Category Archives: Jesus Christ

Receive the Gift of God’s Joy

God is our source of JOY

Not feeling joyful this season? I know Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone. It was not joyous for me the year I lay in a hospital bed alone and sorrowful. Myjoy-1823939_640-1 body was encased in plaster and my leg in traction.

There was the year my father died on December 23 and our family spent Christmas Day in the car driving to New Jersey for his funeral. Years later my sister-in-law would lose her fight with cancer on this very day.

One Christmas Eve as our family was preparing for our celebration; my mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital only never to return home.

The sting of their absence over the years affected our Christmas seasons. We no longer participated in some of our Christmas traditions. Each season we remembered our loss.

And then joy entered our hearts again. Our grandson was born on December 23 and recovery came.

JOY is strength

Joy is not just the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God. There is joy in the season and the celebration, not because of our circumstances, but because Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Jesus came so we could find God’s joy in all things.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.          (Nehemiah 8:10b)

angel-564351_640If you find yourself struggling with sadness, anxiety, or loneliness at this time of year, Romans 15:13 is my prayer for you.

 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

May you keep the hope of God’s joy in your heart all year long.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Maureen

Pray EasyThank you, Lord, for your hope that brings joy and peace to our hearts 

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Receive the Gift of No Condemnation

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Here we are in the season of gift giving. The excitement of Christmas and Hanukkah surround us. Are you excited about the perfect gift you found for a special someone? In your mind, you are rehearsing the joyful surprise of the blessing to come as you hand them their gift.

Jesus gave many gifts to those he called His sons and daughters. Among His many blessings, He is reaching out to you to receive His gift of No Condemnation.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

In chapter 8 of the gospel of John, Jesus teaches about overcoming condemnation from others.

The scribes and Pharisees attempted to discredit and challenge Jesus by bringing a woman charged with adultery before Him. Adultery was punishable by stoning under the law of Moses. Jesus responded to those who judged her, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Those who heard it, being convicted by their sins, dropped their stones and walked away.

When Jesus found himself alone with the woman, he said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

The power to live a lifestyle free from sin comes from accepting the wonderous gift of Jesus taking on the condemnation for our sins. Now that is the freedom to walk in peace, joy, and faith, and to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us!

And if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed! John 8:36

Pray EasyThank you, Lord, for the abundant gifts you give to your children.

Join the conversation – If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe and recommend my site to other broken people! I appreciate your comments – Have you suffered condemnation by others?

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

Once You Choose Hope Anything is Possible

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Looking at the statistics above, it seems likely that we all know someone (if not yourself) that has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Myself, I can testify to the difficult year I fought breast cancer. The endless tests, surgeries, and depleted energy were all a part of my journey of restoration. Today I can declare I am a survivor!

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Here are some attributes that you will want to hold close to your heart while you are going through your healing.

Love – Choose love over fear.  Love never fails. 1 John 4:16; We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Faith – Let your faith be bigger than your circumstances. Have faith in the goodness of God to provide hope for the future. Hebrews 12:2; Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Strength – While you are healing from the physical scars or the emotional scars that breast cancer brings, meditate on His promises. He is faithful. Isaiah 40:29;  “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength”

Hope – Hope looks forward. You will be able to break free from any fear and despair and receive healing and restoration. Psalm 39:7; “But now Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

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Hold On Pain Ends – Whatever you are struggling with today, I encourage you to open your heart to the one who is our hope. The Lord is with you  –  be dependent on Him today. Rest in Him and His promise of eternal life. Nothing can separate you from His love for you. Once You Choose Hope Anything is Possible!

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Cultivate Compassion – God has great compassion towards you. Now put your compassion into action. There are many practical ways to help a woman that is suffering. You can lighten her load by preparing a meal, helping with the kids, running errands, and completing household chores. Your encouraging words and prayers will bring hope to the hurting.

Pray-ButtonThank you, Lord, for your love and compassion towards me. Show me those who need my help and compassion.

Join the conversation – If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe and recommend my site to other broken people! I appreciate your comments – Which moments are you most appreciative of for the help you received?

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

 

 

 

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

time-heals-all-wounds-1087107_640Time is a great healer…so we are told. If we experience a broken heart, let more time pass by and the pain will begin to subside…so we are told. Passing time can bury our hurt, our emotional pain can soften and the effects of physical pain can begin to dissipate over time. It is what we do during the timeframe that affects the quality of our lives.

Time alone can not simply heal anything. The following quote by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy makes a lot of sense to me:

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

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If all we needed is more time to be healed, we probably would suffer from hope deferred and a heart that becomes sick. (Proverbs 13:12)

But there is hope because Jesus is the great healer. He may ask you to participate in your healing. Do you need to forgive someone? He may require further understanding of a situation where your heart was wounded. Whatever He is calling you to do, spend prayerful time in His healing presence. I’ve discovered the best way to heal a broken heart is to give God all the pieces.

Stand on these healing promises from the Lord:

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He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. Ps 147:3

 

 

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“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Ps 39:7

 

Pray-ButtonThank you, Lord, for being such a complete healer. If we suffer from physical infirmities, you will give sufficient grace to the weak.

Join the conversation – If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe and recommend my site to other broken people! I appreciate your comments – What are your thoughts about “Time Healing All Wounds?”

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

 

Keep Your Focus on Jesus

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that wfocus2as set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 12:2-3 NJKV)

God does not want us just to glance at Him; He wants us to focus on Him. If we focus on Jesus and not the chaos in our world, we can choose to believe that the things that shape our world, do not have to shape our lives. What shapes our lives is knowing that God is alive  and working in our hearts as we focus our eyes on Him. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

When we face trials and tribulations, we can feel weighed down in our struggles. But remember that Jesus suffered all the way to the cross so we may have salvation from our sins. What are our trials compared to the agonies He suffered?

It is essential that as believers in Jesus we do not yield to distractions. Sure, every day the news is filled with disturbing images of killings and devastation. He will supply all our needs, bear our sorrows, and give comfort for our burdens. We can trust Him for protection and defense.

Are we willing to lay aside fears, worries or anything that seeks to drain us of our hope in Christ? Focus on Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith. His faith working in us will strengthen us until we see Him face to face in Heaven.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NJKV)  focus

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Thank you, Lord, that nothing can separate us from your love. We can depend on your faithfulness, your promises, and your righteousness. We are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

Join the conversation – If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe and recommend my site to other broken people! I appreciate your comments – What are the things that distract you from focusing on Jesus? 

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

 

Keep in Step With the Savior

followJesusThe Lord’s love for you is so abundant. He has prepared a way for you; now follow Him along the path that Jesus has walked before you. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25) 

The fruit of the Spirit consists of nine visible attributes of the Christian life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) In your own strength, you cannot produce the fruit that comes from God. You first, must totally surrender your life to Jesus Christ.

If you have not begun your life in the Spirit, you can begin today. Follow Jesus, glorify the Lord and start to display God’s fruit. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John: 15:5)

So many people today call themselves Christians. How do you discern the truth of their actions? The Lord has given His guidance in (Matthew 7:16) You will know them by their fruits. 

fruitYou can evaluate the fruits of the Spirit in your life with this diagnostic checklist:

Love – Do you do for others as Christ has done for you OR do you give to receive something in return?

Joy – Do you experience joy on a regular basis OR does your joy depend on your circumstances?

Peace– Do you feel frazzled by turmoil in your life OR do you experience “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Patience – Do you easily get irritated when things don’t go your way OR do you keep a godly perspective during trials?

Kindness – Do you serve others with kindness OR are you more focused on your own needs rather than letting the goodness of God overflow to others?

Goodness – Does your heart conceal dishonestly  OR  Does your heart reflect the character of God?

Faithfulness – Do you have areas of hypocrisy and indifference toward others in your life OR is your life characterized by faith in Christ and faithfulness to those around you?

Gentleness – Do you come across to others as brash and headstrong OR do you allow the grace of God to flow through you to others?

Self-Control – Do fleshly desires control your life OR do you allow the Spirit to direct you to the things that please God and serve others?

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God promises that if you will turn away from your own desires, He will empower you through His Spirit to live the abundant life He has created for you.

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Thank you, Lord for the path you have prepared for me. Help me to keep in step with you and give evidence of the fruits of the Spirit within me.

Join the conversation – If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe and recommend this site to other broken people. I appreciate your comments.  Are there areas in your life where you struggle to follow Jesus?

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

 

 

 

 

 

The Keys to Forgiving Yourself

Are you still carrying the burden of shame, guilt, and condemnation from your past? In your mind are you replaying the foolishness of your prior decisions?       If this is you, then it is afd3e179afa73a6b279129f4fe046f4ftime to surrender and move towards forgiveness.

If you don’t learn how to forget former sins, you will always live in the past. Bitterness and guilt will continue to grow within you.

When you look in the mirror, do you love and accept the person that Christ made you to be, or do you see a broken person in need of forgiveness?

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

If you have repented of your sins, then you are forgiven. Take a minute and let that sink in. Realize the power of the work of the cross and the shed blood of Jesus. Your debt has been paid. God is able to forgive you, even when you can’t forgive yourself.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.                         2 Corinthians 5:17

Don’t associate your failures with the new creation you have become. Your past does not define you, but it contributes to who you are today. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. Realize you did the best you could at the time considering the circumstances.

God knows your name, and He calls you His own. Here are just a few of the names He has given you:

  • Chosen (Colossians 3:12) cdf08e10c8ec744a88a0eb9d508d5436
  • Child (1 John 3:1)
  • Beloved (Deuteronomy 33:12)
  • Holy & Blameless          (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Friend ( John 15:15)
  • Daughter (2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • Heir (Romans 8:17)
  • Blessed (Psalm 65:4)
  • Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
  • Treasured Possession   (Deuteronomy 7:6)

Give yourself grace and move towards loving yourself. Begin to see how your Lord and Savior sees you!
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Thank you, Lord, for your precious shed blood that has paid for my sins. I am so grateful for your forgiveness and love towards me.

 

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I appreciate your comments – Have you noticed how you can hold onto past mistakes and regrets long after they occurred? Can you let your past make you better – not bitter? The Lord is willing to guide and direct you to embracing the new creation you have become!

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Love and Blessings,

Maureen

 

Are You Willing to Give the Lord the Key to Your Heart?

key to my heartHave you spent too much time in the valleys of life? Wouldn’t you like to walk in the freedom of Christ? Jesus’ shed blood on the cross paid the price to set us free.

Scripture tells us in Psalm 44:21b, For He knows the secrets of the heart.” God wants you to surrender control of your heart. I know this to be true because Jesus waited patiently for me, drawing me close to Him, at times lovingly chastising me along the path to discovering true freedom.

There was a time my heart had become hardened from pain and brokenness. My heart was locked inside walls of sorrow. I kept it protected from future pain, and I vowed never to let anyone or anything hurt me again. But, the Lord required me to hand over the key to my heart. He wanted access to all the locked doors.

Healing is a process. At times, I felt shackled to the weight of my sin. Guilt, shame and condemnation separated me from God’s healing. A hardened heart cannot yield to God’s plan of redemption. Jeremiah 29:11 states, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Your hope is secure in the Lord’s hands.

God knows the secrets of the heart Slowly, God’s light came into the wounded places bringing with it hope and healing. At times the healing was painful, but I was never alone. Jesus was with me and bringing me out of captivity one step at a time.

Firsthand, I experienced the Lord’s steadfast love and His compassionate heart. He healed my broken heart, one shattered piece at a time. All that was required of me was to trust Him with the key to my heart.

Pray-ButtonThank you Lord for your compassionate heart to bring healing and freedom into my life.

Has your heart become hardened as a result of life’s trials? What areas do you need to surrender to the Lord?

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

 

A Sheep’s Reflection

I love this picture. Take a minute and study it with me; what do you see?

sheep reflection

Serenity, calmness, peace, and contentment all come to my mind. The Great Shepherd is calling us to rest beside the still waters.

While the Shepherd has much to do as He leads and chooses the path for the sheep to follow; the sheep have only to trust and follow the path He has chosen. He goes before them. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

The Shepherd will always lead His sheep into green pastures and beside the still waters. However, we know the path to the pasture in not always smooth or easy. Yet, we can rejoice knowing we have a Shepherd, and in spite of our sorrows and cares in this world, the Lord’s sheep are well supplied!  Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd

When you study your own reflection, what do you see?  You can choose to see your own shortcomings or you can choose to see the truth of God’s Word.

Do you feel insecure…You are secure “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, Who shelters him all the day long.           (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Do you feel discouraged… Encourage your heart Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Do you feel lonely…You have a friend in Jesus I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)

Do you feel brokenhearted…You are whole “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Pray-ButtonThank you Lord for completely accepting me. I am never alone – I am hidden under the shadow of your wings and I am the apple of your eye. Psalm 17:8

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen

 

Out of Brokenness and Into Wholeness

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Brokenness is a reality for all of us. It is natural for us to resist the heartbreak of grief, disappointment, and pain. Even so…the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains – there is hope and healing in yielding a broken, contrite heart to be molded by the hand of God. Your part is to give God all the pieces and to trust Him with His plan and purpose for your life. God’s part is to bring restoration. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

I was a young teenager when my parents divorced. My mother left us in search of a better life. Consequently, my father had the task of caring for three children. Physically he was there, but he was absent in heart. Being the oldest child, a lot of household responsibilities were forced upon me.

I carried an overwhelming loneliness and emptiness in my heart. I sought escape from the pain and rejection by numbing myself with drugs.

In my quest to seek and find love and acceptance, I met Viggo, a member of an outlaw motorcycle club. The gang offered me a promise of excitement, drugs and a sense of belonging. I embraced the camaraderie of many new brothers and sisters, and I became Viggo’s property.

I carried an illusion of freedom within this new family. It wasn’t until I witnessed many injustices against others, that I realized I was slipping into a dark world without hope. I had no idea how I would escape the control the gang imposed on my life.

One evening, we quickly and discreetly fled from NYC authorities. With each passing mile, we were closer to entering a volatile gang war in Texas. Six nights later I would become a victim in their war.

In the early morning hours, several members of a rival gang stood outside the house where we were staying and opened fire. I was standing in the doorway facing the front windows when the shooting started.

Silhouetted by the light, they took aim at me and when the first shots rang out, I was hit immediately in my left arm. Fortunately, while I reached for the light switch, my arm crossed over my heart and became a protective shield. The bullet’s impact had thrown me, and before I hit the floor, another bullet lodged in my right thigh.

Hours later, I awoke in the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital. My right leg hung elevated in traction; my left arm was covered in a plaster cast. I was sure God was punishing me. As I lay motionless and silent, it occurred to me that all my searching for love and acceptance had brought me to this place. There was no escape from the pain and suffering or the uncertainty of the future.

For the next six months, I was completely bedridden. In another attempt to fuse my shattered bones, my doctor wrapped me in a body cast of plaster from my chest down to my ankle. It proved to be a futile attempt. Eventually, a surgeon fused the bones in my leg together using a bone fragment from my hip. As a result, my leg is permanently two inches shorter.

Determined to start a new life, I severed all ties with the gang. I was transported back to NJ and started a year of intensive rehabilitation therapy. Today, I have a limited range of motion in my arm and leg. Gradually, I learned to live with my disabilities. In fact, my doctors declared me a miracle!

When a friend invited me to attend a baptismal service at her church, I agreed to go because of the transformation I saw in her. Listening to the testimonies of others, the good news of the gospel filled my heart with hope. That night I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

In time, the Lord healed the bitterness and anger I held in my heart. Sin had its consequences, but His love has transformed my life. The Lord blessed me with a Godly husband and two precious daughters. I am rejoicing in His provision as He prepares the path before me.

*This post was first published as a guest post on Aug 11, 2015                Testimony Tuesday – hollybarrett.org

Pray-ButtonThank you Lord for the salvation you have provided for us. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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Love and Blessings,
Maureen