From Busy To Fruitful

By Georgia (Jo) Kent
 
“Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
 
As busy people, we often find it difficult to be still. Whether we work, volunteer, stay home with kids, or are retired, we are busy running from one thing to the next without much time in between. We hardly have time to accomplish what is required of us in a given day, let alone find time for ourselves or for God! However, the reality is that, without His help we cannot be all that He created us to be; and all that others need us to be. The travesty is that we allow the busyness of life to crowd out the Source of life. As the Psalmist wrote; “We are merely moving shadows and all our busy rushing ends in nothing…” Psalm 39:6  Just like any other relationship in our lives, to sustain a healthy relationship with God; we have to make time to connect with Him one-on-one. This can be done through prayer, bible study and worship, and can be done any time or anywhere. 

 “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
 
Often God has to shut a door in our lives so that He can subsequently open the door that He wants us to go through. There are times in life when you want to be surrounded by other people, in the thick of it, when you are ready and willing to jump into whatever life throws at you. And then there are other times when you want to hide yourself away and take refuge. You want to go to a remote place where the only one who can find you is God. There’s never a point when you reach full spiritual maturity and you don’t have to grow anymore. There is nothing in or of this world that can compete with knowing God and who He is through Jesus Christ. You can’t have one foot in the world and one foot in the faith and be growing as a Christian. God doesn’t want us to be busy; He wants us to be fruitful! Take time to go from busy to fruitful…a place God intends for you to be. Be still and remain in His presence.
 
“You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your word to renew me.” Psalms 119:114
 
Father, please help us to remember to make room for You in our dailey lives so that we can and be all that you created us to be for those who rely on us. Thank you for all that you do in and through us. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen
 
Sweet Blessings

Worthy Of Your Calling

By Georgia (Jo) Kent
 
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2
 
How monumental is the command that we walk in a manner worthy of God. Stop and consider His divine perfection, there is nothing to equal Him! The good we do is God at work within us. It doesn’t matter if our calling is a stay at home mom, a wife or a career mom, the point is that we live worthy of whatever it is God has called us to be. It means being honorable and admirable at all times and telling the truth when a lie looks so much easier. It means saying no when everything within you wants to say yes and loving when you’d rather hate. It means giving God what you have and trusting Him for the rest and giving your time when it would be easier not to. It means being like Christ.
 
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
 
Sometimes we dwell too much on our own weaknesses. It is easy to dwell on the feelings that we are unworthy. Unless we learn to look at ourselves like God looks at us, we will never reach the potential that He has for us. The devil bombards our mind, and he comes against us in every way and tries to condemn us and make us say bad things about ourselves. But we need to realize that we are a child of God and dearly beloved by Him. Therefore, walk worthy of His call. When discouragement comes, stand firm in your faith, and God will mold you into an instrument of His love to others.
 
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
 
God has called you to be a light of His love and forgiveness to a world locked away in utter darkness. Are you doing your best to walk in a manner worthy of the sacrifice that has been made for you, Holy, acceptable to God? If not, begin today by the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus our Lord and begin to cultivate the life of faith in you. Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”
 
Father, Please help us to be worth of our calling. Help our actions and words glorify You and point others to Your amazing love. Help us to lift up those around us and challenge those who know You to pursue Your heart more passionately. In Your Precious Name. Amen. 
 
Sweet Blessings

Remember the Good Past

by Kim McDougal

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits. – Psalms 103:2 (AMP)

There’s definitely things in our past that we want to forget and some circumstances we do need to put behind us. But there are things done in the past by our God we should remember, especially when we’re in the midst of a battle or if we’re waiting on God for an answer to a long-awaited prayer. It helps build our faith to remember how the Lord delivered us in the past. And, it helps keep our focus on God and not on the situation. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore and it’s a wonderful thing for me to remember that when He helped me yesterday, there’s no reason to believe He won’t help me today.

Everyday has new challenges and our God is ready to handle them all. His mercies are new every day. You and I need a fresh, new anointing each day to deal with unforeseen circumstances. The Lord knows exactly what we need every second. If we go into our past to bring anything up, let’s bring up all the blessings, miracles, and answered prayers and nothing else!

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

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

God’s Amazing Grace

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

Grace…unmerited, boundless, free. Our Fathers amazing gift of grace. What joy to enter the covenant of grace! More than we deserve and greater than we imagine. Our faith teaches us that grace can only come from God and is only made available to us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. It is completely unmerited and totally undeserved.

