A few years ago, I started a gratitude jar on New Year’s Day. It was similar to a gratitude journal. I had written one thing I was grateful for each day and penned my experience on a small piece of paper. Then, I dropped it in the jar.
Well, each day whether it was morning or night, I would add something to the jar I was grateful for. I didn’t exactly collect 365 pieces of paper by the end of the year but I did manage to fill up the jar at least three quarters of the way.
On New Year’s Eve, I dumped the jar and all the folded pieces of paper scattered across my bed. I began to read all the things that I did or went through the whole year. I had a flood of emotions of how faithful the Lord has been to me. I acknowledged the richness that life has to offer despite the challenges and difficulties. I even forgot some of the events and activities that took place such as the funny moments as well as the unexpected surprises. it gave me a fresh perspective on how to approach life and how to appreciate every moment given to us.
When you shift your perspective, it can transform your attitude. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things as much as the bigger things in my life. When you change your perspective on how you look at your life, you change your world. As the saying goes, “Gratitude is all about your attitude.”
I’m sure we all have something to be grateful for as we finish off the last quarter of this year. Hold onto your faith and keep trusting the Lord for whatever you need in this season. He is faithful.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Mark 11:30
The Lord desires your communion and union with him. His deepest desire is for you to have a relationship which starts with learning about his character, his commandments, covenants, promises and laws and then learning how to apply practical instruction to your life.
You cannot build a relationship if you do not spend quality time with the Lord. He wants your undivided attention to solely focus on Him for His good pleasure and to mold and build your faith. All of your trials, obstacles, challenges and struggles are designed for His purpose to develop your patience, endurance, strength and faith in Him.
There is value in submission and obedience in God. When you enter into the presence of the Lord, you gain peace, clarity, strength and direction. Everything you need is at the foot of the cross. He is the bread of life and the wellspring of life. In the secret place, there is rest even in the midst of chaos, uncertainty and distress. Finding intimacy with God in your daily routine should be a priority.
There is a difference between spiritual rest and physical rest. The Lord can provide you rest for your soul even when you’re tired, mentally exhausted or drained. There is a blanket of peace that comforts you despite the natural emotions that you experience when you tap into the reservoir of His spirit, the outpouring of His presence delivers and restores you.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Finding intimacy with the Lord is more than an action or physically doing something. It is being present within the moment. You can connect instantly with the Lord by doing absolutely nothing. When you learn the importance of stillness, as well as stillness of the mind, you can receive instruction, healing, restoration or whatever you may need at that time. There are no rules. There are no schedules, agendas or routines. Just be. The expression of His love will touch the inner and deeper parts of you. When you’re building a relationship with the Lord, you’ll develop a stronger desire to read the Bible and please Him. He will reveal the intimate details of Jesus’ life journey through His word.
Carving Out a Sacred Space
We all need time to be alone but you might find it challenging if you’re around family, roommates or friends on a regular basis. Finding a place where you can be in solitude where you can think out loud, pray, or reflect is so helpful to connect with the Lord. It’s also a healing place where you can release negative emotions. You may prefer to go to a park, the beach or the mountains to get away. You may resort to your bathroom, den or bedroom as a sacred place. Wherever you decide to go, be sure that it’s quiet and serene.
Step into the Silence
When you incorporate Bible study into your daily routine, you will develop a sense of guidance throughout the day. Not every day will be perfect, by any means, but you will gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding to key principles you encounter in life. You will lead with integrity. It will bring new life and perspective on how to handle problems and situations, as well as protection from the attacks of the enemy. It will also bring new insight and revelation based on what you’re going through or experiencing in your current situation. The word of God is a living word that is always active and mobile. It doesn’t matter how many times you read a passage, you will gain fresh revelation at every stage or season of life.
Tea Time with Jesus
Spending quality time in prayer is time never wasted. Whether you prefer mornings or nights, it’s your preference. Communication doesn’t have to be limited to a certain time of the day. You can seek him anytime and for anything within His will or purpose for your life. Just like a good friend, prayer is a two-way conversation so listening to the voice of God is important for direction, wisdom and discernment. Its’ not just about submitting requests or petitioning the Lord to move in your situation. Jesus wants you to desire His presence on a continuous basis. It should be based on a genuine and real connection with the Lord.
