Devotionals and Encouragement, Feelings and Emotions

Being at peace with all men: A few things I’ve learned about Forgiveness

Jesus made it very clear that God expects us to forgive quickly and freely ..

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

But let’s be real, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. So I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned over the years that have made forgiving others easier.

So the first thing I’ve learned is not to take offenses personal.

See, when we realize that ultimately ALL sin is committed against God, we will begin to change the way we act, or in this case REACT towards others.

Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mineI will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

When people sin, they can either repent and receive the same forgiveness of their sins as we did. Or they can (and will!) suffer the eternal consequences. Either way, we have to be at peace with all men. And that doesn’t mean that we have to trust or tolerate unrepentant sin. That just means that we can’t withhold love or forgiveness.

Another thing I’ve learned is that we really have to start trusting God. A lot of us think that we do but we DO NOT, AT ALL!

It can be hard to see the good in difficult situations but we should find comfort in the fact that GOD IS GOOD. And not in a cliche way, but in a way of if He allowed it,  somehow it’s going to work out for my benefit in order to bring HIM glory.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

We have to trust that. And speaking of giving God glory, God does not get the glory out of us being victims, or gossips and slanderers! Instead, we should learn to pray.

I’m learning that praying enables us to see beyond what was done to possibly why it was done. And trust me, I know the last thing we want to do is pray for those who hurt us or our loved ones but the truth is is that’s only because we aren’t abiding in the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-23)

God is rich in mercy. So how can we say that we have his HOLY spirit when we aren’t producing any fruits of it? It’s because we either DON’T have His spirit or we need to humble ourselves. Which is another thing that I’ve learned—to humble myself!

Seriously, It’s easier to forgive as you consider your own debts! Do you guys remember the parable of the unmerciful servant?

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:21-35)

It’s like, NO MATTER WHAT,  I too was (and am!) NOT worthy of God’s grace and forgiveness.  I offend God and have hurt other people. Hey, I need Jesus! And maybe you already know all of this and just want closure. Well I’ll tell you this, closure does not depend on the other person. Lastly, I’ve learned that we can’t always physically forgive because of physical or “mental” distance. Sometimes we just have to forgive by faith. And that’s okay because it’s all about releasing people in our hearts anyway.

So, I hope that this post has encouraged you to forgive. Let us remember above all else that unforgiveness is sin.

With love,
Brandi

Devotionals and Encouragement

5 things to remember when you’re growing weary

We’ve all been there. In that tormenting place of despair. And to be honest with y’all, I have been a frequent visitor. So I may not know your personal situation or circumstances but I do know what it’s like to be losing (or trying to find!) yourself.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

And that’s the thing, because this whole life process is basically  about dying to ourselves in order to be found in Christ. So as you’re trying to fight the good fight,  I just want to encourage you (and myself!) not to give up.

We WILL have tribulations! Nobody teaches those kinds of promises but the first thing I want us to remember is that as “Christians” we are supposed to be following the examples of Jesus Christ. And that means that as children of God we will have to endure some suffering.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. (Hebrews 12:1-13, NET)

And remember, you are not the only one suffering!

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.  And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10, NET)

There is a WHOLE BODY of believers who are ultimately fighting toward that same heart, mind and agenda. And no it is not easy when our souls cling to the dust but the scriptures are TRUE . Remember, we are more than CONQUERORS through Jesus!

 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

I think a lot of us have a misconception about Tribulation. It’s like we only view it as great trouble or suffering caused by oppression or persecution. And that is true but when we start trying to crucify our flesh we don’t see that kind of agony as Tribulation. Which it is, these are the tests and trials the Bible speaks about.  (In your own time review 1 Peter chapter 4)

So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. (1 Peter 4:19)

We have to remember that the battle is spiritual, and that we overcome evil by DOING GOOD (Romans 12:21). This is the whole point of being told not to get weary in well doing.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

It’s all about endurance, and about having that HOPE and faith in God to know that we aren’t obeying (which according to the Bible is loving and worshiping) Him in vain.

Oh how I love this scripture: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

So lastly,  I just want to remind you to guard your hearts with the truth. Because if we accept lies (in any form) our hearts are in danger of being hardened toward the Lord. Jesus told us that we can not serve to masters. So you’re going to have to pledge your allegiance to one or the other. And we do this by the way that we live our lives. Don’t let anyone deceive you, and don’t deceive yourself. Jesus has no pleasure in us being lukewarm. It’s unacceptable. It’s like would you accept being served lukewarm tea or coffee? I mean, i’m just trying to imagine this.

 I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT)

So I hope that this post really helps us to refocus on what is truly important. I’m praying for you and I hope that you all are praying for me too.

With love,
Brandi

When you want to give up, remember why you started. (1)

Devotionals and Encouragement, Faith

How I strengthen my faith

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have the greatest faith. This is something that I am working very hard to develop in. I’ve struggled A LOT with double mindedness, so I just want to share with those of you who can relate what I’ve been doing to make progress.

So number 1, (and these aren’t in any particular order. It really just depends on the season or situation that I’m in) I listen to the gospel.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

To be honest, I don’t always feel like reading the bible. So I am BEYOND thankful for people who are SENT to preach the gospel. And I’m not talking about self proclaimed pastors and female preachers on instagram. I’m talking about true followers of Jesus Christ who be teaching THE TRUTH.  REPENT! And DENY YOURSELF the pleasures of this world!! Not only is their allegiance to God inspiring but the reproof immediately pulls me right back into the Spirit. Yaaasssss!

I read edifying books and blogs

I’m a big reader (and obviously a writer) so, it’s right up my alley. I’ve learned (and grown) so much from reading other people’s testimonies.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

I confess my sins to my husband

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

There’s just something about admitting that you’ve messed up (or that you’re needing help!). And that is exactly how my husband has become my therapist😂 But seriously, he and my children know my intentions so they can just listen or respond with truth, prayer and love, instead of worldly wisdom (which by the way is just demonic and foolishness to God).

I pray in tongues

And speaking of prayer, one of the most effective ways to build OURSELVES up is to pray in tongues (if we have received them). Now I don’t do this as often as I should but when I do it’s like I’ve had an extreme makeover. I’m undeniably renewed.

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:17-21)

I watch near death experiences

Another thing I like to do when I’m feeling weary is to watch personal testimonies and near death encounters. Of course there is a lot of unbiblical foolishness on the web but there is also a lot of truth and encouragement. Near death experiences always produce more fear of the Lord in me. Which is a VERY good and necessary thing.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

I have meaningful conversations (usually with my husband) about God’s will and character

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.(Galatians 5:22-26)

Sitting around talking about God’s will (and wrath!) is a for sure way to get my affections off of this world (or off of myself!) and back on Him. His ways really are perfect. So if you are struggling with abiding in the Spirit, I encourage you to just read Psalm 119. It quickens me EVERY time!

I write letters to Jesus

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

This is something that I’ve just recently started doing and I am SO glad that I have . I really want to know Jesus personally/intimately. And I found out that he is so willing!  Jesus literally responded to one of my letters and it took my faith to a whole nother level. This is more than journaling. This is like texting someone you’ve just met. It’s communication and its definitely strengthening our relationship.

So, these are the things that I am currently doing to grow in faith. I hope that something on this list can also help you on your journey. I love you my sisters, let us not get weary in well doing.

Brandi