Don’t Let Bitterness Rule You

Welcome back to the encouragement challenge. Congratulations!! You have made it to week 3!! This week we are focusing on forgiveness. We are going to talk about bitterness today. What is bitterness? Bitterness can be described as, “the experience of a negative emotion (anger or hatred, for instance) felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done.” Bitterness is what happens when you hold a grudge for too long. Bitterness will not hurt the person who wronged you. It only hurts YOU! Let it go. Forgive and move forward in your relationship with Christ! Let’s see what the Bible has to say about bitterness.

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”

Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'”

I urge you today to seek your heart. Let go of any bitterness you are harboring. Let go and Let God take full control of you heart. Allow His love to consume your heart today.

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Advertisements

Part of M’s Testimony & Mercy Shown by Love Part 7

Hello Readers! It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. Pastor G asked me to share part of my testimony with today’s scripture. Just remember, if you are experiencing hurt or being bullied, you are NOT alone! You can submit a public or private comment and we will praying for you. As our 7 year old daughter says, “Stop the meanness! Love God! Love Others!”

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Notes:

33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

Wow! This verse spoke straight to my heart. It is easy to be kind and compassionate to those who love you and treat you with respect. But, even sinners do that. It reminds me of a time in my life where I had a choice to hold on to bitterness or just let it go.

The following is just a brief section from my testimony–my walk with The Lord.

When I was in the fifth grade, I was bullied so badly that it left me with emotional and physical scars. I’m not going to go into all the details right now. The Lord brought me through that trying time by clinging to this verse: Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

When I started High School things only got worse. But, my parents always taught me to never let the bullies see that they are hurting you. So, on the outside, I looked happy and content. But, inside I was so broken that only the Lord could put the pieces back together. I was pushed up against walls, knocked down, my hair pulled during classes, even spit at, and the names I was called were just as heartbreaking. I never sought revenge. I treated them with respect and kindness. If it had not been for those trying times in high school, I would not have worked so hard in school. I poured myself into my studies and graduated as the salutatorian. I went on to attend and graduate college at Ouachita Baptist University, where I was a cheerleader. I even met the love of my life there. I have since forgiven those who hurt me. Since those days, my motto in life is Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” People are always going to hurt you, but you can’t dwell on it, you need to forgive and keep going. Life is too short to hold grudges!

I try to always remember Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Just because we are saved does not mean that we won’t go through trying times, it means that we have someone carrying us through those times. Psalm 91:2 tells us, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

I have learned that the only way to defeat those who hurt you, is to forgive them. When you forgive them, there is such a calm and peace that The Lord feels you with. Forgive them and pray for them. Pray changes things! Just as the verse says

~M
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing

“Blessings God’s Way”

“Blessings God’s Way”
Luke 6:20-23 (NLT) from Biblegateway.com
20-Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21-God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22-What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23-When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

These 4 verses are a reminder to all Believers that God will cherish you forever.

Notes from Verse 20:
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,“God blesses you who are poor for the Kingdom of God is yours.”

Wealth and riches mean nothing to God. After all He owns everything. He created mankind and He sees everything. He tells us that we are blessed not by our pocket book, but by Him and Him Alone. If you want to go to Heaven, then put God first and get saved.

Notes from Verse: 21:
God blesses you who are hungry now for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now for in due time you will laugh.

Have you ever said this phrase: “I’m so hungry I could eat ___________?”
Just as God gave us the desire to eat physical food, He also implanted a desire within all Believers to want, crave, and hunger for Spiritual Food. The unbelievers want, crave, and hunger for physical food. In fact, everyone does (both believers and nonbelievers) want, crave, and hunger for physical food. We need food or we will die of starvation. It’s the same way with Christ. “If we Confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, then we shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9). If you are TRULY saved, you will desire more than physical food. You, BELIEVERS, will desire Spiritual Food. You will crave the Word of God. You will hunger for the Word of God and want more of Him and less of yourselves. God even promises us that He will satisfy our hunger for Him. Now fill in the blank: I’m so hungry I could eat ___________?

