0 comments on “Signs of Spiritual Maturity”

Signs of Spiritual Maturity

My dad was the substitute for our pastor one Sunday and he asked me for some thoughts on spiritual growth. Here’s a few I came up with…..

  • When you are able to say “Thank You Lord for the struggles” and truly mean it.
  • When you grow concern for others’ spiritual maturity besides your own.
  • When you understand the difference between happiness and joy.
  • When you recognize times you could have surrendered or are able to surrender right then and there during a time you were impulsive or a time you were tempted. You favor the Lord’s discernment even over your common sense.
  • When you realize patience, forgiveness, and compassion are just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Your spiritual health is biblically intertwined with your physical and mental health.
  • When you find yourself talking/praying to God not just about the big decisions in life but also about the smallest details. His wisdom is more important to you than your own understanding.
  • When you receive confidence, peace, and joy by resisting all kinds of temptations instead of feeling dissatisfied, resentful, or vindictive. You see growth opportunities in your daily struggles.
  • When you become generous of the things you are grateful for in life. Even if it’s as simple as joy, you will spread it.
  • When your alone time with God becomes more and more important to you.
  • When you’re able to see God’s blessings towards others who bear good fruit. You are also aware and able to see the blessings that come from God because of your obedience to Him.
  • When you become less sensitive about yourself and more sensitive for others.

Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

Ephesian 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

2 Peter 1:5-6 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;

This list was not made to make anyone compare themselves to other Christians. Everyone is at a different level of spiritual maturity because everyone is responsible for their  own growth. That’s why patience, love, and understanding are some of the most valuable qualities to have. We don’t know how far along some Christians have come, Christian or not. Let us not compare ourselves to them. Let’s not judge them. Let’s pray whether that comparison was out of self pity or pride. Let’s bring whatever that judgement was to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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0 comments on “A Psalm of Sheela”

A Psalm of Sheela

My heart it aches, I suffer in my youth,

My groans and moans speak for me the truth

But if my grief is caused by Satan’s lies,

What reason have I to cry and cry?

My heart it grows faint within me,

My spirit is far from free

But if my agony should lead me back to Your glory,

Lord, let my restless soul rest in Thee!

 

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

P.S. No worries, I am not depressed. Just felt like writing this for anyone who might be going through something heart wrenching. I’ve been there friend.

 

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0 comments on “FAITH & FOOD (Devotional)”

FAITH & FOOD (Devotional)

Matthew 6:24-34 – ”No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

DO YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT ON YOUR DIET? I DO. 

Being on the Ketogenic diet, I have to prepare what to eat in advance, otherwise I am more likely to be grab anything available in the fridge. I have yet to master meal prepping. So I try to cut out all temptations. Besides maintaining my weight, some of the reasons I have for being on this popular diet is for mental health benefits. My thoughts are much clearer, I am so much more focused, and although my memory can never be perfect, it has definitely improved.

But I’ll be honest, I do worry about what I should eat. I worry that I’m not doing it right sometimes, I worry if I have enough for the week, I worry if what I make is creative enough, I worry if others are judging because my food choices are different from theirs. I worry about my expenses on food.

Despite my worries, one truth brings me back to God. And that truth is the main reason I am on this diet. I want to be healthier for God. I am His vessel through whom His wisdom can be heard. And if my mental health suffers, I don’t have the confidence, focus, and right intention for spreading the gospel.

BEING HEALTHY FOR MYSELF SERVES ME AND NOT GOD, BUT BEING HEALTHY FOR GOD SERVES OTHERS AND HIM, AND MY FAITH THEREFORE FLOURISHES. I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT WHEN SOMEONE’S WEIGHT LOSS GOALS ARE FOCUSED ON FAITH AND GOD, CONSISTENT SUCCESS IS THE RESULT. 

