3 Steps to Everyday Freedom

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:9                                New International Version (NIV) Enjoying Freedom Everyday freedom. As Christians, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to enjoy everyday freedom like no one else. We have the freedom to walk away from our sins and failings. The freedom to trust in Jesus, who is with us always through it all. We can forgive and be forgiven. Build bridges by building others up. We even have the ability to forgive ourselves for things we have done and not done, sins of omission and commission. We have the freedom to lead others to Jesus so that they, too, can walk in the everyday freedom that comes through Him alone. We have the opportunity and freedom to pray for ourselves, and others, with confidence, and to anticipate God will hear and answer our prayers as we seek to emulate Jesus. Perspectives Each of us has our own idea of what God is like. For some, He is a wrath-filled, angry task master; for others He is the very definition of Love, kindness, mercy, and compassion. How we see God has everything to do with how we see Jesus, and visa-versa. When you know Jesus, you know God, as He took human form while on earth. Surely our relationships with our parents can influence how we see God. Harsh parenting can lead one to conclude that God is punitive. Conversely, loving parents can...

Are You at Peace?

Are You at Peace? “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,                                                 live at peace with everyone.”  Romans 12:18 Are you at peace? What a blessing it is when we are at peace. At peace with ourselves, at peace with our circumstances, at peace knowing we did our best, at peace with others—those we love and those who are difficult to love. When we are at peace, life just seems to run more smoothly. However, sometimes perfectionism, fear, challenges beyond our scope, or difficult people can throw a wrench into our best laid plans, leaving us unsettled, even reeling. It all makes such good sense to strive to be at peace each day. Yet, it is hard as we strive for peace, the operative word here is, ‘strive.’ As the Winds Change Sometimes peace can be elusive. Left to our own devices, being at peace may be dependent on our mood, the challenge at hand, or even the erratic behavior of others. As the winds change, there goes our peace. Yet, most agree peace is worth pursing all the same. Sometimes, we are ill-prepared to embrace peace, and we let another person make it seemingly impossible to attain that goal; so we let them steal our peace and joy. Good Reason to Find Peace There is ample, good reason why peace and joy are two of the first fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. They are two of the nine manifestations of...

5 Ways to Allay Stress

“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”   Mark 5:34  New American Bible (NAB) by Adele M. Gill Stress is just a fact of life. We need to know how to allay stress. When we are in the thick of things, it is easy to get distracted by our circumstances, and forget to pray and ‘invite God in.’ When things are going smoothly, we often have little use for prayer. However, truth is, when we are in the thick of things is when we need God the most, but easily forget He is in our corner. That is when He is the closest to us–in times of suffering, strife, and yes, even times of stress. Here are 5 ways to allay stress and place God first in your life: Pray and invite God in before things seem to get out of control to allay stress. Ask your Christians to pray for you in stressful times, especially when you cannot pray for yourself. Thank God for all the blessings that He has showered upon you. Gratitude to God opens doors to His grace. Give credit where credit is due. When you pray and God ‘shows up’ to help you, be sure and thank Him, and tell others about what He is doing in your life. Prayer and gratitude are the keys to a deep, abiding inner peace and subsequent joy. Read the Bible daily for practical, spiritual direction. The Power of Prayer Is Strong Some people say faith in God is a waste of time, nothing more than a sign of weakness. But there is much they do not understand...

Shameless Persistence

5 “Then, teaching them more about prayer, He [Jesus] used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” 9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:5-10 New Living Translation (NLT)   In today’s contextual Scripture reading, a parable, Jesus talks about shameless persistence. That is, praying for what you need, against all odds, with sublime fortitude and perseverance. You have to ask God for what you need to receive it in His special time and way. This parable tells us that we need to knock on God’s door through prayer, and in His time, He will give us what we need through His grace and our persistence. That does not mean we get everything we want or desire, but rather that God will provide according to His Divine Will for each of us....

3 Steps to Growing in Gratitude

Adele M. Gill https://theinspirationcafeblog.net/3-easy-steps-to-grow-in-gratitude/ For me, I find that growing in gratitude involves the excitement that comes in the quiet knowing that God is in control and that “all is well” in my own life because of Him, despite any unwelcome adversity or uncomfortable, unforeseen circumstances.   I have a friend who tells me she gets pretty sentimental each New Year’s Eve. Like so many people, looking back over the year – and looking ahead at the upcoming year – she has a blend of both nostalgia and anticipation. Nostalgia for all the good times, successes and memories of the past year, and anticipation of good things to come in the New Year. I am so glad she put it into words for me, as that is very close to how I feel on New Year’s Eve each year as well, beginning on Christmas Eve. I find that reminiscing is a really good way to briefly look over what was and to look forward to what is to come with child-like excitement.   In my own holiday experience, I find that I am in awe of what God is doing in my life on a daily basis; and in that vein, I often try to take a few minutes to reaffirm in my heart and mind, through prayer, that Jesus Christ is, indeed, at the very the center of my life. Because the pressing truth is, as Christians, all that what are, all that we can do, and all that we have is truly a gift from God. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be...

2017: 5 Easy Ways to Start Anew

The New Year is upon us and with it we get all get to start anew. What better way is there to start the New Year? It is a great time to look ahead to see where we want to be this time next year and switch gears to meet our new goals – new plans, new perspectives, new goals and new faith building practices.   The New Year is the perfect time to take stock of who we are and where we are in our lives – we get a start fresh with a clean slate to better ourselves to be our very best. Beyond the usual annual list of New Year’s resolutions that we all make that go unheeded, perhaps it is a good time to get a little more serious about the changes we would like to make in the New Year. To do so, here are 5 tips to realizing a better you in the New Year: Write down your strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of personal changes you would like to make this year for a better you. Begin to initiate these changes the first week in January. Assess the progress you have made monthly to try to stay on track. Make adjustments as necessary to stay on track and meet your new goals. All of us have strengths and weaknesses we need to try to change. Focusing on your strengths will help you meet or exceed your goals to improve your areas of weakness. It can be very helpful to pray for discernment from God regarding the areas you need to work...