Is there someone in your life that you pray for all the time and even cry for them to be saved? Do you long to be in the presence of God so bad that you weep? If you answered yes, then remember the promise from God that your weeping will turn to laughing. This life is only for a season. Eternal Life is unending. You can either choose Jesus and go to Heaven or simply do nothing and go to Hell. It’s your choice. I pray you accept Jesus as your Lord. I plead with you to not reject the Savior Jesus Christ.

Notes from Verse: 22
22-What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.

As a Christian and a Pastor, I can relate heavily to this verse. In mylifetime, I’ve been yelled at, mocked, been excluded from things because “I am the Pastor”, and many more things. My sweet wife was belittled by one of her teachers in high school because of her belief in Christ.

Yet, I love being a Christian and a Pastor. Some of you are saying is this guy crazy. I mean who in their right mind would subject themselves to any of these daily experiences? I have only this to say: 22-What blessings await you when…

Notes from Verse 23:
23-When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

This verse is without a doubt very hard for Believers to follow. Even seasoned Believers have trouble keeping this verse in check. Yet “Jesus said, be happy! Yes, leap for joy!” I don’t know about you, but it hurts when people are mean to me.

True Christianity and Blessings God’s Way is putting into practice verse 23. “Be happy and leap for joy. For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” Jesus gives us a promise that He will reward you for your Faithful Obedience. He also reminds us in the last few words that we are not alone. “And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.”

What choice will you make today that will prove to others that God is REAL?

From my heart to yours,

Pastor G

(May you be encouraged today and be an encouragement to others)
As my wise grandpa said, it doesn’t cost you anything to SMILE.

Blessings Through the Storms…

This past year has been one of my hardest ever. I have struggled and struggled with countless illnesses, vehicle troubles (both vehicles having dead batteries on the same day…flat tire that had to be replaced and only the dealership could order and put a new one on…both kids having surgery (our son (age 5) had his 4th set of tubes, our daughter (age 6) had her tonsils out and her first set of tubes)…foundation on house had to be repaired…our dishwasher died, our air conditioner’s control board fried (had to get new one and was without central air in south Louisiana for almost a week)…my dad having a stroke (and not being able to go see him due to my illnesses)…and several more things.

There were times when I just wanted to throw my hands up and say, “Lord, I give up! I can’t take it anymore!” But, I kept enduring the storm because I knew that the Lord was growing me through this time. If you focus on the negatives, then you allow Satan to take your joy away. Now, some positives that I experienced…Our children aren’t near as sick as they were, foundation has been repaired, an anonymous donor purchased us a new dishwasher, our air conditioner could be fixed and we found a window unit to keep us cool as we spent extra quality time together as family, we grew closer to the Lord and closer as a family unit. God has sent people in our lives to encourage us and to hold us up when it felt like our world was crashing down. To those people, “Thank you! You will never know how much that meant to us. You are a blessing to our family and to the Kingdom of God!”

During this time of struggle, God led me to several scriptures and directed me towards this song called, “Blessings by Laura Story”, that just described what I was going through so well. It truly ministered to me. I even set this song to replay in my van for a year. I hope these scriptures and the lyrics to her song bless you as much as they me.

James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Ezekiel 36:26 —“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Lyrics from Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Let your blessings rain down, Lord!! Be blessed and be a blessings to others!
~M

What’s Your Top Ten?

A Question To Ponder…
Recently a childhood friend of mine asked me to make a list of ten ways that I would want others to treat me. So here is my list. Top 10 ways: Lovingly, Respectfully, Seriously, Compassionately, Mercifully, Forgivingly, Gently, Kindly, Encouragingly, and Gracefully. After compiling my list of the top ten I was feeling pretty good about myself. Until he said something to me that I did not expect. He said with a firm voice; now ask yourself one Question. “Is that how I treat all people?” Wow I was taken back by this question. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure if I could answer yes to all ten or even to just a few of them. Because he wasn’t asking how I treat people who I love, but for the treatment of all people. The longer I pondered on this simple question, the more I realized that the first question was not nearly as important as the second one. My answer to all ten toward all people was; No, not always. At this point in my conversation with my friend I prayed these words.”God forgive me of this sin and help me to treat others how I want to be treated even when they don’t treat me the way I desire. Thank You Father for this insight and revelation In Jesus Name I Pray Amen.” The Bible tells us in Luke 6:31 (NIV) “31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.” So I’m asking each one of you to take time and write your own top ten ways that you want to be treated. Then ask yourself, is this how I treat all people? A Question that all of us need to honestly answer before God. How do you treat what God has created?