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  • Are my concerns righteous when it comes to food and diet?
  • Is my diet more so pleasing to my palate than to my faith overall?
  • What am I doing differently everyday to integrate my faith and mental wellness?
  • How often do I pray about self-control when it comes to food?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I would not be able to praise You or thank You for the life you have given me if You were not my Creator. Thank you for my heart, my mind, my body, and my soul. Thank You for all the food that you provide this world with, thank You for giving me enough to live off of, for giving me every day as an opportunity to improve my health and well-being. Please forgive me for failing to thank You for Your blessings and for all the times I have not been satisfied when I have so much. Lord, I ask that You give me eyes to see how I can use my creativity and faith to make use of what I already have and help me to count it joy when I am being challenged to give in to my worries, so that I might remember to lift them up to You in prayer. Please help me to be content with what I have and be my self-control when it comes to purchasing only what I need. I want to be healthier for You, so guide me and lead me in this journey. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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0 comments on “30 Journal Prompts for Loving God, Loving Others, & Loving Yourself (June)”

30 Journal Prompts for Loving God, Loving Others, & Loving Yourself (June)

Need a little love in your heart?

I once heard a brother in church say, “Where there are relationships, there are conflicts.” And if you’re not a Christian, or if you’re a new Christian, a part-time Christian, a Christian returning to faith, or a mature Christian, conflicts are inevitable.  We all have relationships to maintain.

The great thing about conflict is the need for love. And where there is a need for love, there is room for growth. No matter where you are in your spiritual walk, you need to love, love, love!

I came up with these questions you can ask yourself to help you find balance in all your relationships, to help you make reflections, and make sense of where you’re at in your spiritual journey.

I admit I don’t always reply or react the way a proper Christian should, but the desire to be more loving never ceases in my heart. If you’re in the same boat, press that print button and give this activity a shot.

Click here to view

* IF YOU EVER TAKE TIME TO ANSWER ANY OF THESE DAILY QUESTIONS, I’D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT SOME OF YOUR THOUGHTS WERE. LEAVE ME A MESSAGE.

* IF YOU WOULD LIKE JOURNAL PROMPTS ON A SPECIFIC TOPIC, DON’T HESITATE TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS FOR ME.

* IF YOU ENJOYED THIS & WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE FREE CONTENT LIKE THIS, THE SIGN UP IS A POP-UP WINDOW.

 

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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5 comments on “Gratitude is a Saving Grace”

Gratitude is a Saving Grace

Ever felt like you were just stuck in the dumps? All you had to do was snap out of it. Easier said than done. But the moment you start praising the Lord, something amazing happens. Your soul begins to feel alive again. Condemnation is just a feeling, it’s a state. But God remains. Unchanged. The good Lord fills you with conviction. Don’t forget you were made for worship. It’s for His glory, but He loves you so much so He created a way for you to be uplifted as well. Praise His name. Gratitude follows.

THE MORE THANKFUL A PERSON IS THE MORE FAITH THEY HAVE IN GOD’S FORGIVENESS. FOR THOSE WHO HAVE A HARD TIME MOVING ON FROM THEIR SIN, WHO DOUBT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN FOR WHATEVER WRONG THEY’VE DONE, THIS IS A REMINDER THAT GRATITUDE IS EVERYTHING. MAKE IT A HABIT. GRATITUDE GIVES WAY TO LOVE AND LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS (1 PETER 4:8).

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

1 Corinthians 15:27 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 15:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

NOTE: This will be a future devotional and/or vlog series.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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4 comments on “UPDATE”

