Eat Like Your Life Depends On It

Recently while looking for a particular item in my kitchen cabinet, the words on a label caught my eye. The label read, “Eat like your life depends on it.” Since the label was on a healthy item, I interpreted the words to mean, eat food that contributes to good health.

Better health, better life!

I’ve had a few health issues in my lifetime. Such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, Graves’ Disease (an Autoimmune Disease), joint pain, and eczema, just to name a few. With all of them, I’ve gotten well be eliminating and adding certain foods to my diet.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 

According to livestrong.com, an unhealthy diet can affect the way we feel, look, think, and act. It also creates several negative health issues. I can attest to that!

When I eat foods that are not beneficial to my health, I’ll physically feel terrible. I’ll feel sluggish or irritable. I’ll have headaches, digestive pain, and joint pain. Sometimes I’ll even get sick. I’ve learned the hard way that what I put into my body matters.

The choice is ours. We can consume foods that contribute to life or death.

Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Likewise, what we feed our soul (mind and emotions) and our spirit makes a difference in our mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.

We are bombarded daily with mental, emotional, and spiritual junk food. It comes in the form of listening to gossip or negative talk. Listening to, reading, or watching material that present worldly viewpoints that are contrary to biblical truths.

I like staying informed as much as the next person but even spending too much time watching the news can be detrimental. If I watch too much news I can start to feel angry, sad, overwhelmed, or worried. Also, being around negative people or gossipers, makes me feel yucky.

Those are all things we could stand to eliminate from our soul and spiritual diets. But what are some things we should add that would contribute to better mental, emotional, and spiritual health?

  • Read and listen to God’s word regularly. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
  • Read material that inspires or educates. “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” ~ Jim Rohn
  • Surround ourselves with positive people. Proverbs 18:8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.
  • Watch and listen to programs that are uplifting and positive. Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Are you catching every cold that goes around? Experiencing brain fog? Fatigue? Headaches? Bloating? Grumpiness? Dull skin? Joint pain? Sleeplessness? Constipation? What are you eating and drinking?

Are you experiencing anxiety, sadness, irritability, anger, fear, discouragement, critical judgmental thoughts, divisive thoughts? What are you reading, listening to, and watching? Who are you spending time with?

We all need to evaluate our diets from time to time, eliminating some things and adding others. What we consume makes a huge difference in all areas of our lives.

Let’s eat like our lives depend on it. Let’s consume things that contribute to our overall health and longevity; spirit, soul, and body.

3 John 1:2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

What are some ways you stay healthy spirit, soul, and body? Encourage others by sharing below.

I know these are tough times. Hang in there. We will get through this together. I’m praying for you. God bless you!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Weed Barriers

Coming out of winter, one of my goals for Spring was to start an in-ground vegetable garden. Thanks to the “Stay Home Stay Safe” campaign due to the Coronavirus I’ve had extra time to make that goal a reality.

I’m a novice compared to most when it comes to gardening. I’m learning as I go. It’s been going well so far. I have run into one snag, however. I seem to be losing my battle with the prolific weeds and grass. My garden is organic so herbicides are a no-no.

In doing some research, I’ve discovered a solution, weed barriers. A weed barrier is something material that blocks or is intended to block the passage of weeds in a garden [Merriam-Webster Dictionary App].

I’ve decided to create an organic weed barrier by laying packaging paper between the plants and in the aisles then covering it with a thick layer of pine straw. It’s a work in progress that’s taking a lot of time and effort but in the end, it will be worth it.

The problem with weeds and grass in any garden is they compete with the wanted plants for water, sunlight, and nutrients leaving non-weed plants starving, weak, and prone to insect and disease infestation [homeguides.sfgate.com].

Just as weeds can stunt garden growth, weeds can also stunt spiritual growth. Weeds of negativity, offense, resentment, discouragement, bitterness, addiction, fear, pride, distraction, and sin can leave us hungry, weak, and prone to enemy attacks.

We need a spiritual weed barrier!

Spiritual weed barriers:

  • Quality time with God in prayer. Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
  • Read, listen to, meditate on, speak, and study God’s word. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 
  • Worship and praise the Lord. Psalms 100:22 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 
  • Obey God’s word. Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
  • Fellowship (from a distance during COVID-19) with like-minded believers. Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Last week I shared about how I had grown discouraged. Discouragement is a destructive weed in our spiritual gardens. I had to assess the problem. I was not utilizing my weed barriers.

Are you losing the battle of the weeds? Assess the problem and lay down your weed barriers. It’s a work in progress and takes time and effort but in the end, it will be worth it.

