Devotions of the Week Vol. 2

November 6, 2015

Hello! Happy Friday! I hope you all had the greatest week! Here is my second edition to my 'Devotions of the Week' series. I am so happy that you all enjoyed last week's. I was overwhelmed by y'all's support and cannot wait to share with you all more of what I have been reading in God's Word. I would also love to know what you all are studying in the Bible! 

This day I spent some time giving thanks to God. It is often that I find myself taking for granted the things I have in my life. I rarely stop and appreciate how blessed I am to live where I am, be who I am, and be surrounded who I am around. For everyone, the things that you are grateful for are different. I really do encourage you to sit down and take some time to write down 10 things that you are thankful that God does for you. 

 Isaiah 9:6B: "... And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Don't you just love that!? I do! Our God is so great and so powerful! He is not only our Lord, but also our friend, counselor, refuge, prince, and the list goes on and on and on. I just think that is so amazing. In chapter 8 of Isaiah verse 17, it states "I will put my trust in Him". It got me thinking. Will I put my trust in Him? Though the good times? The bad? Will I always go to Him first? I will admit. I do not always do that. I do not always go into prayer when something horrible happens. Should I? Of course! In the Bible, it states that God will always answer your prayers. Ask and you shall receive. Yes, I should trust in Him, because he orchestrates everything in our life. He knows everything that will happen, is happening, and did happen. Just a little thought, do you put your trust in God in everything? That is definitely something I want to work on.  
Something I really found interesting was a prophecy that was fulfilled in the New Testament. If you study more of the Old Testament, you can actually find more fulfilled prophecies. (9:1) The prophecy of Christ's birth and that the government would try to hunt Him down was stated. Just how accurate and how amazing that that was prophesied way before Jesus's coming is amazing.

The book of 1 Thessalonians is one that I do not seek for guidance a lot. As I read chapter 4 and 5, I wondered why I did not. I found a whole lot of great things. These chapters mainly talk about how to please the Lord and the coming of the Lord. If you are a Christian, you believe that God is coming back one day. The Lord will come down, sound the trumpet, and in a blink of an eye, us, believers, will be with Him (4:16). That just amazes me -- in a blink of an eye, like a thief in the night. We will be with the Lord for forever. Because we are human, that word, 'forever", is not even imaginable. We cannot fathom that there was no beginning and end for God. There is so much that we will finally be able to understand when we are in the presence of God. I think that is so encouraging for us to keep on spreading the Word, so that our loved ones and friends can also live in the presence of the Lord. 
We know that He is coming one day and that is enough. We do not need to know the specific date or time (5:1). There is no need for that. If we have already accepted Christ into our hearts, we do not need to be prepared for that, because we are already prepared by believing in Him. Because this world is full of sin and darkness, we do not belong here. Because Christ died on the cross so that we could live eternally with Him, we belong in Heaven. But while we are on this earth, let us be the light. Let's shine our light and use it for good in this dark world. Let's use this time on earth to do what is pleasing to God. Live everyday like it is your last. Spread goodness and God's Word. Have faith and love! Love everybody. I know that a verse in the Bible says that if we hate our brother, but love God, we cannot love God. God loves us even though we are sinners. Let's return Him that love by loving everyone around us. I know that that can be hard thanks to sin. If someone has done you wrong, turn the other cheek and go about your life. Do not dwell on that thing, because that will make you so miserable. 
The Bible is pretty amazing. In the Bible, there are so many parables that we can learn from and so many God-given instructions. God gives us specific instructions -- to be joyful, pray continually, pray for other Christians, give thanks in all circumstances. I think that is pretty straightforward. Prayer is an important tool that we should use. My prayer for you is that you use that for prayer can really draw you closer to God.

Chapter 14 of Deuteronomy touches a very touchy topic, food. I wrote down some personal things for myself in my journal and did not want to share those. Because this is a really touchy subject, I do encourage you to read this chapter for yourself. In chapter 13, it talks about worshiping other gods. As a Christian, I know that there is only one true God. I know that we are commanded in the Bible not to worship false idols. Anyone or anything that teaches otherwise is false. False teachers are all around us and is something we need to be aware of.
Back to false idols. Something that has really been controversial this week and the top subject has been 'social media'. Is it toxic? Is it all an illusion? Personally, I believe that social media is a great outlet, but it can also have its bad sides. One thing that I have found that it can be very addicting. We may not worship it, but we can have all our attention on it therefore it being idol-like. I am a huge advocate for Instagram. I love Instagram. I think it is an amazing way to connect with your readers and other bloggers and discover different people. But we have to remember, to use it in moderation. Do not spend all your time getting that perfect Instagram feed. I am guilty of wanting that "aesthetically pleasing theme". I spend so much time editing my photos and taking them to a point that it takes up a whole lot of my time. I am not always present. Social media is an amazing tool but beware that it can slowly turn into an idol.

 This night, I went to youth group and was amazed at what I learned. The subject was on forgiveness. I felt like that message was directly for me. I am personally dealing with a situation that is very touchy, and I find horrible. I do not understand why some people do the things that they do. But who am I to judge? Who am I not to forgive? When Jesus died on that cross, we lost our right not to forgive. God forgave all of us. All of us! Even though we are all sinners, He forgave and made a huge sacrifice, His son. We do not have that right not to forgive. The pastor made some points on forgiveness that I would love to share with you all:

  • Forgiveness is not pretending it did not happen. 
I am a huge on just leaving the situation and pretending it did not happen. Does that help? No! You will always have that feeling of resentment when you are around them if you do not forgive them. Anger and resentment builds up inside you if you do not forgive. It is like a huge knot in your heart and honestly it is not the best feeling. I hate that feeling! A question you need to ask in your life is "Who am I going to let into my life? Who am I going to let be close to me?" Do not build a wall between the person you are having a problem with. The difference between a wall and barrier is that a wall is what you put up when you do not forgive. It is what you put up when you resent them because of that problem. A boundary is put up to help re-establish a relationship. It is given with forgiveness. 
  • Before the conversation, forgive them first. 
This is so important. Do not go into a conversation with that built up resentment. Likely, that conversation will escalate quickly and not go very well.  I thought this statement was so helpful. Go into the conversation with the topic of how you can rebuild that relationship.
  • Forgiveness is the first step to emotional healing. 
Anger can emotionally break you. It can tear you apart. It can lead to depression. So many teenagers are emotionally depressed. Anger towards your parents for splitting up and ruining your childhood could be built up. Anger towards a friend who has wronged you can tear you into pieces. I know that this can hit home for a lot of people. This topic definitely hits home for me too. Remember, time does not heal all wounds. Do not put off that conversation thinking that it will all be okay in two months between y'all. You have to take the first step. You have to remember though that you cannot do it all. Trust in God that He will help heal the wounds created from that situation. 

Thank you for reading! My devotionals were very touchy this week, and it was definietly something I needed. What are you studying in your Bible and how have your applied that in your life? I am doing this series, so I am held accountable by not only God but also you all to apply all of my devotionals to my own life. I am really excited to be able to document my spiritual growth and to hopefully see you all grow spiritually.
If you have any questions or want to chat, feel free to email me anytime


Verse of the Week:

1 Thessalonians 4:17
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.


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