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

It’s both a mystery and a miracle to me that each day, God causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil. He does not separate them. He allows His grace to shine on both. Each year, He brings rain to the righteous and the unrighteous. He does not distinguish between them, but rather God refreshes it all. It’s a wonderful way of applying grace to an undeserving world full of undeserving people.

We will never do everything perfectly while we’re here on this earth, there will always be room for growth. Learning to live a grace filled life requires us to look at others and extend the same spirit of grace that God extends to us. If we don’t live grace filled lives we are treating God’s grace, love, kindness, mercy and patience with contempt. It’s like saying to God, “I only value You when it applies to me.”

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

The best way to know which areas of your life you need to focus on is not to compare yourself with others, but to slow down a bit and allow the Lord to speak into your life regarding areas that need attention. Some of the best ways to do that is to spend time daily in the Word. Read, pray, and listen to the still small voice of God. Let His word transform you today so that you may share God’s amazing grace with others.

Heavenly Father, May we live grace filled lives that extend grace and love to others. May we be patient, kind and merciful to those who see differently then we do. Help us to be shining examples of your amazing grace. In Your precious name, Amen

Sweet Blessings

Am I the Problem or the Solution?

by Kim McDougal

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. -Psalm 139:23 (KJV)

We’ve heard it said before, “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.” It truly means that if you see a problem but instead of looking for a solution, you egg the problem on then you’re not helping the situation. In our Christian walk, we should always take the time to examine our own heart and motives. God sees this and this is how He judges. He doesn’t care how good we look on the outside, He’s looking at our heart.

When we refuse to see that we may be causing distress rather than leaving our problems with God, we make life much more difficult. I had a real problem with complaining. I didn’t look at my blessings, all I could see was my trials and rather than tell God, ask Him to help me, I much rather complain and complain to other people which in turn caused them to retreat from me. For, who wants to be around someone who complains about how their life is so bad all the time? God had to deal with me on this, plus I brought on a lot of physical and emotional pain to myself and the more we won’t see ourselves and allow God to change us, the further we get from Him and from the solution.

Maybe someone has hurt, disappointed, or even lied about you. Possibly there’s a problem with a family member or friend. But, look at yourself today. You nor I are perfect. We sin, we make mistakes, we need God. If you’re pointing a finger at someone, don’t forget the three fingers pointing back at you. If you want a trial in your life to go away, you must first let God change your heart. The problem may still exist, but if you’re not reacting badly to it, it won’t have any power over you. And, when you’re not thinking about it, the problem usually vanishes.

It’s Just Stuff!

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…” Psalm 19:1-4

Why do we always want more? Why can’t we ever be satisfied with all that we have? Why do we always feel the need for bigger, better, prettier, wealthier? No matter the cost we are always wanting and working for more. More things that cost us so dearly, often robbing us of our precious time and energy. Things that have very little value…Just ‘stuff’.

Oh! But look what all we are blessed with; We have tree’s taller than buildings, houses that are warm and cozy, food to fill up plates and have seconds to spare. We can go barefoot in the lush green grass in summer and play on snowcap mountains in winter. We have kittens and puppies who curl up in our laps with contentment. We have stars that twinkle and sunsets that paint the sky rainbows of colors. We have melodic sounds of birds singing and the wonderful smells of lavander, jasmine and honeysuckle. There are deep echoing canyons and babbling brooks and the ocean with all its wonders. We have family and friends to love and enjoy. We have eyes that crinkle at the edges from lifetimes of smiling and laughter…We have beautiful, priceless laughter!

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal:” Mathew 6:19

God gave us all that we could ever need to be wealthy, healthy, happy and whole. We simply need to stop living for the ‘stuff’ in our lives long enough to realize that He gave us so much more. Enjoy the beauty of all that He created, It is His gift to us. He knows each star in the heavens and each bird in the air. How much more does He care for you? We often rush too quickly through life to even notice the beauty and richness that surrounds us. His fingerprints are in all of creation and we are wealthy…very, very, wealthy!

Father, thank You for all you have Created for us. You gave us so much more then we could ever buy, collect or earn. Help us to be ever mindful of the richness and beauty of all that surrounds us. Help us to desire ‘stuff’ less and love ‘You’ more. We praise your wholly name, Amen.

Sweet Blessings