His Presence In The Darkness

By Georgia (Jo) Kent
 
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
 
Do you need to know that the Lord has not forgotten about you? Are you desperate for a glimmer of hope in a world that seems to be falling apart? Are you in need of a light at the end of the tunnel? There is a world full of people who long for the safety and presence of Jesus but they need a beacon to guide them. God’s love shines constantly upon us, an ever-faithful Presence. When your faith walk seems dark and God feels far away, when darkness and pain arrive, the ability to recognize God’s presence makes an immense difference. The peace and presence of Jesus in your heart banishes fear, restores faith and lifts spirits.
 
“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” Psalms 118:28 NIV
 
Think about the difference between light and darkness and its relationship to God’s presence in our lives. While in darkness, we walk carefully. In the light, we walk in confidence. While the darkness gives us fear, light gives us security. Knowing that Christ is with us in struggle and darkness is one of the only reasons we don’t completely surrender to our fears and stop moving forward. There will come a time that you may find yourself sitting in the dark, remember that living in the light requires time in God’s Word and time in His Presence. Though the future looks bleak and the outcomes uncertain, there is peace in resting in the light of the Lord. It is in His light that we can find courage and strength to face tomorrow.
 
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 John 1:5-6 NIV
 
Though the world may look bleak and the situations in your own life may be dark, remember that Jesus came to this world to bring hope where there was despair. Our Savior will come and bring light and cheer to our heavy heart. One of the greatest blessings we have to look forward to in Christ is the ability to dwell in a new heaven and earth with Him as our light. A place where we will no longer feel darkness surrounding us filled with pain, sadness and sin. We will see clearly because of the bright Presence of our Lord. When you find yourself in darknesss and at your lowest and you need hope, think of some other beautiful things accomplished in the dark: a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb…the Cross. 
 
Father, give us the faith to help us in our weakness. Help us trust in Your Presence when we face situations that overwhelm us. Help us to remember that You are here with us as our shield. In Your Precious 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

Out Of The Darkness

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18

There are so many Christians today that live in their painful pasts, shadowing the present that stands before them. Never moving forward for fear of falling backwards. Finding true freedom in Christ requires letting go completely of the past that binds us to the pain. Sadly, many of us aren’t able to do that. Though we know intellectually Christ has freed us, our memories haunt us, and we repeatedly revisit our past and all the things we did wrong. Some things we’ve kept to ourselves and pray that no one ever finds out. Some things have left us so damaged we cant see a way out. We tuck all the shame, pain and fears deep down inside our heart and pray that we can forget. When present events trigger a reaction in you that takes you back to that unhappy time and the pain returns, we forget we have been set free.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Letting go of the past not only helps you to live your best life now, but also paves the way for future success. The past is gone, but every time you give thought to it you bring it back into the present moment and you loose sight of the way out. Unhappy or hurtful past events can bring heartache, depression, and destructive behavior into your life if you don’t learn how to release them and let them go. Whatever holds you hostage keeps you from enjoying a deeper, fuller relationship with Christ. Surrendering your past is not about dwelling on the things you did. It’s about putting it under the blood of Jesus and focusing on the One who looks beyond those things into your heart.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Holding onto the mistakes and failures of our past stays with us and contaminates our future. To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and the fears and the disappointments of the past that all bind our spirit. Peace of mind comes from living in the moment and not the past. We can’t focus our minds on Jesus and what He can do for us while we’re focusing our minds on our past and what we’ve done. Give your blessings the same amount of weight that you are tempted to give your troubles. Everyone has a past. The past can not equal the future unless you live there. By the grace of God lay your past mistakes at the feet of Jesus, walk into the light and begin a new life free of bondage to your past.

“Dear Father, help us to resolve any and all unresolved issues from the past and let go of any hurt, anger, grief, fears, and resentment. Help us to be free to fully live and fully love. Thank you for setting us free. in Jesus Name. Amen.

Sweet Blessings

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

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

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

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

The Source Of My Strength

By Georgia (Jo) Kent

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I am one of those women that never say’s ‘no’ to anyone. I don’t really know why except that I have a heart to serve. I love being busy. On occasion, I find my ‘yeses’ extending beyond my ‘no’s’ Before I know what has happened! I am completely out of fuel, emotionally and mentally tired beyond belief. Sometimes I even feel a little spiritually depleted. It’s during these times, when we allow ourselves to become so exhausted, that we feel insecure and vulnerable. Things that wouldn’t necessarily bother you before are getting to you now because you are sensitive and you don’t understand why. Maybe we find ourselves reacting to situations with a more defensive attitude, feeling impatient or angry. How many of us experience these moment in our lives,? When we realize that we ‘did it again!’ We found ourselves with empty cups at a time when we need them full the most.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

Remember this…I am weak. He is strong. Being reminded of your weakness is not a bad thing. It is not a personal message that you are not good enough. Rather, being reminded of your weakness is a call to spend time in God’s presence. It is a personal message of our need for him. It’s through His grace that you can continue to run the race of life. We can relish those times; sit and dwell in the fact that despite ourselves, despite our inabilities and inadequacies, our God makes us strong. He gives us energy for the day. He prepares our body for our needs and He sustains our mind with peace. He restores our soul with confidence. He prepares our heart and wraps it over and over in love.

Are you tired? Exhausted? Drained and just ready to take a nap and call it quits? Meet with Him. He will refresh and renew you, enabling you to go out into the world to serve your family and friends filled with a newfound sense of His peace, love, and joy. I encourage you to cherish this time because it reminds us that when we are vulnerable, we have a source to go to that will make everything right. Instead of beating ourselves up for letting our cups get empty, let’s be thankful, it’s during these times that reminds us who refuels us, who restores our soul and replace’s our weariness with strength, our resentment with thanksgiving, our irritability with patience, and our anxiety with peace.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28

Sweet Blessings