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

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Battling Spiritual Warfare

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

To often in our lives we find ourselves being attacked by the enemy of this world. The enemy knows that he cannot steal our salvation; but what he tries to do is hold us captive by having control over certain aspects of our lives such as our emotions and fears to name a few. Many Christians wonder about the struggles they have in their lives, their personal spiritual warfare. Why are things so hard? What are they doing wrong? Is there some particular prayer technique or spiritual discipline that will make things work?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Today we live in a perpetual battlefield and God is our only safety net. Spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy’s lies that he sends our way. God rescued us from the power and bondage of the world, the flesh, the devil, and supernaturally empowered us with the light of His truth, love, and Holy Spirit. Through the Word of God and the power of prayer we, as believers, have the legal authority to tell the enemy that he has no power in our lives.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

Praise God that we are not alone. At those times, when we are called to do something far beyond our own physical and emotional ability, we learn a deeper dependence on Christ. He has promised not to leave us unequipped and alone in the struggle against Satan and sin. We can resist the schemes of Satan and remain firm in our faith through His promises. Claim hold of the truths of God with confidence, knowing that no attack of Satan can ever overcome the power of our God!

Father, I stand on Your Word, which says that “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.” I rest in You, my Father. Amen.

Sweet Blessings

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.”

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

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

Sweet Rest

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Have you ever noticed that, when you are going through a major trial or a stressful time in your life that it always seems to get worse in the middle of the night? I can’t tell you the number of times over the years I find myself waking up in the middle of the night and my mind starts flitting from one thought to another. There’s never a shortage of issues and concerns! And, of course, the thoughts are rarely about the positive things in your life. It’s usually about the darkest and gloomiest things that you remember as you lay there trembling, fretting, and worrying! This is the time that we need god’s tangible presence to comfort our fears.

“Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.” Psalms 30:5

During those long unsettled hours during the middle of the night when you lay there and all the sad and fearful things start creeping into your thoughts, remember, this is the times when God promises in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Try turning on a quiet sermon or some peaceful praise and worshipful music that will take the focus of your mind off your fears and put it on to God. Write your thoughts down on paper; sometimes this helps you to face each fear, one at a time. Open your bible and read and study the encouraging word. God uses all of these things to brighten your heart, relax your mind, and light up the darkness. “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalms 18:28 This is one of those uplifting Bible verses that is like a big HUG. God is a healer of every issue that we have. He relieves us from fear and worry and he doesn’t judge or cast blames, He understands and comforts us.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Remember this…The storm always settles into quiet, the darkest dusk always leads to dawn, The long and bleak winter always melts to springtime, and the tide always turns. Hold on.

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

Sweet Blessings

Wisdom Of Patience

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness Love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7

AAH… Patience. If you were to ask me the top things I struggle with in my life, patience would definitely rank at the top. I am not sure why, but I definitely struggle with patience. Patience is one of those attributes that you cannot learn by reading about it in a book. It’s a quality that can only be acquired by persistent enduring. It is a form of peace, the very result we so often seek but struggle to find. When we are patient, we are still, we are at rest. Patience is a virtue, a gift we give ourselves. There is no limit to patience and it costs nothing. It has nothing to do with the physical body; it is purely a state of mind.

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4

It is very difficult to truly and honestly serve God faithfully and obediently without being a patient person who is willing to wait for the right thing at the right time. We often make many wrong decisions without patiently waiting for God’s answer that results in a bigger mess then when we started.

Our frustrations in life can give us a glimpse into our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit shows us what an important element in the christian life and character patience is. The waiting is to teach us our absolute dependence upon God’s mighty working in our lives. Being patient is a consistent faithful service to God. Learn how to hone your patience and witness the perfect harmony and balance of patience in your life that God has planned for you.

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy.” Colossians 1:11

Sweet Blessings

Enduring, Hoping, and Waiting

by Kim McDougal

“For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.” – Romans 15:4 AMP

Waiting on the Lord…hmmm, that’s a hard one for me at times. However, that’s part of learning to endure, hope, and trust in the Lord. The fact is, He knows much better than me anyway so why is waiting on Him so hard? Mainly, because I’m uncomfortable. Notice I used the words, “I was uncomfortable…” See, when we make life about us, we miss out on what God is trying to do. For example, when we first moved to Florence, we were living in a bad situation. All I could do is dream every second that God would deliver us out. But He didn’t until four months later. We had to go through so much injustice during that time, but when God moved and we were able to live in a better place it gave us so much more appreciation for those first four months. Had we not gone through that trial, I’m not sure I would cherish where I am now. Also, there were so many details that God had to work out to get us where we are now and those plans couldn’t have been orchestrated  any sooner than the four months. What makes this story even more incredible is that our bills in our new place are lower than where we were those four months! Isn’t God good? Too bad, we don’t realize this until AFTER the deliverance comes!

We must change this, don’t you think? God’s word is written to help us endure trials WITH HOPE that we know our Lord hears, sees all we go through, and has a perfect plan for each of us. We have to be willing to wait on Him with hope. He will NEVER let us down, He will NEVER break a promise to us. His plans are absolutely perfect for us. “Father God, help us to keep hope while we endure and wait on your perfect timing for all our situations. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”