Sunday, November 25, 2012

Take The Limits Off Your Life...By Nina Keegan Owens

Are you one of those people that has a barely get by mentality? Are you always waiting for the other shoe to drop? I know many people that just can't seem to get a break. For them the mindset is that of "This is as good as it gets, this is my lot in life, this is how it always has been for my family!"

We can set major limits in our own lives and the lives of our families and children simply by living so single mindedly. Sometimes it seems people who have always lived a certain way and have had very little, can't ever seem to rise above the, "that's my lot in life attitude!" Seeing themselves that way for generations past takes root in their souls and becomes the way of life for them as well as for future generations.

There are proven studies that show that we are what we think we are, that what we think about ourselves and our situations is so very important. There have been studies on what is biological verses what we obtain from our environment. Many studies are proving that we are most often conditioned to follow a very close knit path to that of how we've been influenced.

We are creatures of habit and we learn what we live. We become products of our surroundings. If you have grown up a certain way, perhaps doing without or in a very negative household, chances are, you have learned those exact ways of limited and negative thinking and carried them straight through into your adult life.

I once heard a story about a lady that always made a beautiful ham for holiday dinners. Before she placed the ham in the oven to cook, she always cut off a piece at each end. One day her young daughter asked her why she always cuts the ends off of the ham. The mother responded saying that that is how her own mother had always done it; so she cooks her ham as her mother had taught her. After the girl's mom thought about it for a while, she decided to call her own mother to ask why the ends of the ham needed to be cut off, the response on the other end of the phone was that of a chuckle followed by a simple," I always cut the ham ends off because my pan was to small to fit the big ham!

How many of us simply cut the ends off the ham rather than just get a larger pan? A larger vision for our lives? Sometimes we don't even question our realities. We act like we have no power to do things any other way, to venture out off the beaten path and tread upon unchartered territory. We become complacent and comfortable with the status quo and never wander out past the walls of our own set limitations. Many people are so afraid to fail at something that they won't even try. We would rather succeed at nothing than fail at something. We give up before we even think to buy a bigger pan!

Jeremiah 1:5 says, I knew you before I formed you in your mothers's womb. Before you were born I set you apart.

God chose you, He formed you, He set you apart! That means He designed you and made you to His exact specifications. He made you in His image with a great purpose and plan for your life. So no matter how you were raised or no matter what has caused you to have negative or limited thinking, God has set you apart for greatness even before you were born!

The Bible says God made us to reign as kings in our lives! We have Royal blood flowing through our veins. We are made in God's own image, we are His descendants, His children! God has made us all for specific plans and purposes to glorify Him. He wants to bless us and prosper us. He wants us to live in victory.

Romans 5:17 says, " We are to reign in life as kings"!

Being victorious in life does not mean living all defeated with a negative attitude. We do not have to accept any negative plots in our lives. If we are to truly reign in life as kings, then what does that mean for us? The definition of the word reign is;
1. Exercise of sovereign power, as by a monarch. 2. The period during which a monarch rules. 3. Dominance or widespread influence.

Our period to reign is our whole life! For our lifetime we should live as kings with widespread influence. We can have power over any negativity in our lives. God's word is a truth for our lives, we can claim that as ours and begin to change our thinking. Get a vision for yourself! See yourself as God sees you! Take off the chains that bind you, that hold you back, that whisper defeat. The same old thinking will always reap the same old results. Technically, the glass is always half full. Start seeing a new vision for your lives and those that you will influence in the future. You can change the paths of generations that follow just by declaring what the Lord promises He has in store for you. Read the Word of God and claim those promises for yourself.

Romans 8:38, We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!

God always causes us to triumph. We can have what the Bible says we can have. We are heirs to God's mighty throne! We can redirect our paths through a change of mindset. There is no term limits on our reign of power in our own lives. We do not have to campaign to get elected. We simply need to know that we are God's crowning achievement. He wants us to be blessed!