UPDATE

It’s been so long. I know I’ve abandoned my blog. Forgive me. I just edited my About Me too explaining this. I sound redundant. But I’m back. If you care. Or if you don’t I really don’t mind. 🙂 I started this years ago and I just can’t not use it ever again. It’s always nice to have something to call your own. I think I’m finally starting to think more like a mom, even though I don’t have any kids. This is my baby. I need to nurture it. I think God would really like that. He was the one who prompted me to start this anyway. So yes, Im back. I’m alive or at least trying to survive. Life got busy. Reading some of my old posts makes me crack up. I’ve gone and deleted ones that just sound immature. Err. I’m still growing and every year gets better and better. What matters is I keep walking in faith and part of that is keeping up with this blog. I’m so glad 2018 has been great towards me so far. I’m learning to expand in ways I only dreamed in the past. And having this blog will push me to share the Lord’s goodness. I’m grateful. And so should you, for whatever circumstance you might be in, know that it only takes gratitude for the things you already have, because with God all things are possible. While I’ve been gone, on my free time, I would read so much on health because I knew I wasn’t living my best. I’m always led to the cold truth that my relationship with Christ is directly related to my overall wellbeing, and the topic of health has definitely stepped up on my list of values. So I’ve been doing a lot of independent research, specifically concerning women’s health. If you are only following this blog because of the Christian-based content, you might want to unsubscribe. I would just like to warn you that I’m incorporating all things related to diet/weight loss (recipes, tips, and health in general). I will be sharing my weight loss journey in hopes of helping many other women struggling to lose unwanted weight. Lastly, I am a portrait artist who has committed to using my talent not just when I feel like drawing or painting. I’ve been blessed to appreciate detail in everything and with this gift, how can I suppress it? I’ll be posting all my artwork here. Check out my GALLERY. So that’s me for now. I hope you all are doing great this year. And I pray you receive blessings every day. BE BLESSED! 🙂

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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0 comments on “GOD’S PEACE | HUMILITY”

GOD’S PEACE | HUMILITY

Being humble is good. It brings you to places that has your mind and heart expecting peace…not expecting in a way that you think you deserve it, but instead expecting in a way that it’s just there and it’s free. And not many know this or is even aware it’s there, but you feel special cause you see it and understand it. At that point, it’s more of a gift than it is free. The peace of God is joy and love, and in it there is freedom. You have to help people understand this. There’s much peace by meeting Him halfway, by approaching Him in humility, by surrendering completely. But don’t waste this gift of knowledge and not tell a soul.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I was sent a message for one of the posts I made in my other blog, which was also about humility. He told me to define “humble” because he says he didn’t believe many people truly understand humility. I will eventually make a vlog discussing more on this topic. But anyway, I thought I’d refer to an older post I made, thanks to an anonymous prayer request. Here’s my thoughts on humility and more.

 

I’ve been struggling with a certain sin pattern in my life for a long time now, and no matter how many times I try to give it over to God, I end up falling back into it eventually. It’s doing a number on my anxiety, and I just feelhopeless and far from God. A friend told me I should talk to someone she knows about it, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to do that. I’d really appreciate some prayer, and maybe some advice on what to do if you’ve got any. (Sorry it’s kinda vague…)