From Your Pastor’s Heart,
~G

What makes your heart happy?

Hello Readers! I hope you have a blessed weekend. We will be relaxing, watching football, and hopefully video chatting with my dad. His left side is still immobile. He warmed my heart yesterday. Yes, I cried like a baby. But, it made my heart happy. He is sometimes hard to understand because of the weakened left side. He said, “I will never be tired of talk to Marie!” **instant happy tears**.

But, that made me think. Our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us. He never grows tired of hearing from us. We communicate to God by prayer and reading the Bible. The Bible is our instruction book. It delights the Lord’s heart when we open His Word, read it, think about it and apply it to our daily life. Do you spend enough time with The Lord that His heart is happy?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In James 2:23–“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be God’s friend. He never leaves you. He loves you more than anything. He will never talk badly about you or betray you. It hurts your heart when people talk negatively about you, criticize you, turn their back on you when you need them, etc. Remember The Lord will never do those things. He gave us many promises in His Word that puts a smile to your face. Here are just a few of mine:

Jeremiah 29:11-“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 40:29-31: “He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Philippians 4:19-“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

What makes your heart happy?
Are you making Christ’s heart happy?

Thanks for reading. Be blessed and be a blessing.
~M

S.T.R.E.S.S.

Hello Readers, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Welcome back to the “Monday Blues”. So, I thought today’s topic should focus on Stress. I found an old project I did in High School about stress. So, I thought I would share it with you. Please remember that I was just 17 when I wrote this.

This six letter word is ruining my life!!!!!

S — Striving to do the Best you can! Colossians 3:23-24: “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.”

T — Trying to Give it Your All! 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

R — Reading too Much into What Others Say! Psalm 120:2: “Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.”

E — Everything that Makes You Worry! Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

S — Scared of Not Succeeding! Proverbs 16:3: “Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved”

S — Screaming into the Night! Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”

There are so many things in life to be stressed about. I used to easily stress out. But, I have prayed and asked the Lord to help me with that issue. I just want to say thank you for dropping by today. It is truly a blessing to share my heart with you.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
M.

Stress Relief Part 4

When life becomes stressful, the Lord invites us to practice:

supplication,

stillness,

and finally…

III. SACRIFICE:
Psalm 4:5 (NIV)
5 Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.

Putting our trust in the Lord and behaving righteously while under distress,is the kind of sacrifice that is pleasing to God.
“Trust in the Lord,” is an essential part of the Christian life.

I heard a story recently:

A pilot was having difficulty landing his small airplane because fog had hidden the runway. So the air traffic controller decided to bring the plane in by radar. As the pilot received instruction, he suddenly recalled a tall poll in his flight path. Stricken with panic, he feverishly appealed to the control tower. A blunt reply came back, “You obey instructions, we’ll take care of obstructions.”

It’s difficult to trust when we can’t see what’s ahead, isn’t it?

The Bible urges, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. (6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). We do not always know where the Lord’s path will lead us when we first become Christians. We may end up missionaries in a far land. We may become preachers (or married to preachers). We may serve in hospitals or Christians schools. We do not need to know at the beginning where God’s work will take us. It is enough to trust God with tomorrow. We get the details bit by bit as we learn the Word more perfectly, and see the doors of opportunity that God opens. To often, we worry about tomorrow instead of trusting God to see us through.

A television program preceding the Winter Olympics one year featured blind skiers being trained for down hill skiing, impossible as it sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught, on the flats, how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where there sighted partners skied beside them shouting, “Left!” and “Right!” As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skier’s word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.