2 Corinthians 2:14
But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It's like a fragrance that fills the air.

At this point in your life, you may not be feeling very blessed, you may be going through some tough times and the uphill climb you face maybe quite daunting. Be encouraged that God is with you , his righteous right hand can reach down and lift you over your steep hills and through tough uphill battles with an amazing grace and ease. Declare your victories in Jesus name and claim the word of God over your life. The promises of God are not just for a select few. They are for us all! Never forget who you are in Christ and the life Jesus died for you to have. Don't waste another minute living a defeated, barely getting by, kind of life! You are a precious crown Jewel to God and you are here to reign in victory!

When you do seek Him with a full heart of love and hunger for Him, the windows of heaven will open wide for your blessings and answered prayer.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

I challenge you today to get a bigger vision for your life! Don't cut yourself short because your pan is to small! God's pan for you is huge! His blessings are infinite! And He has crowned you with royalty! Receive that down in your spirit and begin to see the positive changes manifest themselves in your lives.

Heavenly Father I thank you so much for loving me and setting me apart as your chosen child. Help me to walk victoriously as I claim your word over my life today! I praise you in Jesus name!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving by Nina Keegan

With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, we can tend to panic a bit. There's always so much to do! We of course have to plan everything for the huge, wear your fat pants to dinner kind of meal that leaves you in a pitiful food coma on the sofa for the rest of the day. We shop for the endless groceries, lug home that prized turkey and thaw it out for days. We run back to the store for what seems like, at the very least, another one hundred trips for the item you went to the store for and forgot to get in the first place. We endlessly prepare our homes for our house guests. There are usually a few trips back and forth to the airport to schlep in and out our family members. We cannot leave out the constant cooking after making several calls to the 1-800-Butterball Turkey hotline. Of course after all that cooking, we are left with a massive clean up effort in a kitchen that now resembles a high school cafeteria after a food fight. Then finally It's time for Thanksgiving dinner where everyone delightfully wolfs down days of cooking in just 10 minutes only to be followed by TV channel flipping affording you the opportunity to watch 3 football games at once! Yes, thanksgiving...the one time of year when pigging out and watching football seems to be our patriotic duty!

I am of course joking, at least a little..

In spite of all of my playful holiday sarcasm, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday!! I love everything about it! For starters I love to cook, it makes me happy to cook all of the old family favorites that everyone looks so forward to. Everyone gathers in the kitchen trying to sneak in a bite here and there before dinner without getting caught. I so enjoy having a noisy, messy, fun filled, house again because my boys are back at home. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season with Christmas right around the corner, it's a wonderfully magical time of year. I love all these things about this day but what I love most is that we can all be together for no other reason than to just give God a glorious shout out of thanks and praise for ALL He does for us!

I know that I am very blessed and I am ever so thankful when I am able to gather my family around my table and as I look at them seated around me, I could not be more joyful, more grateful than at that very moment.

Turkeys and football aside, we should always remember we are gathering to give our heart felt thanks for life's little blessings, for it is in these moments that our life becomes so enriched. Giving thanks is acknowledging God's divine favor in our lives and celebrating Him for our infinite blessings.

We should remain ever mindful of the very meaning of Thanksgiving and give praise and thanks to our Heavenly Father who is the amazing benefactor and provider of all we have. We should take a few moments and do nothing other than simply count our blessings, numbering each and every one while praising the Lord simultaneously for His love, protection and kindness in our lives and in those lives we deeply cherish.

Psalm 107:1
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." (NIV)

Why do we need to wait for a chilly Thursday in November to express our gratitude for all we have? On the contrary, we should begin each and every glorious morning with a prayer of thanksgiving! When we are thankful for what we have God will bless us with what we don't have. 

I know this sounds a bit clichรฉ but literally stop and smell the proverbial roses. Look around you as if you are seeing your surroundings for the first time, put on your rose colored glasses and see God's magesty everywhere! Trust me when you do this you will be so moved by what God has done for you. You need only to open your eyes to a new day to realize we have so much to be thankful for....

