Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How Will You Finish?

by Dave

Today's Scripture:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  (2 Timothy 4:7, NIV.)
Today's Word:
So often when people make mistakes, they get down on themselves and think, “If only…” “I should have…” “What if…?” It’s easy to feel like you’ve missed the best plan for your life. That’s when people get discouraged and stop pursuing their God-given dreams. But understand today, just because you’ve made a mistake or failed in some way doesn’t cancel God’s plan. God never disqualifies you. He never says, “Go sit on the sidelines. You’ve blown it too many times. You’ve got too many weaknesses.” No, God always gives you another chance!
Some of the great people in the Bible made very poor choices. The apostle Paul started off as a murderer, yet his destiny was bigger than his mistakes. He ended up becoming a great leader and writing over half of the New Testament.
What am I saying? Our mistakes, our failures, our poor choices don’t have to keep us from our God-given destiny. With God, it’s not about the way you start in life, it’s about the way you finish. Receive His grace today and embrace the bright future He has in store for you!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 3 - To a Community of Faith

by Bonnie (Where Can Broken Hearts Go?)

On Christmas Day, just five days after finding out about my husband’s affair, someone gave me a guide. It was a spouse’s guide for a support group and suggested I come to one of the meetings at a church in Orlando. This group was for women who had been betrayed by their husbands through sexual sin and additions.

Reluctant to go, my counselor gave me the name and number of one of the ladies. She was previously a pastor’s wife and had gone through the same situation a year or so before. I made the decision to call her and see what she had to say. While sharing my pain, she said something to me that struck me that night and has stayed with me ever since. Her statement was, “I would do it all over again, the pain, all of it, for what I have today.” She was talking about her marriage and most of all her intimate relationship with the Lord! I remember saying to her, “WHAT! Are you kidding me?” I thought “How….how could that be possible!!! I feel like my guts are about to spill on the floor every second of the day. How in the world could she say she would do it ALL over again?”

I agreed to go to the support group. I was furious that I would need support, much less drive an hour, but I was willing to try anything to ease the pain and hurry my healing. I attended the first meeting in desperation! I was a MESS! My emotions were like a roller coaster. For the new people attending, we were called the “grievers” and we were split into a smaller group for people just starting the grieving process.

Well, It didn’t take long to recognize that there was a room full of women that knew what pain was, and I needed to be part of that group for healing. I can’t imagine how the journey would have gone without those ladies!

Psalm 27:4-5 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. NIV

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 31:24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

You can’t do it alone. You will need to look for support. God uses people to bring comfort and hope. Don’t look to people for the answer, but lean on them for support. They can be a wonderful comfort. People who are facing the same pain or have been through the pain of a broken heart are sometimes people God places in our path. They hold our hand and let us express the emotions that come with pain. Be very careful to find safe groups with safe people. They will keep you accountable to take care of yourself. This is probably in my top three most important things you can do when you are hurting.

Reflection: This is a tough place, to branch out and look for a safe person or group. Safe people aren’t people that tell you what they think you should do or give you demands for getting through the pain. As you learn to be more authentic with safe people you will also learn how to be more authentic with God. Don’t suffer alone. You will need a hand to hold yours. Often times, family members are not safe to walk this journey of pain with you. This might not make sense but it is because they love you so much. When you hurt, they hurt…it is hard for them to stay objective and give you wise counsel.

Prayer: Father, sometimes I find it so difficult to open up and share my pain with anyone other than you. Lord, help me to realize there are safe people. I pray you will lead me to a support group or a group at church. Show me if there is someone currently in my life I can trust. Help me to open myself up and not be scared to experience what you have made me for…. relationships. Fill my life with people to whom I can trust and be myself with. Thank you for what you are going to do through my friendships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 2 - To Acceptance

by Bonnie - (Where Can Broken Hearts Go?)

God knows the secrets of the heart; He knows if you have a broken heart - even if no one else knows it. Get real about how you feel.

Psalm 44:21, Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? (NIV)

If your heart has been broken or is broken, don’t deny it, or pretend it isn’t. Stop saying, “Everything is okay!” If you have a broken heart, admit it and accept it.

