Journaling Through The Word

 

Gods jounaling

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

Devotional journaling, also known as spiritual journaling, is an exciting way to enhance your spirituality. In devotional journaling you write to God. Spiritual journaling is more than keeping a diary where you log the events of your life. It’s a place where you share your innermost thoughts with God. As you become more comfortable and skilled in doing that, you will sense God’s direction for your life as he leads you in his ways. He wants to give you understanding about the circumstances in your life. So when you journal, don’t be afraid to explore what comes to your mind. Don’t push it away. Write down all your feelings and tell the Lord things you would never tell anyone else. Don’t hold back anything, because God already knows what’s in your heart.

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalms 119:11

Journaling isn’t exact and everyone has their own unique way of doing it. The important thing is to do it regularly. When we write things down, it helps us to remember them better and it gives us a place to go back to if we forget. Keeping a devotional journal is an excellent spiritual discipline. When you are facing challenging times, you can leaf through your entries and see how God has blessed you and carried you through trouble. When things are going well, your journal can gently remind you about your need to rely upon God and to be thankful for all he has done.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;” Colossians 3:16

Journaling can also be a form of worship. In solitude, we can explore the blessing of writing our hearts to God. Consider keeping a prayer journal. Grab a pen and a notebook and get started! I suggest beginning by reading Proverbs during your quiet time. As you read, meditate and pray and write down the verses that stir your heart. Journaling is a tool that allows you to work through all your emotions that you could never find a safe place to put them. There is more to explore in your devotional journal than you could ever cover in a lifetime. God’s power and majesty are infinite, and he wants to be a part of every area of your life.

Precious Father, I ask that you give us all a heart to journal so that we may have a deeper and more profound relationship with you. Help us to commit to journaling and open our hearts and minds to receive all of your many blessings in your word. I ask this in your wonderful name. Amen

Sweet Blessings

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Let Go and Let God

by Kim McDougal

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 KJV

I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for all our readers. You may even know my moving to Oregon story and, if so just bear with me as I explain why I’m telling it again. Last night as I was praying, I realized that I had really experienced trauma that spanned close to five years. And I’ll explain what I mean later in this post.

Trauma comes in different ways: surviving a criminal attack, losing a loved one, divorce, physical/mental/sexual abuse, natural disaster, loss of income, war, health problems definitely qualifies as traumatic. But there are other events that fall under trauma too like: breakdown in a relationship with family, disappointments in life, problems on the job, not knowing our purpose, and many others. The thing is that we don’t always understand that when we go through traumatic experiences we MUST give our trauma to God. We must tell Him how we feel, give Him our tears, fears, anger, frustration, even confusion. He never minds us asking Him “Why”? Now, He may give a reason or He may not. I think of Job who didn’t know what was going on in Heaven at the time, but He just kept trusting God that there was a good reason for his suffering and at the end he was definitely rewarded. But, do you think he went on after that feeling like a victim? I’d like to think NOT!

Getting over bad experiences is hard for us humans. Our nerves are affected, we don’t quite see life the same way anymore. The past few years in Florida was incredibly hard for my husband and I. We lost our income after the economy decline. After that, a host of problems ensued:

  1. We got behind on the rent to the point of threat of eviction and we couldn’t pay our bills;
  2. Received threatening letters and calls that our truck would be repossessed;
  3. We didn’t have enough work coming in and;
  4. Hubby had severe health issues on top of all this.

We still tithed what money came in and we prayed and went to church. But I will tell you, it was hard to keep our head up everyday. We never knew from day to day if it would be the last day before we would become homeless. Then it seemed to get worse because of the neighbors we had. The cops were called nearly every night because of their fights and tearing up their apartment. This happened so often that we couldn’t sleep well. My nerves were shot.

We finally got our break to move away cross country and so we did. But, when we got to our new place, new neighbors moved in next door and guess what? Fights, loud music, screaming and cursing, banging on the walls, and a whole lot more that I won’t mention. I could be working at my desk when all of a sudden the neighbor screams out the window or hits the wall, there was no peace. This was trauma we were experiencing. We’d go for walks just to get away. What’s worse is that there was no help from the landlords, they simply didn’t care and refused to do anything about the neighbors. I heard the enemy whisper in my ear: “Here you go again!, why did you come out here to experience the same thing you just moved away from?” And at that moment, I was so weak in my spirit that I didn’t answer. Three months after that, God would deliver and move us to a much quieter and beautiful apartment.

Then our downstairs neighbor recently moves and someone else comes in and we heard banging noises from her place last night just before bedtime. She looks very much like the kind of neighbors we’ve been trying to dodge. Now…I know not to judge a book by its cover. Also, isn’t she allowed a couple of days to get her furniture moved in so it stands to reason we might hear some noise until she is settled in, but you get where I’m going?

