A Noble Heart

By Georgia (Jo) Kent
 
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23 NIV
 
Matthew tells us that the one who produces a good crop from his life is the one who hears the word and understands it. Jesus identified the soil of the heart as important in spiritual growth. If the soil is rocky or filled with weeds the seed of the Word of God cannot spring up and bear fruit. But if the soil is good then we bring forth an abundant crop of spiritual fruit. It is our job as Christians to make sure the soil of our heart is good soil and prepared to receive our Father’s teachings. 
 
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12
 
Without perseverance a farmer would only produce a very limited crop from any sowing of seed. Farming requires diligent attention to the conditions in which the seed is sowing so that it will grow successfully. Then it needs protecting and caring for throughout the growing period until the time of harvest. Perseverance is an essential requirement for fruitfulness. And so it is in with us. God sows many seeds in our lives. Seeds that He wants us to nurture and bring to harvest so that others will know the love of our Father through us. 
 
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15 NIV
 
How do you cultivate a heart on good soil? Repent of any bitterness, unforgivness, anger, or any other sin that is hardening your heart! Seek the power of God to search your heart thoroughly and completely to root out all the weeds that hinder cultivating good soil. Cultivating good soil is a daily task; weeds spring up out of nowhere to hinder our growth. Satan throws everything he can in our way to ruin and contaminate our soil. Work tirelessly to keep the weeds away from your soil. God calls us to cultivate the soul of our spiritual garden and to follow it through to completion to harvest time. Cultivate your life in Him and He will produce His fruit through you!
 
Father, Thank you for the seeds you have sown in our lives. Help us to press through to completion so the crops from our life will bear good fruit for Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.
 
Sweet Blessings

Take Heart

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

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

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

Attitude Of Gratitude

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16

Nothing promotes health of body and soul more than a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings; as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house?

Do you have an attitude of gratitude? Do you remember to say thank you to God whenever He does something for you; answering a prayer, sending a friend to comfort you, helping you solve a problem creatively, or granting you wisdom? Naturally it isn’t difficult to give thanks when blessings are being showered on us. But the Bible says to give thanks in everything. How do we give thanks when trouble is overwhelming us? Hebrews 13 discusses giving a “sacrifice of praise.” Praise becomes a sacrifice when we thank God in times of trouble.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:5-7

Gratitude goes deeper than thanksgiving. It says that I have my priorities in order. That I love the One who blesses me even more than His blessings. When you are depressed, make a list of your blessings; it will change your focus. Choose to fill your mind and thoughts with your blessings. Feeling an appreciation for those blessings can change the way you feel and brighten your spirit during difficult times. Having a grateful heart during tough times is a tremendous testimony to others of God’s grace. As believers we always have something to be thankful for. Through the gift of His Son, Jesus, we have a loving relationship with God that will last forever. His mercies are new every morning, and we have the assurance of knowing we are never alone.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love is eternal.” Psalm 136:1

Ask God how He can use you to make a difference in the lives of others. Although our needs may have multiplied, there are many who lack even the basic necessities. Our God will guide and provide if we are willing to serve. There are life-lifting benefits of an “Attitude of Gratitude. So with hearts filled with gratitude and contentment, let’s not forget the gracious gifts of the Most High God.

“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”

Dear Father, thank you for all the many blessings you give to me every day here on earth. Please give me a thankful heart and may I remember your Word that reminds me to give thanks in all circumstances. Gratefully in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Sweet Blessings

Eagles Wings

BY Georgia (Jo) Kent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Blessings

Amazing Grace

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“But He said to me, My grace is enough for you for My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ may rest upon me.”2 Corinthians 12: 9

I don’t know about you, but one of the greatest longings in my heart is to experience God’s presence and working in my life on a daily basis. Nothing has the power to change us from within like the freedom that comes through grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Its not simply leniency for when we have sinned. It is the enabling gift of God not to sin. It is power, not just pardon.

“Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

God’s grace carries us in our weakness, He loves us and desires for for us to succeed and reach our Devine destiny. He always gives us the opportunity to get it right. Redemption is by grace. Calling is by grace. Justification is by grace. Even the faith by which one believes is by grace. Grace makes us joint heirs with Christ; ‘We get what He paid for’ Grace meets us where we are but it never leaves us where it found us.

“May grace and peace which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts be multiplied to you in the full, personal, precise, and correct knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1: 2

I truly love living under Gods grace. It doesn’t mean I can sin and move on with life as if nothing happened. It means that God will accept me in spite of sin in my life. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver. How beautiful is God’s amazing grace that comes through Jesus Christ. What a constant comfort to those who have great needs to know that there is an endless supply of grace that comes from the Savior. Grace comes in like the waves of the ocean. As soon as one wave is past then next wave is rolling in.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” Romans 16:20

Sweet Blessings

Counting Our Sins

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” Hebrews 4:13

I know God is displeased when we deliberately sin, but sometimes, we sin without even realizing it, not just by doing something wrong, but by failing to do something right. We may ignore someone who needs our help or encouragement, for example, or we may fail to pray for them or overlook their needs. So Is God displeased even when we don’t realize we have sinned? The answer is yes, because all sin is wrong in His eyes, and even if we don’t acknowledge it as sin, God sees it and knows that we have sinned. The Bible seems to indicate that there are degrees to sin, that some are more detestable to God than others. However, when it comes to the eternal consequences of sin, they are all the same, every sin, every act of rebellion.

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 6:16-19

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2

We need to understand why God is displeased when we sin. He knows that whenever we sin, we are hurting ourselves, as well as others. He hates sin because it’s contrary to his perfect and holy nature. Therefore He hates anything that separates us from his perfect love. Know that God is aware and caring even when those bad things come your way. Sometimes you have done everything right when things go wrong. Stop beating yourself up when you know you have been obedient. It is merely God’s test to see if you will continue to be obedient to him. Ask God, through his Holy Spirit to help you to recognize the sin in your life. Remember…God hates sin but he does not hate the sinner!

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10

Sweet Blessings