Psalms 50.14
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay your vows unto the most High.

Being grateful turns all we have into all we need. There is so much lack and suffering in this world. When we can look at this vast need and still complain about ridiculous and petty things; something is very wrong. Every new day is a new beginning not to be wasted or ever taken for granted or missed.

God needs to hear your sincere thanks and feel your deep appreciation for all He does for you and your family. He desires us to be close to Him and I believe that when we etch out time in all of our busy days just to thank Him, we will grow in our faith because during these moments of thanksgiving, we are continually reminding ourselves of his divinity, His righteousness, his splendor, grace and His everlasting love for us all. We begin to see things differently and we appreciate all we are and all we have when we are reminded of how blessed we are. No matter what is going on in your life right now there is always something that you can be grateful for. There is always something good about every day even if every day is not good.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

When the scriptures repeatedly tell us to be thankful, to offer up praise and thanksgiving, and to be ever grateful to God; then if we do not follow these simple instructions, we are being disobedient. Disobedience separates us from God and we veer off of our appointed paths. When we tend to get too proud and haughty and act like we ourselves are responsible for the good things we have in our lives is when we lose our way and stray from God's unspeakable joy and his merciful kindness.

Let's pause and take the time to let God know we love Him and thank Him for everything! Let's reflect a bit and bask in His love! Let's enjoy every moment of our wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and every day to the fullest with our hearts overflowing in immense gratitude. Lets measure our thanksgiving not by our blessings themselves but how well we use them. So enjoy your Thanksgiving feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberries, but whatever you do, thank God abundantly first, and save room for pumpkin pie!!!!

Psalm 95:1-6
"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."

Psalm 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for everything you do for us. We are grateful for every blessing and every new day. Help us to appreciate and love each other the way you love us. Protect us and keep us safe this Holiday season. We praise you in Jesus name!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Step Out In Faith by Nina Keegan Owens

Do you ever look back at some of those pretty rough time periods you have had to face in your life and think in amazement how everything miraculously worked out for the good in the end even though at the time things seemed pretty bleak?

Do you often feel like you are always having to take a detour in your life, the less than scenic route, the long way home so to speak to get the answers you need. Nothing is just simple and uncomplicated. You know now that God was always there with you before but you just could not see it at the time. He is with you now too! Adverse times in our lives are meant to stretch our faith, and strengthen our relationship with God.

In the natural realm things often seem impossible like there is no way out. In the spiritual realm, God is the great I AM. He is always what we need, when and where we need it. His grace is sufficient! He is continually at work safeguarding us, our families and blessing us with His anointed favor. Sometimes it just takes a while to see His hand at work. Just keep the Faith! God will never fail you. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine!

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.

Some of you may be facing tough times right now and you can't believe what you are having to go through. You pray and trust God but there does not seem to be an answered prayer in sight. Things sometimes appear to go from bad to worse and you wonder what God is doing.

I refer to these times of uncertainty as loving faith stretchers. When we are at our very lowest and when we can finally get out of our own way to make room for God to work, is when we will begin to rise above our circumstances. God will always give you the help and the strength you need not just to win the battle, but to win the war. Scripture says, with one touch of God's favor the tide of the battle turns. God is a warrior when it comes to us. He will never stop loving you nor stop fighting for you!

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I believe there are so many messages and lessons learned during our times of struggle. I believe God wants to strip us down and bear our souls as we trust Him to take over and work on our behalf. He meets us right where we are in the midst of our giant mess. He allows us to go through such uncomfortable situations and circumstances so in the end, we are left alone with only Him and our faith in all He can do. He again is all we will ever need!

When we have finally given rise to the unmerited fact that there is no earthly way we can go it alone and crawl out of our own depths of despair, we are left on our knees submitting all to the one that can and will always take care of us. We need to stay fixed and focused on Jesus. Seek his face first! When we are weak, He is strong! 2 Corinthians 12:10.

