Archives For Devotionals

A daily Bible study for ladies called Chocolate & God.

Matthew 23: 25-26
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”

Jesus was talking to the Scribes and Pharisees because He was disgusted with the fact that they were so busy trying to look and act spiritual that they were missing out on the most important things. Your walk with God is not a “fake it til you make it” situation. When your walk with God is right and your heart is right with Him then it will shine through.

No one likes to be around someone who is fake! I would almost rather be around someone I knew may not really care for me or agree with me than to be around someone who pretends they do. May sound silly at first, but think about it, wouldn’t you rather know where you stand? 1 Samuel 16:7, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God doesn’t want you to be fake, He wants your whole heart. If we will just clean the inside, the outside will reveal it.

Mark 7:20-22, And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” This is what Jesus was telling the Scribes and Pharisees in the verses above in Matthew; it is what is in your heart that makes the difference.

Ladies, we are bombarded today with everything we can think of to try to make us more beautiful and the pressure to be beautiful is as strong as it was back in the day of Esther. I am glad we have the things we do to help us in feeling more beautiful, but we must not neglect the inside. We must first take a look at what is going on in our hearts. True beauty comes from within and all of “the fixins” for the outside won’t matter if we are ugly on the inside! Let us all take the challenge today to ask God to show us what needs to be cleaned out of our lives so we can be more like Him. Let’s continue to push to know Him more and to be more like Him! Every single one of us has the opportunity to be beautiful from the inside out and it doesn’t cost a penny~ let’s get started being the best we can be for Him!

Quote:
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Could you use a little extra peace and encouragement today? If you notice here it doesn’t say that there won’t be struggles, it says you will have peace and not stumble if you love God’s Word and you are following Him. You can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you are in the will of God Satan will do all he can to discourage you and try to get you to stumble by taking your focus off God. This is when he often likes to use other people to drag you down and make you somehow feel inferior. Remember as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” You have a choice to allow others words to eat at you or to rise above.

I can only imagine, because we are not told specifically what Mary, Jesus Mom went through. She was pregnant when Joseph took her as his wife; I am sure there were some who figured she was quite blessed to conceive so quickly and I am certain there were others who took the time to count down the days; ‘hmmmmmm, let’s see here, Joseph took her as his wife on this day and she had the baby when? Oh, bless her heart she either had that baby early or well ………. she is just a wicked girl and Joseph is hiding it’. You can almost hear the conversations that more than likely took place. I would hope that after the conversations Mary had had with the angel and the fact that she knew the truth about herself and who she was in God’s eyes, that she never allowed those hateful things drag her down. There are so many times in life when you may be misunderstood and others are hateful, trying to tear you down or make you feel somehow inferior. Sometimes I don’t think they even always have to try to make you feel that way, it could just be their behaviors get the ball rolling and then Satan jumps on to give you doubts about who you are or your worth. Don’t accept it! Do not allow what someone else has to say define who you are in your mind. Hold on to the truth of all that you know you are in Christ!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 When thoughts of being inferior or worthless or maybe thoughts that make you question your call start sneaking into your mind ~ stop them! Don’t even give them the chance to take root! Dwell on the things listed above! Ask God for the strength to hold on to the truth! Whatever is going on around you is not worth losing your peace, it is not worth stumbling over! Someone may say or do hurtful things but don’t take it personal, let it roll off. Trust me, I know that is very difficult to do, but the end result is much better than allowing yourself to be offended. When we get offended, we not only give Satan a foothold, we are dwelling on our hurts which then turns into frustration and anger and we soon find our focus is way far away from where it should be! Focus on God and the good things He has called us to focus on. Don’t allow what anyone says or does determine your attitude about you and all God has for you! You can choose your thoughts, your attitudes and you can choose to not allow anyone to make you feel like less than God has told you, you are!

There’s nothing that anyone else has to say that is worth sacrificing God’s peace for! Hold your head high, give your hurts to Him and walk in the confidence of who He has created you to be!

Quote:
“A person is not defeated by their opponents but by themselves.” Jan Christiaan Smuts

Psalm 63:1
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

When you don’t know where to turn or what to do any more, or when you just feel as though you can’t possibly make it through another day, pour your heart out to God and seek Him with all you have inside! I have had times where it just felt as though I had nothing left in me, I had nothing to give, I couldn’t even think straight and that is when we need to realize that in those moments our everything will be found in Him!

God has your answers! He has the answers to guide you in your next step. He has the answers to heal your broken heart. He has the answers to fix those broken relationships. He has the answers to your messed up finances. He has the answers for those wayward children. Whatever it is …… He is and has all of the answers!

The best advice I can give today if you are struggling is to totally lean on Him. Allow Him to guide you and remove your hurt and fears. Allow Him to be to you like water in the desert. Allow Him to be what fills all of those empty places in your life! Earnestly seek Him, take some time to block out the noise of life for even just 20 minutes today and pour your heart out and allow Him to fill you with Himself.

When life gets cloudy and it is just too difficult to find your way, look for Him, He is always there ready to take your hand and lead you through. The worst thing you can do is look for your answers somewhere or in someone else.

God loves you so much and He wants more than anything to be able to guide you. He wants His best for you and He created you for great things so don’t give up, hold on and trust Him to bring you through! Seek Him, spend time in His word, listen to some great praise music, turn that depressing stuff off for a while, save it for a better day and find some uplifting music to get you back on track. God knows your heart and He knows all that He created you for, He knows you better than you know yourself and He knows what is coming down the road, so where better to find your answers than in Him? The best is yet to come if you will just follow Him today!

Quote:
“Life begins when you do.” Hugh Downs

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

It is what is in your heart that matters!

Don’t allow all that is going on around you to rob you of your peace. If you have the peace of God ruling in your heart then you will be able to face all that is brought your way. Satan loves turmoil, and he loves to cause unrest but you don’t have to allow Him to have that victory over you.

As it says in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” So, just as those wicked things come out of your heart, so does peace, love and mercy. Our mouths reveal what is in our heart so it is our heart we need to work on when there is a problem spiritually in our lives. As we draw close to God all of these other things come together. If you want peace, you don’t need to have it all around you, you need to have it in your heart. There will never be some heavenly bliss and peace here on earth so your peace must come from within.

How can you find the peace in your heart that Paul is talking about in this verse? It takes spending time in God’s Word and allowing all that He has to say fill your heart and mind. Whatever you are filling your mind with is what will consume your heart. God wants to consume your thoughts and when He does He will fill your heart with truth, honor, excellence and things worthy of praise and it will cover all of those evil thoughts of slander, anger, murder, sexual immorality, obsessions and addictions. Victory is yours but you also need to make the effort to consume yourself with God and the things of God in order to find it!

Search your heart today. Is there peace there in your heart and godly thoughts consuming your mind or is there more turmoil than good going on in there? You do have a choice you know, you don’t have to live consumed with fear, anger, obsessions and addictions but you must make the efforts necessary to have the victory you desire. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Quote:
“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” James Allen

James 1:19-20
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

With the stress that we all live under on a daily basis these days, there seems to be an overabundance of raging anger. We have road rage, we have women killing their children because of silly typical inconveniences, we have people rioting in the streets and the list could go on forever. Anger that is allowed to just rule your body and life is a serious problem.

One of the biggest causes of struggles in relationships is that the desire to be heard is by far out weighing the desire to listen. There’s no quality in conversation when two people are just concerned about being heard vs wanting to get to the root of the problem by listening. Half the time anger stems from just not fully understanding each other and that is impossible if you aren’t listening! Listening can be very difficult if you feel you have been wronged but if the two of you can get in agreement to give each other a chance to communicate without interrupting (that can be the toughest thing) then you know you will also have the opportunity to speak. If you have a problem with interrupting it may be helpful to write down notes as you go so you can defend what you need to defend or just say what you need to say, but let each other speak. It may take both of you taking a break before trying to talk until you can calm down.

Wrath here speaks of more than just getting angry. Wrath is a strong fierce anger or deeply resentful indignation. This is out of control anger. We all get angry at times but we are called to have godly self control. Galatians 5:22-24, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” When we are out of control in our anger as it says in the verse in James, it “does not produce the righteousness of God.” Usually where there is deep seated anger there is hurt or unforgiveness lurking deep down inside and it needs to be faced and dealt with in order to be free.

We are called to be different than the rest of the world, we are called to be like Him! Jesus will give you all you need to follow Him and to grow to be more like Him. Ask Him today to help you to be more quick to listen than to speak in all of your relationships and allow Him to give you the self control you need. He loves you, He cares about what you are facing and He will carry you through! The best is yet to come!

Quotes:
“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it?” Marcus Aurelius
and
“A sense of humor snuffs out our sparks of friction before they get to our fuel tank.” Fred Smith
and
“It’s in the struggle itself that you define yourself.” Pat Buchanan