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I Am Everything Because of Love

It was just an ordinary afternoon, a time when bank employees continue to service their customers with their account-related issues. That afternoon, tragedy struck at a SunTrust Bank where at least five died: four employees and one customer. As of now, law enforcement does know the reason behind this atrocity.

When my husband texted to tell me about the bank shooting, I was beside myself. “Are you okay? Is everybody okay? Can I call you?”

I did not wait for an answer, I called him right away to learn that it was not his bank, but one that was about forty-five minutes away from him, in Sebring, Florida. I am relieved and thankful that the shooting did not take place at his branch, but my heart continues to hurt for his colleagues and their families.

This is yet another shooting eating away our sense of safety. These shootings are hitting closer and closer to home. Last year, one shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where my stepdaughter’s senior year was devastated with the loss of seventeen lives. The SunTrust shooter is just twenty-one years old and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter was nineteen years old at the time of the shooting.

What drove these young people to commit such crimes? Does a lack of love have anything to do with it?

I am everything because of love. The love of God, the love of my husband, the love of my children, and the love of my extended family make life worth living. The thought of losing them in any tragedy troubles my heart.

But, by now I know that there is absolutely nothing I can do to protect them from such tragedy. How can you protect people who are doing what they are supposed to do? Shouldn’t they be safe at work? Should they be safe at school? Shouldn’t they be safe at church?

What I know for sure is that only God can protect them. I surrender them to him. I also know that loving them with all my heart and with with both my hands is the only way I can reinvest in them. Love covers all. Love cures everything.

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Waiting Can Be Productive

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31

I love to read verses like this one. No need for special tools to extrapolate the benefits of waiting. I don’t know about you, but when I read this verse I feel like I can become a super human just by deciding to wait on the Lord and not take matters into my own hands – especially when directed not to.

There are so many things we can learn in this verse that can be very beneficial to us. When we wait on the Lord…

We gain new strength

This is a promise we can hold on to. We may have come to him feeling weak and exhausted from the everyday trials of this life, but he promises that while we wait, he will replace our weakness with strength. Therefore, we will be prepared to respond to whatever he allows for us to experience.

We see the big picture

The verse says that we “will mount up with wings like eagles.” Sometimes it is hard to see and understand what is going on when faced with different circumstances. We may be too close to see clearly. So, God promises we will soar like the eagles when we wait on him, allowing us to gain a fresh perspective on what we currently face.

We get loaded up with energy

How would you like to run and never get tired? Well, when you wait on the Lord, you get loaded up with energy to combat any negative forces that may be in our future. At times, positive experiences may be overwhelming too. Believe that he has given you the strength and energy to handle them properly.

We stay the course

It says “we will run and not become weary.” The Lord reassures our every step letting us know that he is always with us and will give us all necessary ingredients to stay the course and renew our determination to persevere and not to give up.

All this happens while we wait. So waiting is not a waste. It can be a very productive period in our lives. It is a time used by God to give us new strength, a clear perspective, more energy, and the determination to stay the course and not to give up. Let us wait on the Lord, so he can fulfill these promises in our lives.

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Get It In Your Head

Who needs to memorize Scripture when you can pull it up on your smart phone in seconds? I say that is more of a reason to memorize them. We have become so dependent on electronic devices that we have forgotten how to use our brains.

I tend to be old-fashioned when it comes to memorizing Scripture and learning other things. Dedicate yourself to memorizing Scripture on a daily or weekly basis whichever is best for you. I believe that whatever is in your mind and heart belongs to you and you can retrieve it at any time. God forbids we are unable to get access to our electronic devices. Where will we be?

Memorizing Scripture will allow you to have the Word of God at your disposal and you can quickly select a verse that can speak to your current situation. Instead of reverting back to our bad habits to remedy a situation, we can speak the Word of God and find the comfort and the solution we need.

 

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Pray Daily

As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, we learn how much we need God as human beings. We learn about the most awesome and powerful God and amazingly we have access to speak to him whenever we want to. We can talk to him about anything.

According to Ephesians 6:18, “we are to pray at times.” Our God is available to hear us and supply all our needs in every season of life. He is not like the friend who disappears in bad times or the family members who turn their backs on you when you needed them most. No, God is here for you in the good, bad, scary, frustrating, and the most disastrous times of your life. He is always there!

Therefore, daily prayer is your lifeline—your constant connection to the one who has our very best interest at heart. First Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to pray without ceasing. That is how we have fellowship with our God. We can pray to him anytime and anywhere. The prayers can be long or short. You can pray silently or aloud. God does not put as many restrictions on us as we put on ourselves, so let’s go and enjoy your God through prayer on a daily basis.

 

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Got Questions?

We all have questions about life and the problems we face. When you can’t find the answers to your question, consider reading the WORD. Reading and studying God’s Word are essential to our Christian walk because it lets us know how we should live our lives.

God gave us his word to guide, strengthen, and comfort us. The Word of God has changed my life and I am sure that it can change your life. I have seen many lives healed from addiction, sexual, physical, and psychological abuse. The Bible is an answer book for all the questions we may experience on this earth.

You can get started by reading fifteen minutes a day. You may consider participating in a reading plan that will facilitate you in reading the Bible in one year. There is an even more aggressive plan that will help you to read the Bible through three months or 90 days. You have many choices. Go to a Christian book store and go through a few Bibles to determine what translation appeals to you the most. For the most part, the indexes will have supplemental information such as reading plans to assist you in your journey.

