link2352 link2353 link2354 link2355 link2356 link2357 link2358 link2359 link2360 link2361 link2362 link2363 link2364 link2365 link2366 link2367 link2368 link2369 link2370 link2371 link2372 link2373 link2374 link2375 link2376 link2377 link2378 link2379 link2380 link2381 link2382 link2383 link2384 link2385 link2386 link2387 link2388 link2389 link2390 link2391 link2392 link2393 link2394 link2395 link2396 link2397 link2398 link2399 link2400 link2401 link2402 link2403 link2404 link2405 link2406 link2407 link2408 link2409 link2410 link2411 link2412 link2413 link2414 link2415 link2416 link2417 link2418 link2419 link2420 link2421 link2422 link2423 link2424 link2425 link2426 link2427 link2428 link2429 link2430 link2431 link2432 link2433 link2434 link2435 link2436 link2437 link2438 link2439 link2440 link2441 link2442 link2443 link2444 link2445 link2446 link2447 link2448 link2449 link2450 link2451 link2452 link2453 link2454 link2455 link2456 link2457 link2458 link2459 link2460 link2461 link2462 link2463 link2464 link2465 link2466 link2467 link2468 link2469 link2470 link2471 link2472 link2473 link2474 link2475 link2476 link2477 link2478 link2479 link2480 link2481 link2482 link2483 link2484 link2485 link2486 link2487 link2488 link2489 link2490 link2491 link2492 link2493 link2494 link2495 link2496 link2497 link2498

Tag: heart

How to Replace Grief With Joy

“Not my Joe,” I cried out over and over again. Although he was 19, he was still my baby, the youngest of my three sons.

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 28/05/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ComfortForgivenessJoy


casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

That night at the emergency room, black sorrow filled the air when the doctor said, “We lost him.”

Lord, how can that be possible? Joe was a leader in every way. He was the captain of his football team. He was the star player for his lacrosse team. Joe attended Bible study, encouraged anyone around him. His sense of humor and contagious smile lit a room.

He’s gone? Sleepless nights kept me tossing, trying to find an answer. Trying to seek God’s comfort and reaching for something, someone to ease the pain.

Is that what losing someone we cherish looks like? We long to fill the void, but cannot. We wish it were a nightmare and desperately hope to wake up and find all to be normal like before. And we secretly wonder, will peace ever come back?

But instead, peace becomes a foreign word. We drag grief like a chain that chokes with every step. And as we shuffle through life, we wipe one more tear and give one more sob.

But in the midst of all those emotions if faith remains, and if trust in God grows, He leans toward us and severs the chain of pain with these words: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

That’s exactly what I was doing, mourning, terribly and constantly. But Jesus said I’d be blessed. I’d be comforted.

I leaned my head back, inhaling His truth and savored the promise. That’s when, ever so tenderly, His healing trickled into my heart. It came in five stages:

  1. Belief that God’s love, unfailing and constant was available to me. In His tender care were my tears and my anxious moments. He said, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) In His hands I placed my hope for healing and my expectation of peace to come back.
  2. I changed. Rather than speak of the void in my heart, the pain of my loss or my dark fate, I spoke of the life in God’s restoring love. I repeated the power of God at work in me. And I declared the beautiful truth that God extends compassion for those whom He loves. I spoke words out loud that gave life into my gloom. Always remembering that, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21)
  3. I chose to forgive. Initially, I was convinced the man who stabbed my Joe 23 times had to be punished. Justice had to prevail, and he had to suffer the consequences for such a horrible crime. Anger and bitterness toward the man were justified. But in Mark 11:25 God instructed the contrary. "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." On my knees, I asked God to help me do the impossible. I begged Him to help me forgive. He did. And my complete, genuine forgiveness ushered freedom that brought on peace, deep and lasting.
  4. Gratitude replaced bitterness. I looked back at the gift my Joe was to me for 19 years. And that’s when gratitude began to sing. I was grateful for the memories, of the laughter, hugs and the kisses from that young man. Each memory made my life rich. I thanked God for the nights I cried out because He was attentive to each one (Psalm 40:1). I thanked Him for the tears, for He stores them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). I thank Him for the stale grief of today, because tomorrow will be fresh and new. (Isaiah 43:18)
  5. Moving beyond my heartache, I chose to reach out. Every pain has a purpose. Some make us humble. Others make us grow, and others become the vessel God uses for His glory. And as His instruments, we can play the melody of God’s comfort to help ease others’ pain (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), encouraging others, showing them the path to peace and pointing them to Jesus is the formula that brings back our own joy.

 
Eventually, that joy changed my thoughts. I used to cry out, “not my Joe!” But because of my Joe, I came to know the reality of God’s comfort, the truth of His promises and the power of His love.


Pray this week:

Father, in the midst of my sorrow, speak Your truth to me. Grant me the heart to receive what You offer. Show me how to relish in the freedom that forgiveness brings, and help me prepare my heart to receive renewed joy. In Jesus name.


What needs to change for you to welcome joy once again?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is God’s Blessing?

What does Jesus say about being blessed?

Written by Joy on 29/08/2015
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Blessings, Favor, Jesus, Money, Wealth
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God…..” Matthew 5:3-12

To be blessed by God means having God’s favor and goodness. We often think of blessings as riches, high position, health, and happiness. However, Jesus’ famous words about blessings show us that God has a different definition of being blessed.

Who is Blessed?
Jesus’ list of blessed people in Matthew 5 include the needy, sad, meek, and persecuted. This might offend us since we value strength, confidence and independence. But Jesus says we must realize our need for God in order for us to receive His blessing. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2b). Those who show mercy and bring peace, who desire righteousness and a pure heart, show they are true followers of God’s Word.