Feed your spirit and watch it grow. Starve those annoying destructive weeds and watch them die.

What are the results of feeding our spirits and laying down weed barriers? Abundant healthy fruit! Or in my case, vegetables.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

Encourage others by sharing in the comments below on how feeding your spirit and creating weed barriers has strengthened you during a difficult season in your life. What fruit have you seen so far?

God bless you and your families. I’m praying for you.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Distancing or Disconnecting

How’s everyone doing with the stay-home order? Introverts tend to be homebodies so personally, staying home hasn’t been a problem for me. As a matter of fact, I rather enjoy it. Plus there is always something that needs to be done around the house.

Not to mention the fact that it’s such a hassle to go anywhere with all the precautions that have to be taken as to not catch or spread the coronavirus. With that in mind, I’d rather stay at home as much as possible.

However, I have run into a problem. I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to be a little discouraged lately. I’ve confused distancing with disconnecting.

I guess I’ve always been kind of a loner. I’ve been guilty of falling into the trap of thinking I don’t need other people due to past hurts and disappointments. In the past, I’ve used it as a form of self-preservation. But now it’s just a bad habit.

Now that I’m in a deeper relationship with the Lord, I figure I should just go to Him with all my hurts, disappointments, and discouragements. I should always go to the Lord first. We all should. But there are times when we just need a trusted friend to talk to.

We are human. God did not intend for us to go through this life alone. He’s put people in our lives that we can talk to and open up to. People God uses to give us what we need when we need it; correction, comfort, God’s word, prayer, or just a listening ear.

In the bible, there is an account of Joshua and the Israelite army fighting the Amalekites. As long as Moses held his hands up the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.

When Moses became tired, a stone was put under him so he could sit down. Aaron and Hur held his hands up until sunset. Consequently, the Israelites won the battle [Exodus 17:10-13].

Moses could have said to himself, “I don’t need help. I’ve got this. The Lord will help me.” If that were the case the battle would have been lost. Joshua may have lost his life. Maybe even Moses himself would have died that day. Imagine that!

Moses was wise. He recognized that God was helping him by surrounding him with people who could and would support and encourage him to stay strong in the battle. They kept him lifted up.

And so it is with us. We need to realize that God did not intend for us to go through life alone and especially to not fight our battles alone. We need each other.

Discouragement is a battle. It is also a weapon the enemy uses to destroy us, our witness, our family, our future, our potential, our purpose. It’s a big deal and it should not be dismissed.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

Just because we have a stay-home order and are practicing distancing doesn’t mean we should disconnect from others. We need to find ways to stay connected.

We can call or facetime a friend or family member. Some people are visiting others outside, staying the recommended 6 feet apart. Some are driving to a friend’s house and visiting with them from their car. Others are sending letters of encouragement to the nursing homes in their area.

Let’s not confuse distancing with disconnecting. We need to take necessary precautions against catching or spreading the coronavirus but we also need to take necessary precautions against discouragement.

Let’s go to the Lord in prayer, read His word, speak His word, listen to His word, worship Him. And let’s not forget to stay connected with others who will keep us lifted up during this battle.

Also, let’s be the one that encourages others. Let’s be the trusted friend that will listen.

1 Thessalonians 5:11a Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 

What are some ways you are staying connected with others? How has someone reached out to encourage you? How have you been an encouragement to others? Share in the comments below.

God bless you. I’m praying for you. We’ll get through this together.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Daunting Cleansing Rituals

I recently had a conversation with a friend about the many precautions we have to take as to not spread or catch the Coronavirus. In particular, cleaning routines.

When life was “normal” we never thought about disinfecting our mail or delivered packages. We didn’t wash our hands for 20 seconds multiple times a day. We didn’t change our clothes as soon as we got home from the grocery store.

Who could have ever imagined we’d be wearing gloves and masks to buy our groceries for crying out loud. Not to mention cleaning every handle and doorknob in our homes every day, sometimes more than once a day. It’s a daunting task!

It reminds me of the cleansing rituals the Israelites had to practice in the Old Testament.

The cleansings were done in preparation to be in God’s presence [Exodus 19:10-11]. The priests had to be consecrated before they entered the temple [Exodus 40:12-15]. If a person had an infection they had to be quarantined and cleansed before going out in public again [Leviticus 13:6].

These rituals involved washing clothes, bathing, sprinkling water, washing of hands and feet. Sound familiar? There was a specific cleansing ritual for every situation. More than 7000 ritual washings. Ugh! Can you imagine?

