. I have to admit that in the beginning it wasn’t so easy. While my spirit was wiling, my flesh was not! Once I made the commitment to talk to God each morning I quickly realized that He was already waiting for me for our special time together. I would wonder ‘How do I pray? What should I ask for? I realized that everything that God wanted me to pray for was suddenly present in my mind. There’s something about morning prayers that are different then other times of the day. Prayers don’t have to be eloquent or perfect in any way. It’s simply a conversation about what’s in your heart. Begin with praising God. You will be amazed how easy and rewarding this can be.

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalms 95:2 NIV

There is only one problem with this commitment to Morning Prayer. You know that you’re going to get Satan’s attention when you wake up talking to the Lord everyday and he is going to do everything in his power to interrupt your prayers. Prayers are a conversation between your Heavenly Father and You and believe me when Satan is involved ‘three’s a crowd,’ you know when you are talking to your children and you tell them “Now, look at me” you know, with the two fingers pointing at your eyes? This is a time for talking to God without distractions.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 KJV

Make a commitment to pray every day; start by establishing a specific time. Mornings are great; that’s what David chose, but choose any time that will work for you. Keep at it even if you miss a few times in the beginning. We are told that doing any activity for three straight weeks makes it a habit. The prayer habit is a very good one to have. Just think; God is already in the habit of listening for you. Shouldn’t you be in the habit of giving him something to listen to? Who doesn’t have a multitude of things to pray for? There is a beautiful promise in scripture that “whatever you ask of the Father in My name (Jesus speaking), He may give to you.” John 15:16. Wake up having a conversation with God each morning; it will fill your heart with joy and make a monumental difference in your life.

Father, thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Implant Your word in my heart. Let it take root and grow. Let it flourish and thrive. Let it change my desires and my thoughts from the inside out. Let it be alive and active, guiding my steps and directing my path. In Your name Lord, Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Be Heavenly Minded

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NIV

These are simple instructions, but absolutely impossible to do unless God Himself empowers us, which is what He does through the ministry of His Holy Spirit. What a great God we serve! He tells us what to do then enables us to do it. He simply instructs us to “act justly in everything we do and every decision we make.” The second is to “love mercy, embracing compassion and forgiveness for everyone we meet.” Lastly, is to “walk humbly, lifting up our heavenly Father and serving others.” He desires us to live out our faith by our actions.

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” James 2:17 NIV

Just think about sitting around in God’s throne room listening to his plans and strategies and watching the inner workings of all of creation. Think about being right there when he says; “I need someone for an assignment” and your hand flies up first. What then? Are you worthy of this assignment? Ask yourself; “Am I always honorable and fair to others?” “Am I compassionate and forgiving to others?” “Do I regard others without personal gain.” that’s all the Commander (God) asks of us. When He sees that you are ready then He will give you the assignment.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:4

Satan attempts to keep the door shut tight to the room of our assignment; but God promises that our obedience is the strategic key to unlock that closed door. Heaven always uses the obedient to do great and mighty things on the earth. You have an assignment and a divine purpose, and obedience will take you to it by acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.

Dear Lord, help me to know Your commands and obey them. Give me the mind and obedient attitude of Christ today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sweet Blessings

Build Your Trust in God

by Kim McDougal

trust

photo by (c) Helene Souza

If there were a 7-step process of what to do to trust in God and automatically you would begin to trust Him no matter what, life would be much simpler. But you and I know life doesn’t work that way. Trusting in someone is a process. Just like when you first meet someone…would you immediately trust them with the keys to your car? No. It takes time to build that kind of relationship. We invest years into many of our friendships to get to a point where we can really be ourselves around our friends.

And building a relationship with God is no different, it takes time and effort. We don’t just read today’s scripture and poof, we trust indefinitely. Everyday has its own set of issues and we have to choose to trust the Lord as each day passes. The good news is that He isn’t fickle nor will He time us as we’re working on trusting Him more. He is patient with us and as we grow closer to Him, it becomes easier to build trust in Him.

You may ask, why should we trust God? My answer is simple. If you don’t trust God, you will trust in something. And God is the only one who does not change, will not betray you or I, will not leave us especially when we need Him the most, does not break promises, and we can never be separated from Him. There is a lasting peace and joy when you know you can trust Him, we feel that with some of our friends now don’t we? Well, think of God being 10 times what our beloved friends or relatives are…The Lord is the safest place I know and I’m choosing Him to trust in today. How about you? Will you begin today to build trust in God? He will be your refuge and no matter what, you can trust Him.

Outside Of His Will

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul….” I Peter 2: 11

Is there something in your life that you desire and yet, you know that this would be outside of God’s will for your life? Most of us have a bad habit or two. Some habits are just irritating, such as talking too much or laziness while others more damaging like gossiping, smoking, overeating, drinking too much, overspending, or even swearing. It’s very important that we have a constant check on ourselves, on whatever things we see or hear and do in our day to day lives. Bad habits in particular enter very stealthily into our life and before we even realize the impact, they become a part of our life and we become so addicted to it that later it becomes very difficult or nearly impossible to give it up.