When you spend regular time in prayer, you gain clarity about your issues and direction on what to do. He also heals past wounds and restores strength, peace or whatever you need at the moment. You may not feel like your prayers are being answered right away but the Lord requires us to be patient. He is building your character, strength and resilience through the storms of life. He is also testing your faith. You may not always receive what you prayed, but you can trust that the Lord will provide exactly what you need within His timing.
During prayer, the Lord may share intimate details about your present or future. He reveals the secret things hidden in divine mysteries. Jer 33:3 The Lord provides the revelation of understanding, knowledge and discernment. Living a lifestyle of prayer provides protection in every area of your life.
Mindful Moments in Your Daily Life
Your daily tasks and routines can easily become moments of reflection and prayer.
Usually when I’m doing the dishes, I tend to drift away into day to day thoughts or just simply meditate as I watch the water and soap suds dance upon the plates and utensils before I load them into the dishwasher. Over the years, I’ve shifted my perspective on how I look at daily chores and find pleasure in folding laundry, cleaning the bathroom or organizing my bedroom.
The process of cleaning and organizing provides contentment and a sense of peace. It connects me to the Lord in solitude time so I can think, reflect, pray or worship as I complete my daily tasks. This is only one example, but you can connect with the Lord while driving in your car, waiting in line at the grocery store or in traffic.
When you take the limits off on how the Lord can move in your life, you will begin to experience His voice in a new profound way. He will show up when you least expect it, and when he does, don’t blow it off as a coincidence, serendipity or pure luck. The happenstance or occurrence is divine and orchestrated. Nothing is by chance. The Lord is a God of order, precise timing and intricate detail.
Worship and Obedience Pleases God
Your body is a temple which is made for worship. A healthy diet and eating habits reflect your intimacy with the Lord. Your social and personal relationships, attitudes and behavior should be in a posture of holiness and surrender. You should set apart time for worship or fasting to purify your thoughts and actions.
Sexual lusts and desires, promiscuity and adultery has no place in the lives of a believer. You must surrender your desires to the Lord and wash away the iniquity that keeps you bound. You cannot escape these desires in your own flesh, however the Holy Spirit can purge these desires from your heart, mind and body. It’s only by the Blood of Jesus that you can walk in purity and righteousness.
Finding the Beauty in Forgiveness
Surrender your pain to the Lord and release anger. Whoever you need to forgive, FORGIVE and let it go! Pray for your enemies. God is your contender. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to stay in a relationship once someone has shown you their true colors. You can move on without bitterness, pain or anger. Of course, it takes time to heal. Do not allow unforgiveness to steal your peace and joy. Once you learn to forgive others, you are set free from past pain. Remember mistakes can often be the best teacher so learn from them and move on.
Do not be entangled with a yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1
God is the redeemer and will make your crooked path straight. Isaiah 45:2
Seek the Lord for all things. His intentions are well-pleasing to your soul.
Thank you, Lord for showering me with your presence. I give you all the praise and glory in my life. My heart is open to your everlasting love. I surrender my own will so you can work through me to heal and mold me according to your will. Forgive me for ________. Purge anything that is not pleasing in your sight. I’m available to be a vessel of your goodness. Help me when I’m weak and strengthen me in every encounter that I face. I pray for a hedge of protection as I come and go from my destination each day. I am blessed from the top of my head to the souls of my feet. I walk with peace under the shadow of your wings. I’m covered by the precious Blood of Jesus. Amen.
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Our entire existence is related to the heart. Everything you do in life is a reflection of the heart. We often focus on health conditions related to the heart but our spiritual health can suffer heart disease as well. It can be infected with bitterness, regret, pain, jealousy, hate, or rage. It can also be infected with greed, selfishness, arrogance, pride, or unforgiveness.
Issues of the Heart
The condition of the heart can eventually affect our physical health, social life, relationships or community. When you don’t deal with the internal issues of your heart, it can completely destroy your life if you’re not careful.