In the Bible, uncleanliness is a representation of sin. All the cleansings were an attempt to be holy in the presence of a holy God.

Leviticus 11:44a I am the Lord your God, consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy. 

The more I think about the numerous cleansing rituals that had to be performed to be in God’s presence, the more thankful I am for Jesus.

Through Christ, we are made holy.

Colossians 1:21-22 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. 

The lyrics in a hymn by Robert Lowry say it all:

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away our sins. Not church attendance, baptism, or bible reading. Not charity or community service. Not praying ritualistic prayers, singing in the choir, or fasting. Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

We would never be able to do enough good to wash our sins away. The wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]. If we could wash our own sins away by doing good, Jesus suffered and shed His sinless blood for nothing.

1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Are you wearing yourself out trying to wash your sins away by doing good? Good deeds are great if they are done for the right reasons.

We should do good out of gratitude for what God has done for us through Christ, not to appease Him. Jesus has already appeased the wrath of God on the cross [Romans 5:8-9].

You may be thinking, “That seems too simple.” For us, it is. But for Jesus, it was a horrific sacrifice.

There is only one thing we need to do to accept the gift of having our sins washed away. Believe. That’s it.

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 

If you are needlessly wearing yourself out by trying to wash your sins away with good deeds, I’d like to invite you to pray the prayer below and mean it with all of your heart.

Jesus did all the work it took to wash our sins away. That is good news for all of us today. With all the bad news in the world, we could all use a little good news. This isn’t just good news, it’s the best news ever.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Jesus. 

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I Don’t Understand

At some point in every day, I find myself saying, “What in the world is going on?” This COVID-19 crisis blows my mind. It really is baffling.

I don’t pretend to understand what is going on where the virus is concerned. I have questions just like you. But my answers always end in, “I don’t know.”

However, I do know two things. First, I know that God knows the answers and that’s all I need to know. Second, Because God knows the answers and is in control of all things, I can trust Him and that’s what I plan to do.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. 

When I struggle to make sense of things or need clarification, I go to God in prayer and to His word.

As I lay in bed early one morning thinking about COVID-19 and the mysteries that surround it, I was reminded of Ruth in the bible.

Ruth’s father-in-law, brother-in-law, and husband died. Who can understand that? That had to be tough. I’m sure she had a lot of questions with no answers.

Ruth had a choice to make. She could go back to live with her parents or stay with her mother-in-law and relocate to her mother-in-law’s home town.

Ruth decided to stay with her mother-in-law. Her words were, “Your people will be my people and your God my God [Ruth 1:16].”

Ruth had chosen to stay close to God and His people and to trust Him and His plan for her, whatever that may be. She decided to allow her crisis to make her better and not bitter.

Things turned out well for Ruth in the end. She married a man named Boaz. Together, they started a family. They are the great grandparents of David. Best of all they are mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy.

Wow! Talk about God using a bad situation for good and His glory.

Last Summer I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo breast cancer radiation treatment. It was a horrible, miserable experience.

At the time of my diagnosis, I didn’t understand why God had allowed me to have breast cancer. I was full of questions with no answers. But I knew where to go for strength, encouragement, and comfort; God and His word.

As a result, instead of allowing the devastating diagnosis to make me bitter, I decided to allow it to make me better and allow God to use it to encourage others who were in the same situation. God used it for good and His glory.

The experience gave me empathy for others in health crises that I would not have had otherwise. Therefore, I knew exactly how to pray for them and encourage them.

It also changed me. My faith in God grew. I drew closer to Him and now know Him in ways I never knew Him before. It humbled me and gave me more insight into His sovereignty.

The experience also gave me a new outlook on life. I take time to enjoy moments and people more than I did before. I am also more determined than ever to fulfill my purpose.

God flooded me with His peace and gave new meaning to 2 Corinthians 12:9.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

The Lord enabled me to used my health crisis to point others to Him for strength, comfort, and salvation. After all, Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Are you struggling with wanting to understand what is going on in the world or in your own life? Are you struggling to trust the one who knows and understands all things?

Throughout the bible, we see account after account of how God took what was meant for evil and used it for good and for His glory [Genesis 50:20]. God was up to something then and I believe He is up to something now. Something we may not be able to see right now but we will. And it may mean something different to each one of us.

I once heard a quote by a well know preacher that has stuck with me. She said, “We live life forward but we understand it backward.” Isn’t that the truth!