No worries, thank you for this! 🙂 A sin is a sin. Sins will always present anxiety/fear sooner or later. There is no greater sin God detests over another because the point is He always wants us to repent and confess whatever wrong it was we did. It’s for our own good so that we move on with peace. See how much He loves us? Prayer is suppose to bring you back to humility, hence  ACTS – adoration (praise), confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (special requests). In prayer, anything you ask for should often be towards the end or at the end. I say often because if you’re not already yet in a state of surrender/humility, it will be hard to reach the heart of God, but if you already are humble before you ask, then more likely than not your prayers will be answered sooner than later. God wants you to grow in humility first before asking Him anything. Know the difference between weakness and humility. Weakness, believe it or not has pride in it. It is based on the thought and feeling we have because we believe we are not strong enough. You can magnify your weakness by feeding into that belief, which will only strengthen your “weakness”. Humility is acceptance of whatever you have good or bad and trusting God with it. We are not perfect for a reason, we’ll always make mistakes, and that reason is because the Lord wants us to call on Him in our desperation. It’s a reminder that He’s God and we’re not. I believe that when a person struggles with the same sin over and over again, it’s in His will that they are going through it. That is your test/trial. How will you handle it? Some might believe God is punishing them, or it’s karma, or it’s just life and you have to deal with it, or they might not even really think much because they are so deep into sin. He will put the person in the same situation time and time again until they approach God or in some cases approach Him a different way. Try ACTS and ask Him at the end to help you transform your mind, to help you see that your situation with the same sin are trials. It puts importance on praise and thanks rather than going to Him with your sin being the thing that’s magnified. Focus on Him, not on yourself, and the natural thing that happens next is a deep humility to surrender and give up your sins, turning away from them in complete faith. There is power in the name of Jesus. Pray and mention His name often. Put importance on the relationship between the Son and the Father. I believe we get stuck in our sins because we have lost the significance of the connection between them. God sent His Son to die for you. He died at the Cross and was resurrected to be with the Father. When He joined God in Heaven, He took our sins with Him and His Father dealt with them. ALL SINS OF THE WORLD WERE FORGIVEN, PARDONED, PAID FOR, BECAUSE GOD’S SON DYING FOR YOU AND ME WAS ALL IN HIS WILL. NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING TO UNDO THAT. THAT WAS ALL GOD’S DOING, HE SENT JESUS FOR THAT VERY PURPOSE. WE ARE THEN LEFT TO ACCEPT THAT PERFECT GRACE WHICH IS CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS AGAIN AND AGAIN AS MANY TIMES AS WE MUST EVERY HOUR, EVERY DAY AND BE LIKE JESUS, WHO WAS JUST THE EXAMPLE GOD KNEW WE NEEDED. OUR OLD LIVES MUST DIE WITH OUR SINS EACH TIME WE ACCEPT CHRIST BECAUSE WHEN WE ACCEPT CHRIST WE ALSO BECOME ONE IN THE FATHER JUST AS HE WAS UNITED WITH HIM. WE CAN’T COME TO THE FATHER WITHOUT FIRST ACCEPTING CHRIST (John 14:6). YOU WILL FEEL MUCH CLOSER TO GOD THE MORE YOU STRIVE TO LIVE WITH THE CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUS BECAUSE HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. IF YOU KNOW JESUS, THEN YOU KNOW THE FATHER (John 14:9). If you accept Christ you will do whatever it takes not to take God’s Grace for granted and also not take advantage of it. When you accept Christ you’re accepting God’s Grace. Get in the habit of accepting Him into your heart every morning and truly mean it so that your mind magnifies God’s revealed truth about His Son….you’re reminding yourself that JESUS IS GOD’S GRACE. WE DON’T DESERVE HIM BUT HE WAS SENT ANYWAY. Every time you obey Him on the basis of His Grace, He is proud of you. That is a blessing because it should grant your heart joy and peace for being in harmony with Him. And if you fall into the same sin again, repeat the process ACTS and in His time you’ll get better and better at turning away. I believe that anxiety is the result of a divided heart. Make sure you’re not making certain situations, thoughts, and things more important than God. Anything that  doesn’t point to Him is a distraction. He must be behind your every motive. Whatever you entertain in your mind and in your life is what you end up worshipping over Him. Pay close attention to the things you feed your mind and body. FOCUS ON HIM. A couple years ago I found out the word integrity comes from “integer” meaning whole and complete, not a fraction. Integrity is found in wholeness, in being one with God. It’s only in being one with Him you will find true peace and joy and faith and confidence to overcome your giants. PRAY THROUGHOUT THE DAY, OBEY CONSISTENTLY.

