Got Spirit?

July 21, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Holy Spirit, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Jesus came to earth as a babe, lived 33 some years, died on a cross, rose again to be with our Father in heaven.  He didn’t leave us alone.  He left the Holy Spirit to dwell in his people.

With the Holy Spirit in us we can endure the challenges of daily life and be at peace.  With the Holy Spirit we can understand what God’s will is for us.  With the Holy Spirit we can have power and be witnesses of God’s glory.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27.  There are those times we need the Holy Spirit to speak for us, because all we can do is fall on our knees and cry.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23.  Only through the Holy Spirit can we be the godly people created us to be.  We can’t do it on our own, the Holy Spirit is there to guide, teach and direct us in the way we should go.

How often do we listen to the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus and God within us?  How often do we disregard what we hear?  What is the Holy Spirit telling us today, this moment, that we need to heed before it is too late?

The Holy Spirit power – can’t live without Him!

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

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Gotta do it!

July 14, 2018 at 5:51 am | Posted in Forgiveness, Relationships, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“He hurt me bad!  I will NEVER forget or forgive him!”

Rejected, humiliated, lies, abused, deceived, slandered, abandoned, replaced, divorced, cheated and more will happen to us.  If we have breath in our bodies someone is going to hurt us.  It can’t be avoided.  There is nothing we can do to prevent hurt from another from happening.

Our responsibility is how we respond when it happens.  When it happens we must admit the hurt.  God gives us emotions to express our hurt, our anger, disappointment, shock, fear, rage etc. Once that is out, then the process of forgiveness must happen.  Forgiveness is not an option.  Forgiveness is not putting the hurt away in our minds and hoping it will go away.  Putting it away means it will resurface repeatedly years later.  It means when it resurfaces it will feel like going through that situation anew.  It must be dealt with.  The process will not happen overnight.  Forgiveness can not happen alone.  No one can forgive by themselves.  It is too hard to do alone.  Only through God are we able to do the impossible.  To forgive we must WANT to forgive.  We must WANT God to help us to forgive.  Until we WANT to forgive, it will not happen.  Saying we forgive and thinking we want to forgive is not enough.  Deep in our hearts we must be willing to forgive our pain inflicter, no matter how bad they turned our world upside down.

The consequences of unforgiveness is grave.  To forgive so we can be forgiven is not enough. The bible tells us “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37. If we forgive so that we can be forgiven, is that true forgiveness?  True forgiveness results in our remaining forgiven.  When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior our sins were washed away in baptism and he remember them no more. “. . .repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:38. When we choose to not forgive, we take Jesus’ gift and throw it back at him.  “I don’t want your gift. I refuse to forgive; therefore, I don’t want your forgiveness.”  That is what we are really doing not accepting his forgiveness by not forgiving.

Instead we accept our own unforgiveness by not forgiving.  Unforgiveness is obvious – loneliness, physical illnesses, anger, frustration, lack of peace, stress, depression, vengeance, slander, gossip about the wrong doer, negative thinking about them, lack of prayer, not reading our bibles, and a list of other things that we do or torment us.  WE are the ones tormented – not the one who wronged us.  We wallow in our misery and refuse to allow God to pull us out.  We’d rather suffer than be at peace.

It takes work to be unforgiving.  It takes work to forgive.  If we must work, let’s forgive instead and remain forgiven.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-31.

 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:17-21.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

Confidence in Action

July 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Reputation, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:” I John 3:19

How is our hearts set at rest?  How are we at peace with God in our lives in spite of whatever is going on?

“If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God”   I John 3:20-21.

How are we allowing guilt to plague our minds?  God is bigger than whatever we have done.  He is there to forgive and cleanse us of our wretchedness.  But do we continue to hang on to guilt even though Jesus died on the cross for us?  How are we allowing unconfessed sin to keep us down instead of allowing God to lift us up?  How confident are we before God?

and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.”  I John 3:22.