I want to encourage you to stop exhausting yourself trying to make sense of everything that’s going on in the world. Faith means not understanding but trusting anyway.

Let’s go to the only one who knows all things and is in control of all things. Let’s go to God and His word. He has allowed this Corona crisis for a purpose. Let’s not allow it to make us bitter but instead to make us better and to change us.

Let’s allow God to use us to encourage others, pray for them, and point them to Christ for strength, comfort, and salvation.

God is up to something! Let’s not lean on our own understanding. Let’s trust Him and His plan for us, whatever that may be.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Know Your Enemy

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have heard some of this same talk.

There are all sorts of theories, assumptions, and even so-called facts floating around. “This country started the virus for this reason” and “This underground secret organization started the virus for this reason.” Listening to all these theories makes my head spin.

Some of these theories may very well be true but my point is this, we are in the middle of a battle and a major part of winning any battle is knowing who your enemy is.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

God’s word is clear. Our enemy is Satan and in this battle, his weapon is the Coronavirus. What is his strategy?

John 10:10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. 

1 Peter 5:8b Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

It may look as though our enemy has the upper hand right now but things are happening behind the scenes that we don’t always see in the news or scrolling through Social Media.

Throughout the Bible, we see time and again how God takes what our enemy means for evil and uses it for good. We see it in the life of Joseph, David, Ruth, Esther, the Apostles, and most importantly in the life and death of Jesus.

Satan thought he had finally beat God at the cross of Christ but it turned out to be God’s biggest victory of all time for all mankind.

Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 

How is God using what Satan intends for evil for good in the Corona battle?

  • We’re talking about God.
  • We’re talking to God.
  • We’re reading our Bibles.
  • We’re crying out to God for help.
  • We’re running to God for salvation.
  • We’re putting our differing political views aside to help one another.
  • We’re spending time with people we live with, getting to know them better.
  • We’re reaching out to those we have been out of touch with, checking on them.
  • We’re using Social Media as a tool to encourage instead of tear down.
  • We’re more unified and less divided.
  • We’re more appreciative of things and people we miss due to social distancing.

Just like our enemy Satan has a strategy in this battle, God gives us a battle strategy.

Ephesians 6:14-18 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the Lord’s people. 

God tells us who our enemy is, He assures us He is working things out for good, He’s with us, He’s fighting for us [Romans 8:28, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 3:22], and He provides us with the proper gear needed to fight and win every battle.

So, instead of pointing fingers at this government, this country, this scientist, or that organization which leads to more division, which is also a strategy of our enemy, let’s instead join together in unity to fight our true enemy, Satan.

Let’s heed the recommendations of scientists, doctors, and government officials on how to keep from catching and spreading the Coronavirus.

Let’s put on our battle gear and use it!

  • The helmet of salvation to protect our minds against negative thoughts that lead to fear, worry, anxiety, and panic.
  • The breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts from discouragement.
  • Wrap ourselves tightly in the belt of truth, Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.
  • Put on our shoes of the good news of God’s peace and share it with others.
  • Keep our shield of faith in God as our helper, provider, and healer held high and steady, quenching the fiery darts of fear and worry.
  • Keep the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, in our hearts, minds, and mouths.
  • Pray about everything all the time and for everyone.
  • Stay alert, stay vigilant!

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope and pray this blog has encouraged you to fight the good fight of faith. If you would like to offer more words of encouragement to others please comment below. God bless you and I’m praying for you.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Our Rescue in the Corona Storm

Wow! What a storm we are all going through right now! It’s not just our own little individual storms. The whole world is in the same boat going through the same storm. We’re all in this together.

I’m reminded of another storm in Matthew 14:22-34. Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go ahead of Him to the other side of the lake while He went alone to pray. Later that night a storm arose and the boat was being beaten by strong winds and waves.

Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to the boat walking on the waves. When the disciples saw Him they were afraid. Jesus assured them that it was He; therefore, calming their fears.

Peter, full of faith, wanted to walk on the water with Jesus and so he did. But when he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on the stormy waves, he began to sink.

Peter cried out to Jesus, “Save me!” Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. Then He said, “You of little faith, why did you dought?”

Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down, and the disciples worshiped Jesus saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Then they continued their journey to the other side of the lake.

We are all in the same boat going through the same storm and everything seems dark right now. Jesus is telling us we are going to make it to the other side together. He’s assuring us of His presence and who He is, calming our fears.

He’s inviting us to walk on the storms of life with Him, to trust Him, to keep our focus on Him.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we walk in victory above our circumstances with confidence in the One who is in control of all things. When we take our eyes off Jesus and put them on the storm we sink in fear; because we are putting faith in the storm rather than the One who can calm the storm.