       (my prayer…)

Heavenly Father, we worship You, the God who frees us from ourselves. Be magnified in our minds, be glorified in our hearts, be exalted in Your will, to which we surrender faithfully. Lord God, we praise Jesus, thank You for His holiness, thank You that You chose us to be Your servants, that we might give up our ways of pleasing ourselves to devote a life of honoring You. Father, I lift up my friend who seeks to live that life of freedom, I point them to You. Every morning, the life You grace them with, breathe Your Spirit into their soul so that they rise and walk with the life You meant for them live. Lord, give them Your willpower, so they seek to find a strength that matches Jesus’ to go after Your heart in all they do and say. Reveal to them the beauty that is in Your heart, so they strive to offer theirs in place for humility. Forgive them Father for all they have done to pollute their heart and show them how easily You have removed all impurity and fears because of surrendering to You. I ask that You help them to focus on praising You and magnifying that perfect heart of Yours so that in their desire for more of You, they allow theirs to be shaped and molded continually. And however You are going to do that, let their minds be also transformed to trust that in all situations and circumstances, You are there guiding them no matter what. Lord, I lift up all those that return to the same sins. In Your power break their addictions, teach them the ways of Jesus because it’s His heart full of character we want to reflect. We call on You, our ever-present help, please convict us loudly in our hearts when temptation is near to offer that time to You. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

1 John 3:6-7 “No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Acts 8:22 Repent, then, of this evil plan of yours, and pray to the Lord that He will forgive you for thinking such a thing as this.

Matthew 3:8 Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

1 Peter 1:13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 

By His Grace, Sheela (Via godfirstgodalways)

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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0 comments on “God’s Will”

God’s Will

Proverbs 3:4-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

I’m learning to trust in God with all my heart all over again. Too often I grow with pride and sometimes I’m so blind thinking I’m still following Him when I’m not. Instead I’m following my emotions. It’s important I stay highly focused on Him, I need to yield every second. His will is for me to discover it no matter how many times it takes. His will will bring me to obey Him.

It’s easier prayed than done, and it truly is a challenge for some not to give in to their human emotions. But if we learn to use negative feelings as triggers to go straight to the Lord in prayer, we can prevent so many regrets, and broken relationships. Falling off the narrow path is the result of leading ourselves based on what we think is better for us. Yet the Lord Almighty loves us so relentlessly that He will not allow us to keep going without His discipline. And whenever we return, He will not allow us to keep going without the strength and faith we asked for.

I believe so many of us get anxious figuring out what God’s will is as if to say there is a general idea/plan He has for each individual, which He does, but I think it’s a big misconception to put the importance on that. He reveals His will every time we obey. In our journey with Christ, every step we surrender we’re brought closer to the Father, making us one with Him. His will may not always make sense at first, but sooner or later we discover a growing peace and acceptance in the most inner part of our being placed by none other than God. His purpose is for me to take His will and make action based on the faith He’s graced me with and the wisdom that has been learned from that. His will won’t bring me somewhere where He is not also present. But to merely acknowledge Him in every situation is not the same as surrendering to His will. A declaration to the Lord saying, “I obey Your will, please help me now to understand what I should do” is an act of faith where He then has our full attention as He urges us to simply walk by it. His will is always good, otherwise He wouldn’t have created you for it, because your purpose in life is for Him alone, where His love and guidance will never abandon you nor forsake you.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  • Is there any problem I had this past week that made me trust my feelings more than God?
  • Can I try better at handing Him my emotions by confessing right then and there and ask for a desire to recognize the times I have the opportunity to pray?
  • What can I do differently tomorrow to remind me that my faith is more important than my feelings?

PRAY:

Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for creating me with emotions, for the person that I was then, the person I am now, and the person that You want me to become. Forgive me for the times I have only focused on my needs and desires and the times I have forgotten to depend on Your vision for me. You love me so much not to leave me as I am and so I thank You for disciplining me by using my emotions to teach me lessons. I ask that you help me use them as a way to refocus on You so that I can remember to trust You and Your will for me and not myself or my ways. Help me to understand and make sense of things that I have a hard time accepting and remind me that Your ways are higher. Lord, help me to rely on Your truth when problems confuse me by doing whatever it takes for me to make things less about me and more about You and help me to desire what You desire for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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