Psalm 109:22, For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. (NIV)

Reflection: I know you probably don’t feel like singing, but I can almost guarantee, if you choose a song to worship during this day, the pain may not go away, but the peace that will flood your soul will be indescribable. I found music to be very comforting for me, and when my heart was singing and praising, the chaos around me didn‘t stick to me or bring me down. Give Him your heart and soul with a song.

Prayer: God I am hurting because______________. Father, I need to feel your comfort and peace during this time. I’m not sure why I am going through such horrible heartache but I choose to thank you for what you are going to do through my broken heart. Please come close. I need you Father. I desire to feel your presence and believe you are near. Thank you for your strength, comfort and peace. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Prewired to be Imitators

by Dave
Today's Scripture:
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
(Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV.)
Today's Word:
Have you ever spent time with a small child or baby and had them mimic your every sound or action? To them it’s a fun game, but internally, they are learning by watching and copying everything you do. They just watch and do the same thing. That’s because we are all prewired to be imitators.
Just like little children, we are all still imitators. So many people today end up imitating what they see in the world, on TV, in the news and magazines. But scripture tells us that we are to be imitators of God and follow His example of love.
If you need to change your actions today, change what you are imitating by simply changing your focus. The more you focus on the Word, the more you will imitate God. And when you do things God’s way, you will get God’s results—peace, joy and blessing all the days of your life!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 1 - To The Well

by Bonnie - (Where Can Broken Hearts Go?)

Day 1 - To The “Well”

As a child I had fun outside, however my home inside had issues with addition and co-dependency. My father was a good provider. My mom was a housewife who cooked every meal and was truly our maid. My life, however, was broken. I didn’t know how broken until I started counseling. I don’t blame my parents for how I deal with issues in my life, but I do know that the experiences and feelings I had as a child have affected how I have handled life in the past and why I am trying to change how I handle life in the present and future. My past led me to be a negative and controlling wife and mom. I realized some time into my pain that my heartbreak was making me sick. I was sick physically, emotionally & mentally. But the thought of getting well didn’t come to me right away.

John 4: 13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst.

John 5: 6-9 When Jesus saw this man lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he ask him, “Do you want to get well?” The man replied “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

Reflection: Jesus is the well of living water and the beginning of healing. If we truly want to get well, it might mean we need to do some hard examining of our own lives. You might not want to hear that but it is true. I believe Jesus can heal us, just like He did the man at the Bethesda pool. Jesus has the same compassion for us as he did this man. While you might not understand why relief or a miracle has not come, you must never give up hope that God’s time to work a miracle in your life may come soon. Do you want to get well? What have you tried or not tried to ease your broken heart?

Prayer: O Jesus, Please help me recognize you. Give me the desire to get well. Have compassion on me and see my hurt. Show me ways I can move forward to walk close to you and spend time working through this deep hurt. I will do the hard work to get well. Help me to sense your leading during this time. I don’t understand the pain, but I choose to trust you. Thank you for this time of healing. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Promotion Comes From the Lord

by Dave

Today's Scripture:
“For not from the east nor from the west nor from the south come promotion and lifting up. But God is the Judge! He puts down one and lifts up another.”
(Psalm 75:6-7, AMP.)
Today's Word:
Have you ever noticed that people tend to act differently around those they think can do something for them—people who appear to have status, wealth or influence in life? I believe that the way we treat people is a test. At times, God will bring people across your path that may seem insignificant. They may not appear to be able to do anything for you, but in reality, they are divinely linked to your destiny. They hold the key to your promotion and increase. Will you treat them with respect and honor even if you think they can’t do anything for you?
The truth is, the people that we’re playing up to or trying to win their favor may be the ones that will open a door for us. But, they don’t hold the key to your destiny. Promotion doesn’t come from them. Promotion comes from God. And God will use the most unlikely people to open doors of opportunity for you—a hotel bellman, a maid, an intern, or an unpopular kid at school. Let’s pass the test and treat everyone like Jesus put them in our path because He probably did. Remember, God is watching and promotion comes from Him.