What a vivid picture of the Christian life! God delights in the “sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord!” That means believing and behaving in light of God’s promises, precepts, and principles. If we live our lives in accordance with God’s Word and fully relying on God, then we will be truly pleasing to Him,
and will have the guaranteed hope of eternal life!

Now, I don’t know what could possibly be more stress-relieving than that!

We all experience stress from time to time. Maybe you deal with it by getting a massage. Maybe you practice breathing exercises
or some other stress-management technique.

But, I think that we would all do well to follow the Lord’s prescription for stress:

Supplication: Take your worries and woes to the Lord, leave them at His throne, and He will help you carry your burden.

Stillness: Wait for the Lord. Meditate daily upon His Word and His will.

Sacrifice: Trust and Obey the Lord, and He will be pleased with your life.

May God Bless You,
Pastor G

Stress Relief Part 2

In coping with stress, our first response should be…

I. SUPPLICATION:

Psalm 4:1 (NIV)
1 Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

Prayer is still the best place to start in response to any problem we might face in life. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).

Our Heavenly Father wants to provide us with the relief that we so desperately need. But, it falls to us to ask, seek, and knock.

There are three parts to David’s prayer in verse one:
praise, appreciation, and petition.

First, He starts by saying, “O my righteous God.” David is praising God for who He is. It is important sometimes for us to take our eyes off ourselves and realize the goodness and greatness of our God.We need to remember that this life is not all about us, but It’s about God.

Second, David expresses appreciation to God,saying, ” Give me relief from my distress.” He is acknowledging that God alone is the one who can relieve him of his stress, and David is thankful for that. Many times when we are stressed out over something we have a hard time remembering all the good that we have experienced in life.

David reflects on the past with a heart of thankfulness. God has done some wonderful things in our lives, often using stressful circumstances to bring about His purposes. By appreciating what God has done in the past we, again, stop focusing inward and start looking upward!

Third, David makes his petition, “be merciful to me and hear my prayer..” David asks for grace and mercy in this situation. Perhaps David realized that his trouble was, at least in part, a result of his past sins. Sometimes deliverance from our distress is as simple as saying, “God, if I’ve brought this trouble on myself I’m asking You to forgive me.” It is truly amazing how gracious God is willing to be to us,if only we would ask Him.

Evangelist John R. Rice once wrote: I once imagined I was in Heaven. Walking along with the angel Gabriel, I said, “Gabe, what is that big building there?”

“You’ll be disappointed,” he answered. “I don’t think you want to see it.” But I insisted, and he showed me floor after floor of beautiful gifts, all wrapped and ready to be sent.

“Gabriel, what are all these?”

He said, I thought rather sadly, “We wrapped all these things, but you never asked for them.” (Nelson’s p.631)

Truly God has great gifts ready for us, if we are willing to ask for them. Psychologists tell us that, in many cases,simply talking to someone about our problems will help us put things in perspective. So Talking to God through prayer, is perhaps the greatest gift we have been given; and, by taking advantage of that gift, we can greatly reduce the stress in our lives.

So let’s follow David’s example when coping with the stresses of life.

Supplication should be our first response to stress.

Come back tomorrow for part 3!

God bless you as you serve Him,
Pastor G

The Anger Rules in Relationships

In life, in marriage, and in all relationships, we must learn to control our anger and learn to forgive. Forgiveness is a key part of love. The LORD sent Jesus to die for our sins so we could be forgiven.

The world teaches you to be quick to anger and slow to forgive, but the LORD teaches us to be slow to anger and quick to forgive!

Here are the anger rules:
It is okay to be angry.
1. Do not hurt yourself.
2. Do not hurt others.
3. Do not hurt things.
Always talk about it.

*****Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.*****

Proverbs 14:29
He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.

Proverbs 16:32
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

James 1:19
This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger pacifies contention.

Colossians 3:13
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Romans 12:19
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Ephesians 4:26
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

Proverbs 14:17
A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated.

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 18: 21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ” Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? ” Jesus answered, ” I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

It is okay to be upset or angry, but do not sin in your anger! Be quick to listen and quick to forgive. Be slow to anger! Remember to SMILE!

Be a Blessing to Others,
~M