Posted in Devotion

New Year, New Me?

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18

The time leading up to the New Year is filled with reflecting on the past year and planning on making the New Year even better by creating resolutions. We think resolutions to eat healthy, work-out more, or declutter our lives will create a new us. However, most of these plans fail before January ends.

This review of the past can also be dangerous. Focusing on the past does not allow for us to be in the present moment. We are not able to see what God is doing in the here and now because we are focusing on what God has or has not done in the last year.

The past can be improved. The story is yours to write. However, this can be done at any point. We do not need the New Year to decide to do what is best for ourselves. There is no New Year, New Me. The way we become new is not the hours between December 31st and January 1st.

We become new in Jesus. In our relationship with Jesus, we are reconciled with God. The old versions of ourselves pass away and we become new in Christ Jesus. There is no need for resolutions or unmet goals. There is only a need for preparing room in our hearts.

As the New Year greets us, do you have room in your heart for Jesus?

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Posted in Devotion

The Prince of Peace

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Christmas is not all joyful and stress free for everyone. The stress of seeing family, of having money for the best presents, the anxiety the day brings and so much more cause this day to be less than joyful. However, unto us a child is born, a child who will be called Prince of Peace.

Peace. Christmas doesn’t seem so peaceful all the time. But peace is not a promise that things will be good all the time. Peace is knowing that even admits the bad that there will be good that comes later.

As you celebrate with your families and friends this holiday season I hope you are able to have peace. A feeling that no matter how this season plays out that good is coming. God is with each and every single one of you! God is never going to leave you.

The Prince of Peace has been given to you to remember to accept this peace into your hearts. Do you have peace in your hearts this holiday season?

Prayer: Almighty God, we thank you for the Son that you have given us on that first Christmas night. That you didn’t want to be without us, so you made sure you never were. Grant us peace this Christmas season and the days to come. In Jesus name, Amen.

Posted in Devotion

Don’t Carry the Burden Alone

“Let them judge the people at all times, and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.” -Exodus 18:22

Let me set the stage of this passage for you. Moses is appointed judge over all his people. At this point, Moses’ father-in-law is coming to visit. This visit doesn’t relieve Moses of his duty as judge. He was sitting as judge all day, by himself.

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, questioned Moses on why he was doing this huge task alone. Moses answered that his people needed him. Jethro offered Moses some advice. He said that Moses should appoint some of his people as advisers to oversee the small disputes. The large disputes would still be brought to Moses, but he wouldn’t be carrying the burden alone.

What burden are you carrying alone? Are you like Moses and taking on responsibilities that could be delegated? Are you holding on to secrets you feel you can’t share with anyone? Are you finding daily tasks to be your burden?

Whatever the burden is for you, you are not meant to carry it alone. There are people out there that will rejoice in being able to help you. There is a God who is waiting for you to hand it over, so you are not carrying it alone. Start by laying it at the foot of the cross.

I know that reaching out is scary and usually avoided, but there are people out there who will listen to you and love you all the same. I am not saying that everyone is going to accept your story in a non-judgmental way. i wish I could promise you just the opposite, but I can’t.

Those people are the minority though. The majority of people want to see you succeed. I want to see you succeed.

What burdens will you be placing down to allow others to help you carry?

Prayer:

God, our strength comes from You. Sometimes we carry burdens that are too heavy for us to carry alone. Give us the strength to ask for help, guide us in reaching out to others, and comfort us in our decisions. Lord, You never meant for us to suffer alone. You never leave us even in the toughest times. Thank You God.

Amen.

© 2019 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Who do you say I am?

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” -Matthew 16:16

Take a second. Flip to Matthew 16 and read 16:13-20. This is a powerful piece of scripture. Jesus is asking those closest to Him if they have learned anything from Him. This is a huge test of His teachings. We are thrown this question everyday. We say we’re nervous about something and someone asks us, “don’t you believe in Jesus?” What they’re saying is, “Who is Jesus to you?” This is a question we should be asking ourselves daily. Jesus is our Savior, the Son of God. Lord of Lords.

Is this who Jesus is to you? Do you have a special title for Jesus?

Don’t let your battle with anxiety cause you to stumble answering this question. Jesus doesn’t leave you in your time of doubt, so don’t leave Him either. When others face you with this question, answer it with pride.

So, Who is Jesus to you?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Sabbath Time

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. -Mark 2:27

Do you take a Sabbath? A day doing things you enjoy? Maybe just a few hours is all you can do.

If you answered no, then why not? We were not made for non-stop lives. We were made to stop, pause, and take some time for ourselves. God gifted us the Sabbath, so why are you rejecting it?

You may be thinking, “I am way too busy, I don’t have time for the Sabbath.” A Sabbath doesn’t have to be a full 24-hour period of time. It could be waking up an hour early to have some you time. Maybe it’s staying up an hour later. Any period of time you take for you is a Sabbath.

Another reason many don’t take a sabbath is because they feel selfish. Please don’t. See it as excepting a gift from God. If man were made for a sabbath maybe I could see feeling selfish, but the sabbath was made for man. God made the Sabbath for you!

