Goodness

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink,
but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Ro 14:17 nlt

As children of God, we are to live a life of goodness. That seems pretty simple and straightforward and it is but is it easy? The dictionary says goodness is a state or quality of being good; moral excellence; virtue; generosity; integrity; honesty.  Easy to read the definition of goodness and I would like to say it is easy for me to live it. But I often find it difficult to be an example of goodness.

When I find myself with thoughts that are not good or generous, less than honest or pure Iheartlight have a choice. I can follow through with those thoughts or I can turn away from the darkness of them and face the Light of my life.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light
(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
and find out what pleases the Lord.
Eph 5:8-10 niv

When I turn to Jesus I can see where the problem lies and do what I need to sweep it away. I may think I have kept my heart clean and well kept but in His light, I can see into all the nooks and crannies where dust and dirt have found their way and settled in. Then I know it is time for some housekeeping of my heart. There isn’t room for unwanted clutter in my heart. That stuff has to go to make room for more of the goodness of the Spirit.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him,
and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
Matt 12:35 niv

There was a time when I believed I was to be good, to have goodness shine through me to prove I was a child of God. The truth is I have no need to prove anything with whatever goodness I have in my heart. The goodness is there, has been put there so through me others can see God’s light, His goodness.

…You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.
As a result, you can show others the goodness of God,
for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Pet 2:9 niv

Why would I let the light of life that dwells in my heart be masked with worthless thoughts? It is so easy to relax and let the light in my heart be veiled by my inattentiveness and selfishness. How sad is that?!

When I talk with Jesus He often reminds me of what I must be vigilant and aware;

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Prov 4:23 niv

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

 

 

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Be Gentle

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.(Col 3:12 nlt) Notice the word gentleness. What does it mean to be a person of gentleness?

Gentleness is a quality of character. It is a behavior that is deliberate, a behavior we choose to demonstrate that isn’t always natural to us. We show gentleness when we act or respond in a kind and quiet way. With gentleness, there is calm in the storms of oursheep-451981_640 relationships.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Eph 4:2 niv

Some may think that gentleness is soft and weak but in truth to be gentle takes strength and thought. Not only our actions are to be gentle but also our speech is to be gentle. Sometimes we must say something to another that is hard or unpleasant; at those times we may need strong words. When strong words are needed it is best to have a soft voice, guarding our tongues and expressions so our words are expressed in a way that can be accepted without anger or hurt feelings.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Prov 15:1 nlt

Some people are gentle by nature and find it easy to show and express gentleness. They at heart are kind and merciful. I have talked to Jesus about this on many occasions when I have not felt merciful or kind, patient or humble, times when I have not shown gentleness where it was needed. He knows these traits are not necessarily inherent in us and it is essential that we develop them.  He will help us;

Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt 11:29

To help us He tells us to take His yoke and asks us to let Him teach us. He doesn’t force these lessons but He wants to teach them. When we look to Him as our Teacher we learn to be like Him, humble and gentle at heart. Is that not what we want, too?

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

 

Faithfulness

We are all called to be faithful and to make that happen the seed of faithfulness is given to us and planted in our hearts. How we nurture that seed and what we do with it is up to us. Jesus makes it clear in the Parable of the Three Servants (Matt 24:16-30) that being faithful is not something to take for granted.

In the Parable, Jesus told the disciples a story of a rich man going on a journey. Before he left he called three of his servants to him and gave each servant a bag of money. (To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.v 15) Notice each was given an amount according to his ability. Nothing more or less than he could handle.

Each servant took what his master gave him and did with the money what he thought the master would want him to do. (The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.vs 16-18)

When the master returned he asked the servants to give an account of what they did with the money. The first two servants doubled the money making their master happy. (“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’vs 21,23) The third servant came to his master with the one bag of money he had been given. The master was not happy.(“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. vs 26a,28) The first two servants did what they were able with the money and it multiplied. The third did nothing with the money except bury it and gave back to the master exactly what he had been given.

How often do we do that? Do we take what God gives us and use it to grow so we have more to give to Him and others? Or do we do nothing and therefore, have nothing more to give back to Him or to give to others? Are we making the Lord and others happy or are we concerned only for our own happiness?

Jesus tells us that we are to nurture and grow the faith He has given us so that what we have will become more not just for ourselves but for others. When we do this there aresapling-154734_640 bountiful blessings.

To those who use well what they are given,
even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.
But from those who do nothing,
even what little they have will be taken away.
Matt 25:29

There are days when my faithfulness is small and seems dry and withered and I feel I have nothing in me to give. Then I am reminded that this is not true and that I am to trust God, and to listen to His voice.

For if we are faithful to the end,
trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed,
we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”
Heb 3:14

All that is needed is a talk with Jesus.

All scripture from NLT

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

First Prayers

I knew from the time I was a little girl that there is a God and I knew about Jesus. The way I thought about them then was that God was the boss and Jesus was the nice guy I could talk to. Yes, I could talk to Jesus but He didn’t talk to me. He just took care of things without giving me the details and that was fine with me.

As a teenager, I pretty much ignored them both.  Oh,  occasionally there was the rushed prayer request that I doubted would be answered the way I wanted and that made me angry. My prayers were all about me and I felt like I was just talking to myself.

Life went on and I knew something was missing. One morning while sitting in my living room depressed and lonely I prayed. A real prayer. It was sort of “Hey, God, it’s me and I am miserable and I don’t know what to do. All I do know is that what I am doing isn’t working so I am going to try your way, but I don’t what that way is or what to do. So, please help me.” There was no bolt of lightening or angel’s singing or a voice like in the movies with music in the background. The day just went on like any other day.

The thing is that was probably the first real prayer I ever uttered. It felt different…I felt different. I wasn’t instantaneously changed I was still sinking in my sin, but it seemed likedoor-1590024_640 maybe I wasn’t going to drown. Maybe I was going to get out of the muck and start walking. Walk where I didn’t know but it felt good to have some solid ground under my feet. I also didn’t know how long the walk would be or how rocky and sometimes slippery the path would be which is a good thing. My spiritual muscles were weak!

That morning in my living room was the beginning of my talking with Jesus and I haven’t stopped for forty years. We have a good and gracious God who hears the prayers of all who are afraid, lonely and lost. He not only hears, He talks in whatever language or vernacular needed to communicate with the one praying.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Ro 8:26

What was the first “real” prayer you remember praying?

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia

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Wait Quietly

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. (Ps 62:1-2)

How I want to say this is true of me! I know my victory comes from Him but I struggle with waiting. Outwardly I am quiet, I am a quiet person, but inwardly I scream and yell and rage. I know He is my rock and salvation and fortress, but I am not strong, I tremble and shake.

Lately, when I talk to Jesus and I tell Him of my weakness and my fears He tells me to be quiet and wait. But for how long? I have been waiting a long time for victory in this peace-of-mind-349815_640struggle. Why is the end of this not in sight? Why do the attacks continue? I am not given an answer to those questions. However, He does remind me that He will give me rest, to put on His yoke and to let Him teach me and I will find rest for my soul. (Matt 11:28-29).

If you are struggling with something that seems endless listen to what Jesus says. Be encouraged. He has promised to never leave or abandon us (Jos 1:5) Sometimes it seems that we are left alone in the wilderness of our sufferings but that is a lie that satan wants us to believe. The Spirit dwells within us and will guide us to the fortress of the Lord.

This is my prayer:

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. Ps 62:5-6)

Blessings this day of grace,
patricia