Their Thoughts Your Prison by Kenika

 

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In a few months I will be turning a milestone age, well at least to me it’s a milestone, and I can already feel the transition.  I used to spend a lot of time concerning myself with what other people think. People talk all the time, but when it’s all said and done, I’m going to do what I’m going to do.  Because of this, I had been convinced that what they say doesn’t impact my decision-making or me.  However, while chatting with a friend I uttered these words, “What people say doesn’t affect what I do.  (In the end I’m going to do whatever I set out to do).  But, what they say does affect me personally.”  Even if the words, opinions and thoughts of others don’t stop me from producing, they do hinder me from producing with a freed up conscience.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter what people think, especially when we know we’ve been called or assigned by God to do something, but almost everyone can say that at one time or another the perceptions of others kept us from doing something.  I don’t know if it’s age, experience, or both, but I’ve decided that it’s a wrap for that.  A wise philosopher once said, “Care what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”  Whoa!  I don’t want to be anyone’s prisoner literally or figuratively.  But such truth can be found in that statement. For instance, I do contract work, which affords me the opportunity to work in several different fields. For this reason, I often get asked, “What is it that you do again?”  Some people ask out of pure interest and curiosity, others ask in what may appear to be a demeaning way, almost like, “What are you up to now?”  I jokingly said one time, “Until I ask someone for a loan to pay my bills, it’s really none of their business what I do.”  Now, now, I know this isn’t the most Godly or positive response, but in essence, what I was trying to convey is that what I do is what I feel I am supposed to be doing.  I am fine with it, and so are the people that are close to me, counsel me, and love me most.  If we’re all good, then everyone else needs to be all good with it as well.  But even if not, I refuse to be held prisoner to what someone else thinks any longer.

If we live our lives and make our decisions based on what other people think or say, not only will we be furthering ourselves from what God may have to say on the subject, but also we become captive to the person with whom the opinion originated.  We become bogged down with questions like, will they be happy with me, will they approve, will they judge me or will they still like me?  Let’s choose to forever free ourselves from the prison of other people’s thoughts and opinions and walk in true liberty.

 

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Mom’s Super Fruit Powers by Sonya

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? What super powers do mothers need? We are heroes to our kids so we need to use the super powers that God gives us, which are the fruits of the spirit power!  We need to live and be led by the Spirit as we parent and truly produce the Fruit of the Spirit.  Fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” Galatians 5: 22-23.  These fruits are a constant test for me as a mom.  Raising four kids, three of those being girls, has caused me to be on my knees and praying for patience, gentleness and self-control when dealing with certain emotions in my girls who cause a lot of  “drama” amongst each other.  You need to be careful as you pray for patience or self-control or any of them because sometimes I think God has a sense of humor and will give me more situations to have patience and self-control!

The Fruit of the Spirit have power in all areas of your life. It is like exercising, the more you workout then it becomes a habit in your life.  In exercising the Fruit of the Spirit, the more we work on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control the more it becomes easier to put into practice when we face life situations. Taking love, joy, and kindness can seem easy when you are around likeable people, but then you face friends or family that it is hard to love like Christ. These people you may not see eye to eye with, but you do need to walk in love and kindness to those loved ones, and share the joy of the Lord and let that be your strength in those times. Goodness, gentleness and faithfulness are other fruits that reflect who Christ is and as we exercise how to be loyal, softhearted and we can see the good in everyone and circumstances. Self-Control is a key fruit in mothering and not letting our anger or selfish ambition get in the way of our parenting.  Our flesh can truly take over but we know that Jesus came to crucify our sinful nature and allow Christ to take residence in our life so that we can be free from this world. Lastly, the peace is so important as you walk in the Spirit, and as the Spirit is prompting you to do something you will feel a deep sense of peace that only comes from being in step with the Holy Spirit. This peace is what keeps me in check with how I am doing as a mother because if I am not in sync with the Spirit, then my parenting is all out of line and I feel out of control as a mom because I don’t sense that peace.

Keeping in step with the Spirit is vital when desiring the Fruit of the Spirit. These fruits are the characteristics of Christ and we as mothers are to model that for our kids.  Not saying we need to be perfect but humbly striving to be more like Christ in these areas is the goal. Let’s pray, “Lord help me to walk with You and be in step with the Holy Spirit as a mother that my life will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. AMEN”

 

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Asking, Seeking & Knocking by Bombi

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Have you ever felt like your prayers are going unanswered? Your friend prayed for a better job and seemed to get it right away. Your sister prayed for a good husband and bam there he is. There you are, wondering if you’re being heard.

We know that scripture has much to say on prayer, like praying according to God’s will (1 John 5:14), praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), and that the prayers of a righteous person avails much (James 5:16), to name just a few. Today I want to remind you about another aspect of prayer, but we’ll get to that.

When I was in high school, God lit a fire in my spirit to live for Him. He began to show and prove how real He was. I learned then to pray the prayer of faith.  My first epic prayer of faith was for Godly friends. As my high school history would have it, I went on to experience this prayer answered in the most memorable ways. I was blown away that God heard me and gave me what I asked. I am still living out the blessings of this answered prayer to this day.

There was another huge thing I prayed for. I had a very strong desire to see Japan. Honestly, it wasn’t rooted in a heart for missions. I simply wanted to go to this enchanted land and experience it for myself, even if there was no way I could afford it. I bought a map of Japan, taped it on my wall, and began to pray. Soon I found out about an exchange program that picked one student from Arizona a year to go all expenses paid. I thought, “This is it, this is my chance!” I eagerly applied for it and knocked the interview out of the park, or so I felt. I had a taste of answered prayer and expected to be picked.

When I heard I was not picked, my heart was shattered. I cried and cried. I remember my parents telling me not to give up, that I had one more year of high school left, and I could try again. I wasn’t as confident this time, but still I prayed for a whole year. Interview time came, and when it was over I didn’t know what to think. I’ll never forget getting pulled out of class weeks later and being sent to the front office to hear my mom’s voice over the phone, “Mija you got it, they picked you for Japan, you’re going to Japan!” Once again, I prayed in faith, and God heard me and answered me. He gave me my heart’s desire when I kept asking. I’m writing this to tell you that if He did it for me, He can do it for you.

“[a] Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” ~Matthew 7:7-8 (AMP)

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