“Change your hearts and stop all your sinning so sin will not bring your ruin.” Ezekiel: 18:30

The Bible warns us against surrendering to temptation. Remember temptation targets us for defeat. Complete victory over sin comes when we dislike our bad habits as much as God dislikes them. He hates anything that we make more important then Him in our lives. Build your faith today by depending on God’s power to live victoriously over trials and temptations. As we grow in our faith we have a desire to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ. When we have bad habits that hinder our witness for The Lord it stands in direct contrast with the example that Jesus Christ lived while on earth.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

When you are young it is easy to give up bad habits. But when they take hold, it becomes impossible to uproot them. Don’t wait for bad habits to grow in you, drop them while you have control over it or they will get control of you a stand between you and complete surrender to God. Matthew 6:24 “You can not serve two masters at the same time…” While bad habits won’t keep you from eternity in Heaven, they will keep you from completely and wholly serving God in your journey on earth.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31

Jesus did not die on the cross so we can just keep on doing sinful things, He died a cruel death so that we can “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) If we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, the Lord will show us what is acceptable. He will give us the power to live victoriously over trials and temptations. To conquer the bad habits in your life, surrender your whole selves unto Him, pray and count your many, many blessings!

Father, forgive me if I have allowed any bad habits to take root in my life that are not pleasing to you. Help me to keep myself an example of You. In Your name, Amen

Sweet Blessings

Serving The Lord With Excellence

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

How does a Christian develop a spirit of excellence in a day when almost anything can be passed off as good enough? Excellence does not necessarily mean the absence of mistakes. There is a difference between striving for perfection versus endeavoring to be excellent. Achieving excellence is an impossible task without the love of our Lord. A person who strives for excellence doesn’t give up when he makes mistakes, and he doesn’t avoid tasks for fear of failure. The true goal of excellence is to do the best you can with what you have at every moment.

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8

Excellence means giving your maximum in everything that you do. Many people give their minimum to God. We are called to strive for excellence in order to be the best testimony for the Lord that we can be. Non-Christians are watching to see what kind of a difference Jesus is making in your life; you can point others to Him by being diligent in your tasks. Do you know you can do God’s work shoddily, and in the process stir up His anger against you? Our Lord Jesus Christ served God with passion. His zeal was overwhelming. Jesus would have been doing everything with His whole heart so that the Father may be glorified.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Excellence is a reflection of the God we serve. Always remember that to pursue excellence in your works is to rely on the grace of God’s hand in all you do. To be excellent at whatever God has called you to do, you must first ask for His strength to accomplish the task and His endurance to complete it. Prayer is an important part of pursing excellence; you cannot do it on your own. Excellence cannot be achieved by personal merit, but only through divine grace. His divine power has granted this to us, but we must come to Him in prayer. Make a commitment to excellence today! Strive to be a faithful bearer of the image of a perfect God.

Lord, help me to walk excellently before You in speech and in service so that I may be more effective in your ministry to others. Thank you for the perfect example that you sent us in Your Son. Help us to be worthy of our task. In your Name, Amen

Sweet Blessings

Walk The Talk

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” I John 3:17-18

Being a child of God brings with it some awesome responsibilities. One of the most troublesome is that it is not enough to just “Talk the talk” we are required to “Walk the walk,” following in the foot steps of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. That means that we have to back up our talk with action. We can say all we want about how loving we are, but the real proof is in our actions. If God’s love is a motivating force in our life, then helping others is going to be a natural by-product. It is much easier for us to testify about Our Lord and Savior than to proclaim Him through our lifestyle. Yet we are called to do both. Not because it earns us points, or favor, with Our Heavenly Father; but, because that is the way He calls us to be.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18 NIV

James writes, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” It is easy to praise God with our words but dishonor Him with our actions. God places opportunities in each of our days to shine His light and walk in His ways. You just never know what taking those opportunities to show the Love of God will do in just one person’s life not to mention what it can do for your own relationship with our Heavenly Father. Don’t miss those opportunities and don’t miss out on your own drawing nearer to the Father.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

A lifetime of talking about our faith, can be undone, in a moment in another person’s eyes by our actions. Works can’t save you, but they are a surefire way to show that you’re saved. You can talk the talk, quote the Scriptures, and say “Hallelujah!” all you want, but if your life bears no fruit, your words are virtually valueless. Don’t just say you love others, show that you love others. Ask yourself this question: Are you walking the walk or just talking the talk? Choose to let your actions reflect your words and not just be a hearer of the Word, but a doer! Make a commitment to Christ to put some action behind your faith!

Father, you have blessed me with so much. Help me to be wise and compassionate to those that you bring across my path. I pray that others see your love that dwells in me. Amen

Sweet Blessings

“But For The Grace Of God…”

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 NIV

We’re all guilty of being critical of other’s. It’s so easy for us to judge others because they are different then us. We often see other people as sinners and ourselves as saints. When, in reality, we are just as big of a mess as they are. We forget our sin without any difficulty while pointing fingers at other’s sins. We judge on appearances, we judge based on attitudes and temperaments on education or employment, and on social status. The truth is none of us are saints. We are sinners saved by grace! God will hold us all accountable for being judgmental.

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NIV

Self-respect is the key to self-esteem. We should follow Jesus’ example, He extended love and grace to everyone. He looked past the sins of others; He looked beyond the rough edges of fishermen, tax collectors, and adulterers and reached into their hearts. He interceded for those who hung on the cross beside Him, asking, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they do.” He interceded for everyone despite all the sin they were mired in. He never once judged or criticized.

“Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 ESV

Jesus set an example for us to follow. We cannot hope to feel good about ourselves unless we are living a life of respect that values others above yourself. God did not give us knowledge/discernment for self-righteous elevation. Our godly character should give us a greater capacity to love. When you hear yourself putting someone down, stop and lift them up in prayer instead. Let us always thank God for His grace and extend His magnificent love to others. Never forgetting the simple phrase, “But for the grace of God go I.”

Lord, I ask you to keep me humble. Help me to keep my eyes focused on my own behavior and to show your love through my actions. I ask this in Your name, Amen

Sweet Blessings