Trauma speaks to us that when we see anything even remotely like what we’ve been through we instantly think we’re about to get hurt again. Our guard is up, our nerves panic, and we are frantic! I was last night, after having such a great day. So I prayed. God spoke. “You’ve experience trauma with bad neighbors before, with bad living conditions, but that is not the way it is. Let Go and Let God.” This means I have to let go of bad past experiences. We have been delivered from that. Our income is better, our bills are paid, we can sleep at night now. The car has been paid off, God delivered us from a bad neighborhood, He gave us a wonderful, supportive church with a new church family. All this He has done for us to have that peace we so desire. It’s up to me now to resist the devil when he comes a calling to try to tell me we’re about to go through the bad all over again.

I’ve got good news for you if you’re struggling to get past trauma:

  1. First of all, the devil is liar. He’ll never tell you the truth about you or your situation so immediately tell him to get behind you in Jesus name.
  2. Quote your favorite scripture out loud, tell yourself you are a conqueror in Christ Jesus. The word makes the enemy mad and he will flee!
  3. God said: in this world we would experience troubles but to be of good cheer for He has overcome this world.
  4. We are deeply loved by our God and troubles don’t last always.
  5. When we get through trauma, it is because God was there strengthening us and sustaining us to have the victory.
  6. God is BIGGER than anything and anyone we face! He’s not in Heaven making it up as He goes along, He knows the end from the beginning.
  7. If you draw close to God, He will draw close to you. We will NEVER be separated from God again!
  8. The Lord has promised NEVER to leave you comfortless! He wants your grief and pain so that He can replace it with peace, acceptance, love, hope, and joy!
  9. God has prepared a place in Heaven after this life is over that we’re going to be with Him forever and none of this pain will exist there!
  10. God loves you and I and nothing we go through is in vain, nothing! We are rewarded by Him for sticking with Him in times of troubles.

I know what trauma feels like, BUT I know what deliverance feels like too and I choose deliverance. What will you choose today, trauma or victory?

“Father God, for every brother or sister that has or is going through bad times, I know you know all about it. I know you are the great comforter and I ask that you would help them right now. Lift them up in a way that they can give their fear, anger, and confusion over to you. Comfort them right now and let them know they are so loved by you. Help them to let go of the trauma and let you heal them inside out. Rebuke the devourer on their behalf so that the trauma can no longer taunt or torture them again. We love you Lord and thank you for delivering us, we will praise you forever, in Jesus name, Amen.”

A Heart For Compassion

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

There have been many, many times in my life when I have been sick, or sad or hurting and needed someone to show me compassion. I needed a light to shine in the darkness and I needed to feel it’s warmth in my soul. I have been so deeply blessed by a tender hug, an encouraging word or a helping hand extended out of love. God calls us to show compassion. Sympathy, tenderness, empathy, sensitivity and kindness to those who are hurting and in need.

Compassion is kindness at work and love in action. God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. He is the healer of the brokenhearted. He is the one who bandages our wounds. He is faithful and good and never fails to comfort us when the trials of life seem so hard to endure alone.

“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

The bible tells us that when Jesus came to earth, He was moved with compassion. And immediately He acted to relieve the suffering. As Christians, we need to show compassion every day. Ask God to help you see others as He sees them and to give you a heart of compassion for those who may not have a relationship with Him. There is no better way to show the love of Jesus then by having a heart for compassion.

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

Sweet Blessings

God Heals A Broken Heart

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 43:18

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt so empty you thought God had forgotten you existed? You wondered if He forgot where you lived? You just wanted to know He remembered you and your pain, your ache, your empty heart. Have you suffered from loneliness, discouragement, worry, anger, doubt, fear, guilt, temptation, resentment, failure or jealousy?

One of the most painful emotional experiences is that of a ‘broken heart’ whether it is from a severed relationship or the death of a loved one. Everyone has to deal with a broken heart at some point in life because we live in a fallen world, and, as a result, we are constantly faced with shattered dreams, unexpected losses, and hurting relationships. These ‘Goliath Giants’ plague today’s Church, causing far too many of God’s children to stumble in their walks.

‘When you’re in a dark place, 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.’

Only Jesus can heal the brokenness of our hearts. Only Jesus can restore, refresh and renew the depths of our hearts, soul and spirit. So many of us are bound in our past by unthinkable sadness, fear and anxiety. We find ourselves continually operating out of emotional deficits. God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it! Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be or not. You can choose to die of a broken heart or choose to be reborn out of the shattered pain.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

How wonderful is the love of Jesus! The breadth of his love is immeasurable. There is no part of His people’s pain that He does not consider, and there is nothing that concerns their welfare that is not important to Him. If you are struggling with emotional pain, take comfort in the fact that God has your situation as well as you in the palm of His hands. It’s during your most difficult times that your Father in Heaven leans down, wraps His arms around His child and whispers these words of comfort and Love…

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Sweet Blessing

The Power Of A Mother’s Prayer

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

‘God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.’ Jewish Proverb

One of the reasons God created mothers was to gives us an earthly example of His heavenly love for us. Each stage of motherhood reveals an aspect of His love.

Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll; are they not in your record?”Psalms 56:8

As with so many children of my generation (post war) I was an unwanted and neglected child. I had a very lonely childhood. I always knew that when I grew up that I would have my own children to fill all the empty holes in my heart. I never wavered from that dream. During my journey to adulthood I was lucky enough to be adopted and blessed enough to find Jesus as my Savior. While that sustained me, it never quite filled all the places in my heart that had never felt loved and…I prayed!

“Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalms 127:3

Becoming a mother was one of those precise moments in life that left me permanently altered. I have loved every moment of my motherhood journey. My heart fell in love with my babies long before they were in our arms! I thanked God and …I prayed!

I watched my children grow from babies, to teens, to adults, and then get married. Each step in the process filled heart to overflowing and taught me more about my own ability to function as a parent. I saw all their hurts, frustrations and pains, and listened to all their complaints, fears, and rejections. And…I prayed!

And, now it’s time for grandmother-hood. I have been a proud grandmother for many years now. I delight in watching my children parent. Through all the years, 4 children, 2 step children, 6 spouses, 14 grand children and 2 great grandchildren that all love the Lord. I can honestly say…my heart is full of love, peace and joy. And…I Pray!

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

If I were to list the many titles of a Mother it would be endless. Love your mother, cherish her and honor her…She deserves it! Remember always, your body is sacred ground. Your roots are strong. Never forget the gardeners who came before you, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, all tilled your soil with the compost of their lives. And now, you hold the seeds. Plant them deeply in the furrow of this land. What comes to you as a flower, in your final years will return as shade. And…Always Pray!

“They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.” Isaiah 61:3

A blessed and gracious Mother’s Day to all Mothers….

I Need God

by Kim McDougal

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” – Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

Everyday is a new day, full of uncertainties. I have no idea what I might have to face. I can have my agenda ready with the list of things I need to get done and one interruption changes my whole plan, what then? I realize very quickly that I need God to help me adapt and adjust. When my plans get changed and suddenly I’m thrusted into a situation that I wasn’t prepared for, I need God. I realize that I have to pray throughout my day not just in the morning when I wake up. My need for God grows more and more everyday.

He is the only one that can calm my storms, strengthen me when I have to do things I’m nervous about, and comfort me when I grieve.

Some of my good friends are going through hard times and just talking to them to try to encourage them, I need God. For my words are just words, but what God would say through me will touch them in a way I cannot. I need God.

When I have deadlines from clients, I’m not feeling well, and my task list is growing, I need God. He can help me balance it all out. He can tell me what’s important and what can wait.

When things break down in the house, or the power goes out, I get frustrated. But God can help me be patient while things get fixed. I realize how much I need God.

I fail at times, but God never fails. I’m weak, but He is strong. I struggle through life’s problems, but there is Nothing too hard for God.

When I need courage and boldness, He gives it to me to do His will.

I grieve over people and things a lot. God comes in and wraps me in His love and comforts me. He helps me come out of despair.

When someone has hurt me and I need to forgive them, God is able to help me get over the hurt, truly let it go, forgive the person, and yet earnestly pray for their well being.

Sometimes, I don’t feel like praying or praising and worshipping, I’m tired mentally or physically. But God helps me to push past my feelings, my fatigue, and He helps me sing a song of praise, or to just talk to Him.

And in the midnight hour, He is there with me keeping me safe. And I can call out to Him if I need to.

When I used to be afraid of everything, He placed me in situations to help me overcome fear. He strengthened me along the way.

When I go off the beaten path and have no idea where I’m going, He is my compass and sets my paths straight.

When I need an attitude adjustment, He knows just how to chastise me to get my thinking right.

No concern can I ever bring to Him that He doesn’t know how to handle. In Him is the solution.

Everyday, I realize how frail I am as a person and it only makes me realize how much I need God.

He is My Comforter

by Kim McDougal

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles.” – II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

When we’re down or in difficult circumstances, we need comfort. But it’s important to know we don’t just need any kind of comfort. It’s so much easier to receive comfort from someone who has the power or authority to bring that comfort. For example, the doctor that says your test results are negative, the firemen that put out the fire without it doing real damage to your house.

God is our Great Comforter and He knows just what to do and say to us at the right time when we need encouragement. When I think back over my life, it was those lowest times when I thought I had nothing to live for where God truly would do something to help me hang on. It could be that I received a card in the mail from a friend to tell me they were thinking of me. Perhaps, someone was led to call me to just pray for me over the phone. Maybe, I went to the grocery store and the cashier gave me the biggest smile that delighted my heart. Believe me, these are NOT coincidences. God uses people to lift up our souls when we need it.

Today, if you’re feeling blue, just ask the Great Comforter to uplift you and then begin to look around. You will see His hand moving to help you and carry you onward.