However, when we begin to sink in fear, and we all do at times, we can cry out to Jesus to rescue us and He is right there to catch us and calm the storm inside us and give us His peace.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

During this Corona storm, Jesus wants us to know that truly He is the only one who can save us. Truly He is the only one that can calm the storms in our hearts and minds and give us peace that surpasses all understanding. Truly He is the only one who can get us to the other side of this storm victoriously. Truly He is the Son of God!

I’d like to encourage you today to keep your eyes on Jesus amid the storm. Amid the turbulent wind and waves of fear and dought beating your heart and mind.

You may ask, “How do I do that?”

Some things I do to keep my focus on Christ are to read and study His Word, the Bible, listen to worship music, read devotionals, pray, read Christian books, listen to sermons filled with the truth of God’s Word, talk to other believers for encouragement.

Yes, stay informed and take every precaution to avoid catching or spreading the Coronavirus. We need to do these things just out of love and respect for everyone around us.

But we can do all these things while keeping our eyes on Jesus, keeping our faith in Him as our source of help, strength, protection, peace, joy, provision, and victory.

Psalms 91:14-15 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, ” I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

God’s got this and He’s got you!

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

If you would like to offer additional words of encouragement to others please comment below. Also, let’s remember to pray for one another, help one another, and be generous with our resources. God bless you!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

Encouragement Amid Chaos

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, which you probably have, you’ve probably noticed a lot of empty shelves. It seems as though the world is having trouble meeting the needs of the people during this Coronavirus crisis.

As I ponder the world’s short supply of things we need, I’m reminded of God’s never-ending supply of all our needs and especially the crisis-essentials; things more vital than masks, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.

I’m talking about the things only God can supply amid a crisis; things we can’t buy in a store.

  • God is our never-ending supply of refuge, strength, and help.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

  • God is our never-ending supply of love and mercy.

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of peace.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of hope.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • God is our never-ending supply of joy.

Psalms 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

  • God is our never-ending supply of stability.

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of companionship. 

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of victory.

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is just a short-list of God’s never-ending supply of most important essentials during not only times of crisis but also in our everyday lives.

What are you running low on today? Joy? Peace? Companionship due to recommended social distancing?

Let me personally invite you to God’s storehouse, where the supply of crisis-essentials never run out, are always abundant, always available, and always free to you and me; paid for by the blood of Jesus.

Wow! Now that’s the best news we may have heard in a long time.

I hope this blog has encouraged you today. I want to further encourage you to go to God’s word for the answers to every problem and to go to Him in prayer. He loves us and wants us to talk to Him about the things that concern us. He’s our good Father.

The Lord is the only answer to every crisis. He is the only one who can truly help us and meet every need. So let’s not run from the Lord during times of trouble but instead run to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If anyone has a specific prayer need, please comment below. Also, If anyone would like to add words of encouragement for others please do so. I am praying for us all. God bless you!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Relationship Factor

I was talking to a friend who is having some difficulties in her marriage. She shared how she tells her husband every day that she loves him but he rejects her love and affection. As she began to cry, I could sense her pain. Her heart was breaking.

Their wedding anniversary is coming soon. She shared how she hoped they could go to a nice dinner and spend time together but the way he was treating her wasn’t very reassuring.

As she was speaking, I thought about how we sometimes treat God and wondered how it makes Him feel.

God is constantly showing us His love. He pursues us, provides for us, waits patiently for us to turn to Him, is merciful and gracious toward us, never leaves us or forsakes us, never gives up on us.

How do we respond to God’s love? Are we grateful? Do we thank Him? Do we acknowledge Him? Do we talk to Him?

Just as my friend longed for her husband to spend time with her, God longs to spend time with us.

As we jump out of bed with just enough time to get dressed and get to where we need to be or do what we need to do, God is saying, “I would really love to spend time with you. I have so much I want to share with you. I’d love for you to get to know Me better.”

In the middle of our day, as we take a little break for lunch or a nap, God is saying, “I would love to have your attention for just a few minutes before you get busy again. Maybe we could go for a walk. Or maybe we could just sit here and talk a minute.”

At the end of our day, while we are winding down sitting in front of a television, computer, or book, God is saying, “We still have time to visit before you go to sleep. I’d love to hear about your day, your hopes and dreams, your hurts.”

We are made in the image of God. We have emotions and feelings. God has emotions too. I wonder how God feels when we ignore, reject, forget, disrespect, or don’t appreciate Him.