Monday, December 9, 2013

But The LORD Delivers

by Bonnie

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous,But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Now notice what the promise is: “He is near and He saves.” The word “near” means God shows up. It speaks of a personal relationship with God. That relationship begins the moment you receive Jesus Christ into your life. “Near” has these ideas:

1. God is attracted to those who have a broken heart and turn to Him in faith as the only hope.

2. God is available at any time, all the time for healing.

3. God is accessible. You can go directly to Him with every need, every hurt, every wound.

4. God is able. Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”

He has the power, He has the resources to heal You and bring you out of where you are emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

In Psalm 34:19, “Many” means much! The word “afflictions” means bad, sad, unhappy, unpleasant, giving pain, malignant, hurtful.

The word “delivers” means He delivers! He brings you out of the pit! He gives you the victory!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Don't Let the Storm In

by Dave
Today's Scripture:
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
(Mark 4:39, NKJV.)
Today's Word:
Have you ever thought about the fact that a boat can be surrounded by water, sailing through a vast ocean with water for miles in every direction, but it’s not any problem unless the boat starts taking on the water? If the boat starts allowing the ocean to come inside, before long, it will sink.
The same principle is true in life. You can have trouble all around you—stress, frustration and worry. But the good news is, just like that boat, you don’t have to allow what’s on the outside get on the inside. When difficult times come, you don’t have to be overwhelmed by the waves of worry or fear. What should you do? Follow the example of Jesus. When He was in the midst of the storm, He stood up and spoke to the storm.
Always remember, no matter what storms may come against you, the Greater One lives on the inside of you. Turn to Him and walk in His power. Don’t let the storm in, and speak peace to every area of your life!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Are you crushed in spirit?

by Bonnie (Where Can Broken Hearts Go?)

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

This is an amazing promise from God. If you are experiencing a broken heart, please listen to what David is saying in this verse.

When you hear the word “broken” heart, it speaks of a feeling of being crushed, wrecked, in pieces, shattered. It can be a shattered hope or dream; crushed plans; memories that leave you feeling in despair and in pieces.

The word “crushed” means dust. Have you ever felt lower than dust? Lower than dirt? It speaks of being contrite. If sin is in your life, it means you repent….you humble yourself before the Lord.

If you have had something happen to you that created a broken heart, it means getting to the place of surrendering to God and realizing He is your only hope, your only help. It is releasing everything to Him, looking only to Him, trusting only in Him, realizing you cannot face whatever it is by yourself.

Overcome with Good

 by Dave
Today's Scripture:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12:21, NIV.)
Today's Word:
The scripture says, “We overcome evil with good.” In other words, when somebody’s rude or inconsiderate, don’t sink down to their level. Don’t be rude and inconsiderate back to them. No, if you going to rise higher, if you are going to overcome, you have to do just the opposite. You have to show kindness, grace and mercy. It isn’t always easy; in fact, it’s almost never easy. It takes a lot of humility to treat someone with respect who is disrespecting you. But do you know what happens when you walk in humility? God gives you His grace. He empowers you to walk in His goodness. Scripture plainly says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Today, walk humbly with God and overcome evil with good. Show mercy and sow mercy. Receive His grace, receive His power, and receive His strength to be everything He’s called you to be.

Monday, December 2, 2013

You Are In Control of Your Happiness!

by Dave

Today's Scripture:
“…No one can take away your joy.”
(John 16:22, NIV.)
Today's Word:
Life may not have turned out the way you planned, but you still have the power to be happy right where you are. God is the source of all joy, and when God gives you something, nothing in the world can take it away. That means other people cannot make you unhappy, no circumstance can force you to get upset. Nothing can take your joy; you have to give it away. You’re in complete control of your happiness.
Think of it this way: If somebody is rude to you, what they’re really saying is, “Give me your joy.” Somebody cuts you off in traffic, “Let me have your joy.” Somebody ignores you or leaves you out of a meeting; they’re just asking for your joy. You have a choice. You can give it to them by going around upset, frustrated and offended. Or, you can make a much better decision and say, “No thanks, I need my joy. I’m not going to get upset because you were rude and didn’t speak to me. I’m not going to be frustrated because you cut me off in traffic. I’ve already made up my mind that I’m going to live this day happy!” Instead of giving them your joy, give them mercy, grace and understanding. Give them the benefit of the doubt and keep your joy because only you are in control of your happiness!