What benefits have we asked for and received because of our obedience to his commands and please him?  What benefits have others received because of our obedience?  Anything we do, say or don’t do or say affects others positively or negatively.

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”  I John 3: 23.

How are we loving others as he commanded us to?  If we are not loving others even when they don’t love us is he really our God?

“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” I John 3:24.

Are we truly believing in the name of the Son?  Our actions, lack of actions, make it clear if we truly believe in the name of the Son.  We are different from how the world lives.  How obvious is it that Jesus is our Lord and that he lives in us?

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Heat Wave

June 30, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Posted in God is Enough, Health, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

That slight tightness in my fingers said, “it is time to drink water.” A jug a lug of water soon removes that tightness and life moves on.  If left unanswered fingers swell to a point that causes rings to cut into fingers and pain.

Exercising, walking, running, just being outside in the heat for extended periods cries for a higher water consumption than normal.  Water is an important source of life and health for the body.  Swelling hands in the heat is not an option – it’s the first sign of dehydration or excessive water consumption.  Generally, not enough water is consumed.  Waiting until thirst comes is too late.  Not enough water makes the body retain the little water that it is getting, thus the swelling.  For every 15 to 20 minutes water needs to be sucked in if doing a physical activity in the heat.  Walking in the heat for long distances for me means drinking every mile, no matter what.  When I forget because I am chatting with a friend, my fingers send that tight “I am about to swell” sign, water relieves it immediately.  Exposure to heat for a long time without water is no joke, the body slowly breaks down and death is imminent.

Television, social media, radio, peer pressure, bill boards, and smart phones send out waves of messages that trigger emotions of a various kinds – desire, envy, anger, hatred, anxiety, happiness, hope and more negative and positive thought waves.  Every moment their messages are transmitted through the airwaves.  The messages are numerous and influential.  Then there is that tightness in the mind and heart when the heat of too many messages assault our bodies.  What is true?  What/who should be followed?  How should I feel about this?  What is happening?  Why is this happening?  What can I do about this?  Who can I turn to?

When the pages of God’s Word are opened, an important source of life and health for the body occurs.  His Words, the Holy Spirit and prayer guides through the false and reveals the truth.  That tightness is removed, and life moves on.  Exposure to the heat of the world for a long time without God’s presence is no joke, the body slowly breaks down and death is imminent.

How are we allowing life on this planet to swell us up mentally, physically and emotionally?

“Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.”  Jeremiah 17:13.

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

The Manual

June 24, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Posted in God is Enough, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. . .” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:21, 23-24.

The Bible is full of commands and teachings to guide us through our daily life.  They were given to us by God to direct us in how we should think, how we should speak, how we should dress, how we should behave, how we should interact with Him, how we should interact with others, how we should live godly lives because of Him.  It is not difficult to understand.  He makes it clear what needs to happen or not happen in our walk with Him.  In most countries, it is easily accessible in print or online.

God loves and wants only the best for all his creation; he provides his Word to help us with the challenges that come.  The Holy Spirit helps us to discern how his Word applies to us personally.  We simply obey and follow his commands.  Following his Word does not mean we follow because the Bible says so.  We obey because we love God.  Our love for God compels us to obey, no matter what pressures from Satan and his crew come our way.  We obey because God’s way is always best, always right on time.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Genius

June 12, 2018 at 9:16 am | Posted in Goals/Dreams, God's Schedule | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

According to the “Concise Oxford English Dictionary” a genius is defined as – “exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.”

At a graduation commencement the co-valedictorian said that we are all geniuses.  This is true!  We may not be like Einstein and other deep thinkers, but we all have something that we are excellent at.

God gives all an ability to be excellent at something.  Those skills are unique to each of us.  Those abilities are his gift to us to share in this world.  We know what those talents are because we use them automatically, naturally.  However, it is our choice to use them for the benefit of God and others.  It is our choice to hide them away, so, others are not able to relish in God’s gift.  How we use our special power is our choice.  It is our choice to be content with our gift and not envy others gift from God.  It is our choice to grow and thrive in what he gave us.  Everything has a purpose for it’s existence on this earth.