I’m thinking He feels a lot like my friend does when her husband treats her that very same way; sad, unwanted, and heartbroken.

God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son to die as a sacrifice for our sins. Why? Because sin separates us from Him; a holy God. If we are separated from God He can’t be in a relationship with us.

When two people are in a relationship they spend time getting to know one another, talk to each other, appreciate one another in word and deed, and respect one another and what each one brings to the relationship.

People in relationship value one another, do things to show their love for one another, acknowledge one another, and honor each other above themselves.

There is a lot that goes into building a strong and lasting relationship. It doesn’t just happen overnight and it takes work but the results are so rewarding.

Salvation doesn’t take any work on our part. Jesus did all the work on the cross. But cultivating a relationship with the Lord takes time and effort.

What are the results of a vibrant relationship with God? Knowing we are loved unconditionally, perfectly, and completely, joy, peace, power, purpose, trust, affirmation, guidance, comfort, assurance, wisdom, understanding. The list goes on and on.

Choosing to not spend time with God doesn’t just hurt God, it hurts us as well.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

I don’t know about you but I’m thinking that getting up a little earlier in the mornings and turning off the television or computer to spend time with our loving generous heavenly Father would totally be worth it.

Let’s make more of an effort to show the Lord how much He means to us and how much we appreciate all He has done for us and is doing for us by taking time out of our busy day to acknowledge Him and thank Him.

Let’s talk to God and listen as He speaks to us through His word and His Holy Spirit. Let’s take advantage of all the benefits of the cross by cultivating the relationship God gave everything to have with us.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

The Sun is Always Shining

Recently in southern Louisiana, we’ve had a lot of cloudy days. On those gloomy days, I’m encouraged by reminding myself that no matter how things appear, the sun is still shining.

Think about it. The sun is always shining. Even when we can’t see it, it’s shining. Even when we can’t feel it, it’s warm somewhere. The sun is always working. It never takes a day off.

The clouds may hide the sun or, depending on where we are in the cycle of rotation around the sun, we may not feel its warmth as much, but it’s always there. That is so encouraging to me.

Just as the sun is always present and working, holding the solar systems together; providing life-giving light, heat, and energy [nationalgeographic.com], so is our heavenly Father.

Sometimes it may seem as though God is nowhere to be found because we can’t see Him working or feel His presence. The clouds of gloomy situations may be blocking our view of Him. But we can be assured that He is there and He is working. He is always working.

John 5:17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”

When I can’t see the sun, I know it’s there because I have faith that it’s there. I’ve seen it before and I’ve felt it’s warmth on my skin. I’ve studied and read about all the amazing things the sun does. I’ve seen the results of the sun when looking at a beautiful flower, a tall tree, or my reddened skin.

Likewise, when I can’t see God working in my present situation or feel His presence, I have faith that He is with me and working things out for my good and for His glory.

Why do I have faith? Because I’ve experienced Him working in my life and circumstances. I read and study His word. I see throughout His word that what He said He would do He has done and what He said would happen has happened.

I’ve seen the results of God working and felt His presence in my own life when I was healed or my prayers were answered. When my children were born. When He provided for me and my family.

I’ve seen God working in the life of a family member, setting them free from addiction and a life of crime. He’s changed my own heart, mind, and attitudes.

I see God working when He takes my brokenness and uses it to encourage and help others that are also broken. I felt Him working when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and should have been afraid, sad, and angry but instead I was joyful, hopeful, and at peace.

No one can tell me that God is not with me and working in my situations. His word says He’s working, I’ve experienced Him working, and felt Him working. I’m convinced! I believe!

God works in ways we don’t understand. We don’t always immediately see what He’s up to but when we finally do it’s always amazing.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”

What cloudy situation is blocking your view of God today? The loss of a job, loss of a loved one, poor health, loneliness, financial needs?

Just as the sun is always shining and doing its job, God is always working no matter what we see or how we feel. We only need to see Him with our eyes of faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Our faith in God grows as we get to know Him. We get to know God by reading and studying His word, spending time with Him in prayer, and worshiping and praising Him. It’s like any relationship, the better we get to know a person, the more we trust them and believe them.

Let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes of faith today. Let’s ask Him to show us who He is,  what He’s done in His word, and remind us of all He’s done in our own lives.

Let’s get to know God so we can trust Him. Let’s choose to believe He is always working for our good and His glory no matter what we see or feel.

Just as the sun is always shining, God is always working.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.