So, next time you feel caught up in the business of life, an anxious period of time, or a stressful week, stop. Take a moment for you. Pick up that magazine that’s been sitting around for months. Eat a meal outside. Lay on the floor and just breathe. Whatever it may be, take the time for you. You will be glad you did!

A Sabbath Prayer:

Lord, the sabbath was made for man. It is a great gift that we usually reject. Please help me accept the gift of the Sabbath in my life Lord. Help me take time for me, so I can be better in my relationship with You and with others. Thank you for the Sabbath Lord. Amen.

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Beautiful People

When we think of someone suffering, we tend to automatically assume sadness and grief for that person. We tend to overlook the joy they are portraying in Christ. We tend to overlook how people overcome their suffering to be who Jesus wants them to be. The potential God sees in us.

When we see a person with a background of suffering and a joyful presence, what do we think? Are we those people?

What if I told you these people were beautiful people? Would you believe me? I think Jesus says this loud and clear when He communes with these exact people.

Beautiful people see beautiful people. -Caroline Barsom

We are able to spot beautiful people because we are beautiful people. Isn’t that great? I want you to remember that YOU are beautiful!

Beautiful people teach us how to be real. How to use our past to be more Christ-like in our present.

Do you know beautiful people? In what ways have they taught you to be real?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

God Walks With You

So do not fear, for I am with you. -Isaiah 41:10

How many times have you heard the phrase, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle?” Does that mean that God gave us anxiety because He thought we could handle it? Does that mean my friend is suffering because God thought she could handle it? Of course not.

Let’s change this phrase a little bit. “God walks with you through everything you’re given.” Does that sound better? Here the phrase is telling us that God sees we are struggling and walks with us. He was there before we even started to struggle. God won’t leave you alone.

Please don’t hang your hat because you think you are weak. Your strength is not determined by others. You are strong. You are courageous. You are God’s Masterpiece. And God loves his artwork enough to be with it every step of the process. That process is our lives.

My prayer for you this week:

Father, You tell us that You’ll never leave us. How did we get so lucky that You God could love us so much? Please open the eyes of those reading this post, let them see that You have been walking with them. That You are walking with them. Let them feel peace knowing you will walk with them. Let them feel comfort knowing You don’t think they are weak. Lord, thank you so much for caring for each of us as if we were the only. Amen.

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Celebrate Every Step

Don’t wait till you reach your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud every step you take toward reaching that goal.

We all set goals. Have less panic attacks this week. Make a new friend this month. Cut less often. Whatever your goal is, you really hope to reach it.

But if it’s not done in a day, we seem to place too much guilt on ourselves. This guilt lowers our motivation, and it doesn’t come from God. Instead focus on the small steps you’ve made toward your goal.

Maybe you went a full day without panic attacks. Maybe you talked to someone new and really enjoyed the conversation. Maybe you were able to stop yourself from cutting recently. However small the step may be, it is a step in the correct direction.

Speed doesn’t matter. Forward is forward.

Don’t put so much pressure on perfection. Place that pressure on steps to do better instead. Then focus on those steps! Celebrate the small wins. The excitement produced will increase your motivation towards reaching your goal. You’ll be there before you know it!

What small steps have you taken this week? What goals are you striving for?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Broken Prayers

I think Christians feel that when they are at the worst, and have no words to pray, they automatically feel guilty. Do not let that guilt settle in. God hears your tears, your feelings, and your struggles.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

Before you even try to pray, God is already working on an answer to your prayer. While you are still uttering words, trying to make sense, God hears you and is working on an answer to your prayer.

Storms don’t last forever. The sun will come out. Battles don’t last forever. The victory has already been won.

My prayer for you this week, and always:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Hold your children. Let them feel your presence. I know they feel like they are falling apart right now, that things won’t get better, but you are in their future working out everything for goodness. Let them know that you have a plan for their lives. In a perfect world there would be no suffering, but we live in a fallen world. So, wrap a hand of comfort around each person suffering in their own way, Lord. Thank you for always loving us. For always being before us, with us, and after us. For being a wonderful God.

Amen.

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Devotion

Jesus Gets It

Last week we read about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. We are going to stick with Jesus this week also.

Jesus dying for us on the cross is amazing enough right? Well, it gets better. Jesus resurrected from the dead. Jesus suffers anxiety just like us. He knows our pain. He walked the earth just like us.

Therefore, when we feel we have no one to go to, we have the best person to go to. Take it to Jesus. Please note I am not saying to pray and it will all go away. I am saying that Jesus understands when no one else does. Jesus listens when no one else is around. Jesus loves you when it feels like no one else does.

Jesus doesn’t want to see us suffering. In a perfect world, there would be no suffering. However, we live in a fallen world where even Jesus suffered. Jesus suffered to save the world. Are we suffering just to suffer, or are we suffering to save someone else?

How has your suffering helped another person whom was suffering?

Blessings on your week! ❤️

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal