A weekly blog, by author Leslie K. Howard, filled with spiritual, uplifting thoughts to help you get through your week

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

It’s Cutting Time Pt. 1

Pruning 1There have sure been a lot of babies born lately.  It’s that time of year you know.  Spring is just around the corner and there is new birth everywhere.  Keep your eyes open for baby birds, squirrels, zoo animals, trees, plants and flowers.  What about us?  After a harsh winter, are we experiencing new birth or are we hanging on to some dead wood that needs to be pruned?

Scripture tells us “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…”  Those words are spoken by Jesus himself ~John 15:1-2.  Notice in the pruning process; both branches that Do and Don Not bear fruit are cut.   A gardener knows if she wants a full fruitful crop then the pruning process must take place.  Now the novice gardener will only cut away the dead leaves and branches, but the skilled gardener knows some good leaves must be cut as well and she knows exactly where to cut.

The Father is the Master Gardner, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.  If we are to continue to grow on the vine, some of our leaves and plants must be cut.  There is simply no way around it.  Now no one said this will be easy or painless but if we want healthy spiritual lives then we must submit and not complain during this season.

Pray this with me:

Heavenly Gardener, I know you are making a better me so I will reflect you.  I must admit this cutting is painful; there are honestly some things I can’t let go.  I feel helpless and weakened by them but I can’t bear to part with them.  I’m powerless and I need you to do it for me.  It is for my own good and my growth.  So I freely submit myself to you Father. Cut away the dead, leaves that are bearing no fruit.  Even take away those that appear to be good but aren’t good for me.  Feed me the life cleansing water of the Holy Spirit so I will stay on the vine and produce good fruit.  In Jesus Name Amen!

Be on the lookout for pt. 2.

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“Bow Down”? Only To One!

Bow DownWhen, in our struggle for equal rights with men, did women get to the point that we begin to behave like men?  In the way we live, love and how we treat each other as fellow women.  It saddens me to hear music lyrics that degrade women; and how easily this generation of young women accepts it.  Especially in Hip -Hop culture.

Because in music and in videos, women are objectified and exemplified as pole dancers, strippers, prostitutes and gold-diggers, we have a generation of women who aspire to be just that.  It’s terrible to hear and see degrading words and images produced by men, but when  they come from a woman’s mouth, it enrages me.

This brings me to Beyonce’s latest song. There is a big hoopla going on this morning.  Talk shows, the news, moms and little girls are all talking about the lyrics from a not yet released song. In the song she calls women B**_ches and tells them to “Bow down” to her.   Now I don’t know exactly what’s going on in her personal life and we don’t know if this was a track was leaked by someone.  Perhaps it was something she used to vent out some frustration and it was never meant for the public to hear   After all, artist sometimes write things out of hurt or anger, others  may paint and some sing songs and we never see or hear about it. I don’t know the reasons; all I know is it’s out there for the whole world to hear and I am offended, and ashamed of her.

In all of the fervor over this thing, I don’t want you to miss the spiritual lessons here.  Satan seeks to Distort and Divide.

Beyonce’ is an immensely talented young woman who sings like no one else, and commands the stage with vocals and her energetic dancing (another discussion for another day).  God gives gifts to everyone. Some people, like Beyonce’ gifts are seen from an early age while others discover them when they are older.  But know this,”… every good and perfect gift comes from God” (James 1:17).  Satan will whisper in our ears saying, “I can give you the fast track to success if you just do it my way.”  He will then distort those gifts and we sell out for money prestige and fame and emptiness.  So we have a choice to make. Choose either to use our gifts to bring God glory and thus reaping life long, eternal blessings or we can choose Satan’s way which  pays quickly,  but stings forever. By glorifying ourselves we fall right into Satan’s trap which was  exactly what he wanted Jesus to do.  “Bow Down to Me.”  He couldn’t get Jesus to do it but he sure is working overtime on us.    I don’t know about you but I bow down to no one but my God.  Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He is the only one who deserves all the Honor, all the Glory and all the Praise!

Statements like this cause division among women.  Back biting and cat fighting is what women are supposed known for.  Having a superior “ Diva” attitude of ”I’m higher than you are and you’d better bow down to me”  is a sure ticket to having the legs cut out from under you, and mighty is the fall. Ladies we need to build Godly relationships with our sisters.  Don’t we know we need each other?  We ought to strengthen and encourage one another.  The word says “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11.   Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love.   Ephesians 4:29  “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

This is why God has called me to host Sister Circle Girlfriend Getaway Weekends to encourage women in their walk with Jesus.  This year our theme is Women Are Stronger Together Than We Are Apart.”  We are talking friendship and unity here and I hope you’ll join me and my girlfriends May 17-19 in Atlanta Georgia. Follow the link and register and let’s show the whole world what real Godly, Woman Power is all about.

Listen to my sermons and devotions visit my site http://www.lesliehowardministries.com

Purchase my books Sisters With SASS and  my new 40 day devotional,                      Love Letters from God Psalm 23 form Amazon.com. Click picture to purchase

Love Letters Cover

A Right Time God

A Time 2Yesterday’s sermon was titled “When God Is Silent.” The minister said a lot of things but one in particular came shining through: “God will never leave you nor forsake you. Even when He’s silent He’s right there with you. He’s working behind the scenes preparing so you can receive what He has for you.”

This got me thinking, God like any loving parent is NOT going to give us everything we ask for. He knows we can’t handle everything so He gives us what’s best for us. Now like a wise parent there are somethings He says yes to while there are others He says no. And then there is the wait….. You see He’s saying yes but not now. You can’t handle it now. Although you want it now because you live in a Right Now society; now is not the time. I’ve always intended to give you a red Mustang. Red is a nice color for you and I know you’ll be a responsible driver. But not at age 12. I waited for your 30th birthday. You had matured and was ready. You see it is during the wait that character is built.

Not only so, but we  also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. ~ Romans 5:3-6

So through the years of 12 and 29 God might be silent (on this issue), but at the right time He speaks loud and clear. We have got to be patient with God and wait on Him. Know this even if He says “No” on this side of glory, the “Yes” on the other side of glory far outweighs and physical thing we can ever have in this world.

God Is Faithful

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” ~Hebrews 10:23.  No matter what, God promises to be faithful to us.  We go through everyday life and people promise to do this or that for us, but they fail.  Perhaps he promised at the altar to love, honor, be faithful, and cherish you til death do us part; and now you are divorced because he’d been out creeping?

Or you have a friend with the ability to hire you but gave the position to someone else. Heart breaking I know.   Yes man (humans) constantly make promises but break them, but scripture tell us the contrary about our God: ” God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Num 23:19.

Oh yes we can depend on God, the Rock of our salvation, to be true, honest and faithful toHis word.  What about you?  Do you trust Him  or are you leaning on your own understanding?   Is your hope truly in Jesus or is your faith wavering?  The word clearly tells us that we will have tests, trials, temptations but Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.  Do you believe Him?  Do you believe that even though it looks bleak right now that His promise to be faithful and never leave you is true?  Or have you lost the hope which you confessed when you first believed? Listen God will give you a real love relationship that will make that other one a far and distant memory. That position you’ve been praying for, He will deliver it to you and it will be ten times better than the one you think you lost because it was God and not man who delivered it to you.  For He prepared it especially for you with Your Name on it!  Can I get an Amen here?

Your job in all of this is to have Faith and Trust in God.  Scripture says it best:  ” Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” Ps 37:4  Hoekstra  Commentary says “We can cling tightly to the promises of God. We can confidently hope in God fulfilling His promises to us. We do not need to waver in doubt, because God is reliable. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. “

Kindness

All this week in Sister Circle Prayer Network during devotion we have been examining The Fruit of  The Spirit.  Today our focus is on kindness. Kindness is one of the fruits that we all like to receive but may not necessarily want to reproduce. Why? Because it takes a little bit of work. Kindness takes effort and let’s face it, we are just too busy to take out time to smile at someone, or leave a posted note on their desk that says “You did a good job.” How about sending a card just to say “I’m thinking about you today.” What about the widow next door? How about sharing a cup of tea or taking her grocery shopping? You have to go anyway. But no. We’re just too busy for all that. Hmmm… I wonder. I wonder, what if The Word said, “I’m Just Too Busy”?

If anybody had the right to say I’m too busy it would have been Him. But the Word became flesh and dwelled among human kind. He healed, fed, and forgave sins. Gave vision, stopped blood, and resurrected the dead all because he was moved by compassion which caused Him to do great acts of kindness. And let’s not forget the greatest act; He died on that cross so we can have everlasting life! So do we have an excuse??? Sisters let’s pray to be moved by the Spirit to see the needs of others. Let’s be spurred by compassion to show kindness to those in need.

Sister Circle Prayer Network gathers daily at 6:30 am  eastern, for morning prayer and devotion.  If you’d like to join look us up on Facebook groups or email me your name along with the state (or country) you live in and I’ll send you a call in number with a personal pin.

The Throne Room Is Open

How do you see God?  Do you see Him as some far away god so busy with world events that he has no time for your ity- bity problems?  Is He really a cold and distant deity intrested only in passing judgement on humans? Or is He an all knowing compassionate God who loves and cares for you His greatest creation?

Paul tells us in Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”    Jesus can identify with your needs whether they are, health related, food, employment, comfort because of loss of a loved one, marriage issues, family, loneliness. Whatever it is  Jesus  understands.   The same issues we have today are the same issues He dealt with when He walked the earth.  Our God is not a cold, distant deity, but one who is so concerned with you that He knows every hair on your head.  Go to Him in prayer today with both humility and boldness. Be confident that God is your great help in time of need. His throne room is open and acessable 24/7. He is right here waiting for you with loving open arms.

Listen to my sermons and devotions visit my site http://www.lesliehowardministries.com

Purchase my books Sisters With SASS and  my new 40 day devotional,                    Love Letters from God Psalm 23 form Amazon.com

Revenge?

Good Morning World!

This is the first posting of Sweet Morning Muse and let me say I never expected it to be on a day like today.  The world’s events can turn on a dime and boy oh boy have they been flipped?!

As usual on a Sunday evening after coming home from church, and after having some dinner hubby and I sat down on the sofa to watch a movie and of course we fell asleep.  I woke up and began flipping channels to find a reporter stating that Usama Bin Laden had been killed by the American troops.   “What?” I exclaimed waking up my husband.  Hearing the news commentator explain what happened and listening to the President’s speech,  I was Filled with awe, national pride and  a sense that something that was wrong was made right. Watching throngs of people in front of the White House and at The World Trade Center chanting “USA” made me want to shout as well.  But when I woke up this morning I began to question myself. “Should I be feeling joyful over someone’s death?” No matter who he was and what he did, a person was dead.  Was I feeling guilt over celebrating?  I began to search my heart and pray.

It was getting close to time for my prayer group to meet and I didn’t want to read the devotion I had planned. It just didn’t seem like what we needed today. I decided to read something more apropos, so I began to search on line .  The ladies and I was blessed by this devotion.

* Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” (NIV)

Revenge belongs to God. The ways of God are sometimes mysterious. When we move away from God then bad things happen. When we move toward God then good things happen. When we take out our lust for vengeance against those who committed wrongs against us we are moving away from God. Yet, we still have responsibilities in this world to protect our family, our state, and our nation. When we act to stop evil, the content of our heart is the deciding factor in whether we are with God or against God. When someone hurts us on purpose and intends to hurt our friends, family, state, or nation, then this person who aims to hurt must be stopped. The ultimate Judge over every human act is God.

For me, this really put everything in perspective.  I hope it does the same for you too.God bless  President Obama and his team. God bless our Navy Seals and all our armed forces. May God continue to heal the hearts of those who lost loved ones on 911.  May God Always Bless America.

Be Blessed, but Be A Blessing To Someone Else.

*Today’s devotion courtesy of Find The Power.com

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