In addition, there are many Bible study curriculum available in the Christian book store as well. My personal favorites are studies from Kay Arthur and Dr. Charles Stanley. However, today you have many options. You may want to search for free Bible study online. You have access to print, audio, and video. Getting involved in a small group at your church or in your local community can help enhance the experience and allow you to fellowship with other believers.

 

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God-Engineer Your To-Do List

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and

He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Have your New Year’s resolutions ever get you exhausted? Do you seem to have too many things on your lists and never enough time to complete them? Do you end up tired, stressed, overburdened, and shackled by your to-do lists? Are you just flabbergasted at the results that instead of crying you start to laugh your heart out loud?

Quite often I find myself laughing my heart out loud concerning my goals and resolutions because when I look at them a second time, I can’t help to wonder “what were you thinking?” Seriously, you wanted to nurture your relationship with God, work a full-time job, work a business, finish a graduate program, take great care of your husband and kids, write a book, keep a clean house, and keep up with the children’s activities on a daily basis?

Although you may want to change your life NOW, it does not make sense to tackle every single aspect of your life in one BIG swoop. That gets overwhelming and exhausting. Before you can change your life, you must to change your day. You have to remember that it is not you doing the changing, but the Spirit of God in you. Therefore, before you start making resolutions and setting goals, you have to start where it matters the most. You must start with God. You must God-engineer your goals.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you go about setting your goals for this year.

Ask God to Lead You  

Although you may think you know the key areas that you need to concentrate on in order to make your life fabulous this year, only God knows exactly what you need and He knows exactly how to get you there. Specifically, make your request to God so that He can tell you the areas that He desires that you work on.

Pray and Listen

It is important that you pray to God about your goals, resolutions, and your dreams. He desires that you do incredible things in your life; however, you have to be in that constant line of communication with Him so that He can reveal His will for your life.

Study and Remain Alert

One of your main goals should be a spiritual one – one that will enable you to study the Word of God and to apply it to your life. God uses His Word to nudge you in the right direction and to sustain you.

Set BIG Goals

Set goals that you cannot reach on your own. These goals will force you to seek the help of God to get them done.

Be Precise

You must know exactly what you want to accomplish, how you want to accomplish it, why you want to accomplish it, and when it must be accomplished. Keep in mind that God has His own timeframe.

Be Committed

Be forthright with yourself. Only write goals down what you truly intend to commit your time and your resources to. Write it down, read it, and pray about it at least twice a day preferably in the morning upon waking up and at night right before you go to sleep.

Chunk it Down

Be committed to do what you can do in one hour or in a day. Progress may be slow, but you will be able to celebrate small successes. Tackling too much at once may leave you depleted and without energy to maintain a consistent pace.

Take the Risk

Step out in faith! Big goals that require the help of God to accomplish demand you take big risks. You can step out in faith knowing that God is leading always and that He is the one responsible for the pursuit of this particular goal. As Proverbs 3:5-6 states, if you trust in Him and acknowledge Him, He will make your paths straight.

 

Dr. G

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Step into His Goodness

For the Lord God is a sun and a shield;

the Lord gives grace and glory;

no good things does He withhold from

those who walk up rightly.

Psalm 84:11

Many of us have a warped perception of God. We see God as a domineering father figure who is ready to strike us down when we do something wrong. To the contrary, God is the opposite. He is loving, benevolent, generous, and caring. God does not pay us lip service when He says that only He is good. He has given us ample evidence to demonstrate that. He shows us his goodness through nature, the way that he cares for us, and through His Son Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, the evidences for God’s goodness permeate our everyday living. The natural blessings that we take for granted on a daily basis. For example, we take for granted waking up every morning, having good health, and experiencing the seasons of life. God is good enough to give us food when we need to eat, clothes when we-re naked, comfort when we feel afraid, and music to soothe our very soul. God delivers us from everyday troubles. He delivers us through the ups and downs that we go through when we experience life’s trials and challenges.

When we understand the goodness of God and we take it to heart, the Spirit of God will move us to repentance because we often doubt that God is good and that He has a good future for us. Once we have God’s goodness in the right perspective, the mind will be renewed, will have the confidence to pursue a different direction; and as a result, we will begin to see the Holy Spirit change our lives. In addition, when we understand the goodness of God, we will not be surprise when adversity comes. As a matter of fact, we will be excited to take big risks and step out on faith. Deep down we know that God will never ask us to do anything that will hurt us. Everything He asked us to do is to transform us to the likeness of His Son.

Psalm 84:11 is a good example of God’s goodness. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly.” “The Lord is the sun” – your source of power energy and resources. He’s a shield – your protector. “The Lord gives grace and glory” – your comprehensive source of resources and blessings. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly” – if you live your life God’s way, he will make sure that you lack no good thing.

Here is a prayer by Chip Ingram taken from God: As He Longs for You to See Him that will be a blessing to you if you decide to meditate on it.

Oh Lord, full of goodness and mercy, as I look into the

face of Jesus and ponder the goodness of the cross, grant

that I might 

repent of my unbelief and ingratitude,

rest in your goodness even in the midst of trials, and

risk trusting you in every area of my life like never before. 

I praise you that I live under a friendly sky, that you are for

me, and that I need never be afraid of the future because

you are good!

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

 

Dr. G