How close is our walk with God, for His purpose, that points to His Light for others to see and run to?

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10.

(NIV translation)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Which is it?

June 5, 2018 at 10:06 am | Posted in Forgiveness, Relationships | 1 Comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Grace: “God’s free and unmerited favor for sinful and humanity.”

Mercy: “Forgiving; compassionate” (both from Life Application Study Bible NIV)

Grace and mercy are not the same.

Grace is given to someone who did nothing to deserve it or earn it.  It is given, just because. God gave us himself in Jesus in the form of flesh simply because he loved us.  Nothing we did warranted this sacrifice and resurrection.  We are unworthy of this kind of love. “Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the Lord.”  Isaiah 26:10.

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:3-8.

His gift of eternal life through his Son (grace), we are forgiven (mercy).  He has compassionate for us in spite of our waywardness against him; His love is unconditional.  He expects us to do the same for others: doing that which is beneficial for others no matter who they are, what they have done or not done (grace) and forgiving those who hurt us no matter how many times they do it (mercy).

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8.

(NIV translation)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Hidden

May 29, 2018 at 8:15 am | Posted in Forgiveness, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’

He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’

And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’

The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’

Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’

The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”  Genesis 3:8-13.

Adam and Eve set the example for us on how to not confess our sin.  They gave us a better way, blame someone else for our sin.

Sin is obvious.  God knows what we have done, yet we try to hide it anyway, like he somehow missed it in all his busyness.  Somehow, he overlooked our transgression.

This reminds me of me when I was maybe 10-12 years old.  I was playing in the basement by myself with candles.  Don’t ask me why, maybe I was a growing pyro.  Anyway, I lit up a bunch of them, I just like watching the fire and the smell.  I still love campfires as an adult.  Before my parents got home I cleaned up the mess and aired out the room.

“Juel, were you playing with matches in the basement?” my dad asked.

“No.” I answered.  I wasn’t playing with matches.  I was playing with candles, even though I did use a match.

“Were you burning candles?”  Candles?  Why would he ask that? I left no evidence.

“No, not me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep.”

“Let me show you something.”  He took me down into the basement. On the wet bar was gobs of melted candle wax. Busted.

“You know playing with matches are dangerous in the house.  If you had told the truth, it would not have been so bad for you.  But because you lied, you are getting whoop!”  He tore my behind up.

Normally by this time belt whippings did not hurt so much, and I would pretend to cry; but this one did.  “I am sorry!  I am sorry!  I won’t do it again!”

My father assured me he still loved me, but that I should never lie.

God is the same way.  He gives us the opportunity to confess our sin.  He asks us first about the sin.  All we have to do is say, “Yes, I did it; I am sorry; please forgive me.”  Yet we don’t do that we hide it hoping that somehow, he will overlook it or don’t even know we did it.  He knows everything and there is nothing we can do to hide it.

When that time comes when we sin, and it will come, confess it, repent and receive the forgiveness that only God can give.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16.

(NIV translation)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Momentary change

May 22, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Posted in God's race, God's Schedule | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“What did he say?  We have to get off where? At 55th?”  We all looked at each other puzzled.

“So, there is a track repair, will this be happening tomorrow?”  I asked the conductor.

“Yes.” He answered.

“No, tomorrow is the big race with a lot more people on the train and shuttle!”  We all said aloud or thought as we got off the Rapid Transit and boarded the shuttle to downtown Cleveland.

Four of us were in transit to participate in the Rite Aid 8K race on Saturday.  The next day, Sunday, we were participating in the Rite Aid Half Marathon.  Because of high traffic issues and early road closures we were taking the Rapid Transit train to the race to avoid all that.  On Saturday, the track repair issues, didn’t hinder us from arriving at the start line on time.  There were less runners/walkers, less road closures and a closer start line location to the train/shuttle stop for the Saturday race.