When we realize that we cannot go through these trials on our own, when we commit them to God, we start to see results. We need to stop giving our problems an out of control, life of their own. We talk about them, analyze them all, call all our friends to talk about them some more,and we do everything in our own power to the point of exhaustion to control the situation. The answer is always as close as the name Jesus! The name above all names. We at long last need to relinquish it all and cast it completely off to God. Only then, will we begin to receive answers to our prayers and solutions to our problems.

John 14:13-14
Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

When we step out of our comfort zone of trying to control everything in our lives and take that blind leap of faith, we will finally get that break through coupled with the realization of knowing it was nothing but the shear grace of God that had removed the burden from our lives, or saw us through it all.

Sometimes God needs us to first be obedient, responsible and step out in faith. He needs us to take action. Activate our faith. We must take the steps, trust God, and put forth the effort to let Him run the show. We open doors full of blessings and solutions in our eyes of faith. God works through our uncomfortable times because we are more easily shaped through our own vulnerability.

The Bible says we are all like clay in the potter's hands. If you have ever worked with clay you know that it starts out very hard and not easily pliable. You have to really knead it and work it to break it down. It takes time and muscle but eventually it becomes soft and smooth and we can then mold it into beautiful things.

We are that clay, we start out hard and rough but every time we fully rely on God and step out in faith, we soften just a bit more therefore allowing Him to shape us into who He made us to be.

There is so many stories in the Bible where we see people having to completely step out in faith and first be obedient before they saw their miracles come to pass. I recall the story of when Jesus met up with a blind man requesting that Jesus restore his sight. Jesus made a paste of mud and put it on the blind man's eyes. Then what we see next is a real faith stretcher. Jesus tells the blind man to go off to the river and wash the mud from his eyes, then his eyes would be healed and he would see again. Now we all know that Jesus could have healed this man's eyes instantly yet he chose not to. One touch is all it would have taken yet Jesus sent a blind man off to find a river to wash in first. This had to be a rather difficult task for someone that was blind. Why would Jesus send him off like that? Jesus wanted the blind man to step out in faith and trust Him. Imagine the thoughts and the excitement the man felt on his way to the river. His faith was growing in every step he took. His anticipation of being able to see for the first time in his life was strengthening his faith. He first had to obey and step out in faith to activate the healing power of God.

Once when Moses was in the wilderness with the children of Israel, they had been walking a very long way and were exhausted and extremely thirsty. When they finally came upon a river, the water was bitter and not fit to drink. Moses, discouraged, cried out to God. God then told Moses to chop a certain large tree down that was beside the river and cast it in to the water then it would become clean and pure for drinking. I imagine the last thing that they wanted to do at that time was chop down a large tree! They were already so hot, tired and thirsty. They had to step out in faith believing and trusting God for the clean water. With every chop into the thick tree bark they were growing in certainty and testimony. When they finally cast the tree into the river, the water was instantly made clean and clear.

Sometimes we need to go through the rough times and flounder out of our comfort zones for us to grow in our faith. Each time we trust God with a our problems, we are putting another stepping stone of faith on our path. God wants to test us and make sure we are trusting Him. We must bring all our cares and concerns straight to Him and cast them off like the tree was cast into the river. When we do just that, we set in place the motions we need for our break throughs. God will always give you a plan of action. He may give you tasks first, big or small, but any task He gives will serve a mighty purpose on our road to peace, faith, security, health and prosperity. Just pray you won't have to build an ark!๐Ÿ˜˜

Remember always to step out in faith and trust in the Lord for all you need and for anything you are going through. You are so much closer than you think! God's timing is always perfect and someday soon you will look back at this time and say, "God you were right there with me the whole time, I see that clearly now!"๐Ÿ˜‡

Thank you Father that you are always right here with us and no matter what is going on in our lives, we can step out in faith and trust you to handle it all according to your will for us.
We praise you in Jesus name!!