Intentions of the Heart
Whatever you speak stems from your heart. You can never conceal your true feelings or actions. For example, when you pretend to be nice to someone, your true nature eventually is exposed because you can only be fake for so long. You may think you’re fooling the people around you but you can’t fool the Lord. He knows the true intentions and desires of your heart. Everything we do must be done in love. The Word of God is not a quote. It is the Living Word of God.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Heart of Giving
When we give to others, it should be done willingly. It shouldn’t give because you want something in return. Don’t give because you want to be liked or praised by men. Don’t give because it’s forced out of guilt. Give because you are compelled to give. Give freely from the heart.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise, ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have the glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matt 6:1-4
Desires of the Heart
There are so many things in this life that grabs our attention. The biggest house, the fastest car, the perfect wife or husband, and lots of money. We are constantly chasing after bigger and better things without taking time to appreciate what we have or being content with what we’ve achieved in life. We are constantly competing and comparing ourselves with others which only leads to disappointment, discouragement, or depression.
Idolatry comes in many forms. The Lord desires good gifts for his children but we must put God first beyond anything that we desire. We also should not chase after the Lord for the things in this world. God is not Santa Claus, a genie, or a magician. So our prayers should never plead or beg for selfish desires but it should be an adornment of praise, honor, and worship to the Father who knows exactly what you need and desires to give you much more than you can ever ask or think.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
Shifting the Heart
When you have a heart for God, the word is embedded within your heart. The true activation of the Word of God is not something you memorize or magnetize by the law of attraction. Unfortunately, too many people are claiming the promises of God without the acknowledgement of purifying their heart and mind and walking in obedience.
When you are walking in obedience, you have a desire to please the Lord and obey His commandments. You no longer have a desire to please your friends, family, classmates, or any other person that is not in alignment with the heart of God, His laws, and the purpose and plan for your life.
1 John 2:15-16
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The Bible cannot be cherry-picked. You simply can’t pick and choose what scriptures are desirable or comfortable for fitting your lifestyle. You can’t tweak the Gospel to fit into the culture of your comfort zone. The Word of God changes and transforms the culture.
Without a change of heart and shifting in your actions, behaviors and attitude, you are not living according to the Spirit of God but as instead as a carnal, worldly natural man according to fleshly or lustful desires. The natural man cannot understand spiritual things. Your character and mindset willingly will be transformed according to Christ when you put your faith in Him.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The Results of an Uncircumcised Heart
The Lord is a loving merciful God, however there is judgement for those who do not abide by his commandments. In other words, there are consequences for your actions and penalties for your sin.
Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. Ezk 44:9
The Baptism of a Circumcised Heart
When you decide to let go of your worldly nature and desires, a purifying action takes place. After receiving salvation, you’re purged from your old nature, and life is renewed. It doesn’t mean that you are exempt from problems and heartache but you’re now a part of God’s heavenly eternal Kingdom.
When you decide to get baptized, it is a public display of your change of heart and dedication to Christ from an uncircumcised heart to being circumcised to Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is activated upon your decision to live holy, sanctified (set apart), righteous and pure.
Although we are human, we will still make lots of mistakes and fall short of living a perfect life however that is the reason Christ died and was resurrected. You no longer need to live in condemnation, guilt, shame or regret. You are set free in Christ Jesus. This simple act of obedience is a dedication to the purification process of the heart. The outward man looks inwardly to transform his carnal ways to a spiritual one. It’s by God’s grace and mercy a new man is resurrected from the miracle cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to rest upon you.
So, let us come to the water of the Spirit. Let us drink from the water of life together. Let us reflect on the matters of our hearts and intentions. Let us celebrate with praise and thanksgiving and sing with a joyful heart for the things the Lord has done. Let us reflect on his nature and the promises, plans, and desires of our Lord.
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses Col 2:11-13
Let us love one another the way Christ loves us. Let us give with desire and passion. Let us speak words of life and not death. Let us focus on what we have not what we lack. Let our minds be renewed and transformed to truly change and shift the conditions of the heart.
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Our Father is worthy to be praised!
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise. Eph 1:13
2 Corth 1:21-22
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Scriptures Related to an Uncircumcised Heart
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury comes forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised
Scriptures Related to a Circumcised Heart
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15 Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
1 Corth 7:19
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
Scriptures Related to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;