What are we going to do about tomorrow?  We discussed.  If the train is down like today and we have to take the shuttle, we will be late for the big race.  Sunday’s race was a further walk from the train, the streets where the shuttle was going would be closed, there would be thousands of runners/walkers.  We checked with several train transit employees and race volunteers.  No one had an answer that told us transportation would be available to get us to the race on time.  We decided to drive.  I hated the idea of driving down.  In my first marathon, I had to jump out of my husband’s car while we were stuck in traffic to get to the finish line.  He finally made it there, but I would have needed time to go to the bathroom before starting the race.  From that race on, I took the train for this particular race.  For smaller downtown races, driving in is easier.  Ughhhh!  Now we were going to have to drive and park, which meant getting up even earlier to do all this.  We would have to leave at 4:00 a.m. to get downtown to beat traffic, park and walk to the start line.

Then another member of our group who was participating in the 10K on Sunday told us on her way back on the train, the problem had been fixed and the train would be running as usual on Sunday.  We were all still unsure.  Should we or should we not go with the new plan or return to the original plan?  The situation sounded like it happened in the moment because no alerts were made online just on paper flyers and signs made for the day.  Plus, they made it sound like it would take two days to do.  I want to think because of the race, it was done quicker because of the problems that would happened for runners/walkers.  We decided to go with the original plan and ride the train, which enabled us to sleep an hour longer.  I had to believe that God would not allow me to miss my last potential race with the Rite Aid.  Completion of this weekend’s races meant God had enabled me to earn all the race medals for all the distances that the Rite Aid offered for adults – full marathon, half marathon, 10K, 8K, 5K and the Challenge Series.

Thanks only to God, Sunday was a smooth train ride in; we got to the race on time.  It was an emotional time knowing I might not be doing this race again.  Rarely do I walk in races more than twice.  Walking more than twice meant I walked because someone else wanted me to walk with them.  Rite Aid is the only race that exceeded my twice only rule.  This was the race I had done my first full marathon on; therefore, I had an emotional attachment to this race.  Only God knows for sure if these were my last two races with the Rite Aid.  I only know that God, made sure that by relying on Him, we got to where we needed to be on time.

“So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”  Gal. 3:9.

(NIV translation)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Overlooked

May 15, 2018 at 8:31 am | Posted in Change, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“This doesn’t look right.  What I am I forgetting?”  My daily Weight Watchers food journal showed -1 balance in my points used for the day.  It seems I ate more than that.  I should have a larger minus for the day.  I had to put the journal down and walk away.  It hit me later when I was laying in bed.  I forgot to include the ton of bread I ate at the restaurant.  Duh!  I jumped up, wrote it in and breathed a sigh of relief; a -30 that’s more like it! Thank goodness I had more than enough activity points to cover the deficit. It always amazes me how I can always remember the low point/low-calorie foods I ate during the day, but always forget the high point/high-calorie foods even when I am eating it.  What’s up with that?

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say; ‘We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.’”  Lamentations 3:40-42.

There are always unpleasant consequences of sins.  While indulgencing, it is a tasty morsel in our mouth; we can never get enough and stuff ourselves until our bellies ache and we fall down weary from fullness. We think, “I over did it.  I should have stopped with the first few bites.  Now I must suffer in this pain until it passes.”

Sin is easy to justify.  “Everyone does it.”  “It is only a little white lie.”  “It is no big deal.”  “It is not hurting anybody.”  “I deserve it.”  “God will forgive.”  There are sins we pay little attention to, the ones we don’t notice because it is a part of what we do and never thought of it as a sin. Kindness, gentleness, encouragement, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23b) are not easy to do; so, we don’t and thus sin. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  James 4:17.

Sin is about getting what we want when we want it.  It is not about pleasing the Creator who placed us on this planet for His divine purpose.  Let us examine daily our walking journals with God then repent and confess to someone the ungodliness of our day.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16.

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  Lamentations 3:19-24.

(NIV translation)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

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