What are the Blessings?
Jesus never mentions wealth or position, health or happiness as blessings. Instead, he says the greatest blessing is to have a place in the kingdom of heaven and to be called a child of God. To be shown mercy by a Holy God, to know His grace and love in our lives, to know God in an intimate relationship — These are true blessings. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1a).

Jesus paints a picture of a person that is more interested in spiritual rewards than things of this world. “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:20). Jesus had no personal wealth, but he was still blessed. How? “It is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts 20:35) Jesus gave his life for us. The blessing of giving is not material prosperity but an inner joy and peace that God gives us when we imitate His loving sacrifice for others.

How are We Blessed?
When Jesus tells us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, it reminds us of his words in John 6:35 — “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus is our ultimate blessing or gift from God. He is the only one who can cleanse us of sin and give us a pure heart so we can see God. (John 6:40) Through Him we become co-heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, which is our greatest blessing.

Pray this week:
That God will reveal the amazing blessings He has given you through your faith in Christ.

Are you willing to give up the riches of this world for a great reward in Heaven? Talk to someone about the riches you might need to consider giving up.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Who Is On the Throne of Your Heart?

God owns our life, not us.

Written by Susan on 08/01/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ThroneLordObedienceLoveGod


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.

John 10:27

Did you realize that God owns all life? He also holds us accountable for what we do with ours. (Romans 14:12)

If I, a child of God, believe this, then I will believe God is sovereign. He is high and lifted up on the throne of my life. He is Lord. However, If I own my life, then I am on the throne, instead of bowing before God. If I am on the throne, then I am my own God.

We are his sheep

Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd. We, the redeemed, are the beloved sheep of His pasture. In love He makes himself responsible for us to feed and clothe us, to protect our heart, to grow our faith, and to lead us, watching over us all of the time. We are to be totally dependent upon the Shepherd for everything.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep.”(John 10:14-15)

In order to make us His sheep, we were purchased by Him in love and agony with a high, high price. Because of this, we are no longer our own.

Your will, not mine

In coming to Jesus, we sheep have bowed our heart, asking Him to be our Savior and Lord — our Shepherd. This surrender places Him on throne of our life. We give up our rights, learning to live as He lived — not our will, but Yours be done.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live and will do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

We will be tempted to strike out in our own will, forgetting our Shepherd and His loving, wise will for us. We will be tempted to sin, to forget prayer, obedience, and asking for guidance. We will be in danger of forgetting to thank our Lord for all He provides to us, or to even worship Him in the giving of tithes. If we fall into these temptations, we are usurping the throne, beginning to live by our will again.

What must I do?

So what must you do? Return to Christ. Repent and confess in truth. He loves you and has come calling for you. He will forgive a truly repentant heart. Run home little lamb. Only in the Shepherd is safety for your soul.

Draw a faith line in the sand and refuse to cross back over it! Cling to Jesus with all your strength to obey and trust Him. Run after Jesus instead of running away down the road of life as if it is your own. Follow the one who owns your life. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11)

In love we choose to do what pleases Jesus, accepting His Lordship. He, in return, gives to us joy in pleasing Him as well as the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13). In love, cooperation, and gratitude, we put our will under His will. We look to Jesus waiting upon Him and his will for us in faith that He loves us and is with us. This is our love for Him.


Pray this week:

Lord, you own my life. I do not. I want to be the sheep of your pasture and I will hear your voice. I need you and your forgiveness. Please be my Lord and Shepherd. I will follow you. Amen.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What is Worship?

It's Not About Us

Written by Jim Denison on 15/11/2015

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GloryPraisePurityPurpose


 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

 

This verse describes true worship. Do you worship your Maker? We need to know what worship is, what it isn't, and why it matters so much to our God and to our souls.

What Worship Is

God defines worship as "love": "Love the Lord your God." Love is a verb, an action word. It requires doing, not just attending church, listening to a sermon, singing hymns, or giving money. You've only worshipped when you've loved, adored, and honored. And it is about loving God in every way a human can love.

With all our hearts: our emotions and senses.

With all our souls: the life force itself, that which gives our bodies life, our essence. Worship involves a passionate love for God.

With all our minds: We are to have no ungodly thoughts, or songs, or movies, or television shows, or books in our minds (see Psalm 101:3). We are to think about our faith, to study God's word, to engage intellectually in the worship of God.

With all our strength: We love God with our actions, not only on Sundays. God is looking for Monday Christians, Monday worshippers, Monday disciples.

How to Worship

You can love God the same way you love anyone else. You can spend the day with him—talking to him, thinking about him. Ask him for what you need, and thank him for what he gives. Spend the day with Jesus. Love him. Worship him. This is his first commandment for every day.

Worship is not performance, entertainment, therapy, or even evangelism.

Worship is not about us. It is about loving God, every moment of every day.

We were created for worship. He gave us free will so we could choose to worship him. Nothing else fulfills us.

Worship provides the power to serve God. If you want God's power for your life, you must worship God every day.

Why Do We Worship?

Because God deserves our worship. “We love him because he first loved us“ (1 John 4:10). He created and redeemed us, and made us a place in his perfect heaven forever. He watched his Son die on the cross, to save our souls and purchase our salvation. He gave everything for us. He deserves our worship.

When last did he receive yours?


Pray this week:

Lord, help me understand what it really means to worship. Take away my wrong ideas, and teach me how to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.


Is this a new idea for you? Do you need help knowing what it means to worship God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member