Rebecca Duvall

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Blessed

satisfied-in-Him4-300x300Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt like you’ve been hit upside the head with a brick? I’m not talking about a light bulb moment, I mean a moment when you realize the stupidity in our actions and the deep desire that comes over you to fall down on your face and cry out to God “forgive me Lord!”

Well, I had that moment while at church. The scripture for the day was Luke 6:17-26. We’ve been going through the book of Luke and I’m enjoying the different parables. Today was about those who will be blessed and those who will not. I thought it was simply a reminder to always help the less fortunate. Wow, was I wrong!

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:17-26

When the Pastor said “being blessed is when you are satisfied doing what God calls you to do” is when I felt the brick hit me upside the head. I had to face the fact that I was not satisfied with what God had called me to. I wanted more!

Months ago, God pointed me in the direction of becoming a Chaplain and revealed a plan to do so. I was so excited to see what doors God would open for me as I entered this new season of my life. I was so excited, that I became annoyed when it didn’t happen in my timing. My plan was to take the necessary course and become a Chaplain before the end of summer. Summer was now more than half over and I had not started the course. I started wondering if maybe God gave me the wrong direction.

Through the statement made by the Pastor, I realized I had not been acting like a person who had been blessed by God. I was not trusting in God’s timing or in His plan. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it NOW. I was not taking into consideration the fact that I was knee deep in work at the church or that I has already committed to helping a dear friend edit her book. I also was not factoring in that it was summer, which was time for family fun, not extra work.

Thankfully, God was aware of every detail and had it all perfectly planned. Things are now calm and steady at church, my friend is able to work on her book with her own computer and plans have been made with the family that will take us through the summer.

As my schedule lightened, I was officially approved for the Chaplaincy course and ready to start. I’m embarrassed and frustrated with myself for my poor behavior. I can’t believe that I once again had a three-year-old tantrum when God didn’t give me what I wanted when I felt I needed it. I hope and pray that next time, when faced with waiting upon God, I will do better and not freak out when things don’t go as I expect them to.

Jesus took the sins of the world, our sins, upon Himself on the cross, so when I realized the error of my ways, I was able to seek forgiveness and be forgiven. Is there something you would like God’s forgiveness for?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the patience you have with us. Lord, I pray you would open our eyes to see our stubbornness and give us the strength, courage and wisdom to seek your forgiveness. May we always be satisfied doing what you call us to do, Amen.

Forgiveness

forgivenessDid you know that 1 in 9 American adults have Kidney Disease and 1 in 3 who don’t already have it, are at risk to get it? There are currently over 101,000 Americans on the Kidney Donor List waiting to receive a donor. Of that 101,000, twelve of them will die each day while waiting.

March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. It’s all about bringing awareness to the world how important the kidneys are, and different ways to keep them healthy.

The National Kidney Foundation lists 5 easy things we can be doing today to help keep your kidneys healthy.

  1. Find out the condition of your kidneys with an ACR urine test or GFR blood test. Go to www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy to find out how you can be tested for free.
  2. Reduce your intake of over the counter pain meds with an anti-inflammatory component (NSAIDs).
  3. Eat more foods rich in nutrients and less that are processed. They suggest the DASH Diet
  4. Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.
  5. Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. High blood pressure & diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

So what about those who already have kidney disease and are in kidney failure? There are many ways you can help them as well.

  1. Cash donation
  2. Donate an old vehicle
  3. Give a stock gift
  4. Join a kidney walk
  5. Participate in a NKF Golf Classic Tournament
  6. Volunteer
  7. Become an organ donor

You can go to the National Kidney Foundation Donate page for details.

The kidney is near and dear to my heart because over three years ago, God gave me the opportunity to save my husbands life by giving him a kidney. Since doing this, God has also given us many opportunities to share this story; a story about God saving my husband, as well as renewing our marriage. This video, from The 700 Club, is a peak into our story and how forgiveness played an important roll in how my husband received a new kidney.

Another way God has allowed us to share our journey to a renewed marriage is through the book I have written, In His Way, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

My prayer for us today~ Father God, thank you for the forgiveness we receive through Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. I pray we would extend forgiveness to everyone in our life that has, or will, hurt us, Amen.

God’s Mercy

5 praying hands crossHaving mercy on someone is not treating them as they deserve. God showed great mercy on His people, you and me, by providing a way for us to be forgiven for our sinful ways. Because God is holy, He can’t ignore or tolerate sin, there must be a consequence or sacrifice made. This consequence is death, which keeps us from having a relationship with Him.

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. ~ Titus 3:5

God deeply desires to be close to us. This is why He sent His Son, Jesus, who was sinless, to pay for our sins. God’s mercy for us is allowing us to live eternally with Him, even though we don’t deserve it. I’m thankful for the mercy I received, and continue to receive daily, from God.

One of the definitions of mercy in the dictionary is ‘an act of kindness, compassion, or favor’.

5 luke6-36

God calls all who choose to receive His mercy to pass this mercy on to others. We are to treat others, even when they’re having a bad day, with kindness, compassion and love. Even when they have no excuse for being rude, hateful or disrespectful, we are to be forgiving and merciful. We are to look past the actions and see the person in front of us. Which is what God did for us. He looked past the sin and provided a way for the people to live!

The amazing thing is, God doesn’t expect us to do this on our own. He wants us to call out to Him and ask for His help. What sin do you need God’s help to look past, so you can love on the person behind it?

I’m thankful God equips us with His love, compassion and mercy to pour out onto others.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the mercy you offer us, which brings us eternal life with you. I pray we boldly & courageously show mercy to those around us, Amen

 

Forgiveness and Healing

Jaylin PalacioI would like to introduce you to Jaylin Palacio. I immediately connected with her when I read her story. We’ve both been through similar heartaches and our desire to help others who have experienced this pain is something God has put on our heart. Her story explains how she used prayer and the power of God to see her through a painful time in her life.

I have had one true love of my life (other than the Lord). His name is Jay. We met when I was 16, and we married when I was 19. Twenty years later, I discovered that he was committing adultery. I was devastated beyond words. Never in my life have I felt such an intense ache in my heart. The one person that I trusted the most hurt me so deeply. How does one cope with such a painful ordeal?

In the aftermath of adultery, the flood of emotion can make a person crazy. But no matter how chaotic our life gets, there is one source of strength that never changes. No matter how unreliable people can be, God will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). The Bible is our guide for living, and it is the ultimate resource for how to respond to the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.

Some of the guidelines found in the Bible are “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) and “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV). The Bible instructs us to be kind to each other, to be tenderhearted, to forgive one another, and to live a life filled with love. That is much easier said than done when you have been deeply hurt by someone you love. I did nothing wrong and did not ask to be put in this situation of immense pain. I was there because of the actions of two other people. This is the question I asked myself: How do I forgive when I have been hurt so badly?

Forgiveness is the last thing that we feel like doing when we are in so much pain. However, when we make the choice to forgive in obedience to God, He heals our hearts and leaves no bitterness in our spirit. When my world was turned upside down, I relied on the source of strength that never changes. I prayed in three general areas, and He answered my prayers in each area:

  1. Opening Jay’s Eyes. Jay was not acting like himself. He was saying and doing things that were so unlike the man I married. I could not wrap my mind around how a loving husband and father could leave his family. I prayed that God would intervene and that Jay would realize that he needed to come home. God answered that prayer in a tangible way. Jay came home six weeks after I started praying about this, and his eyes were definitely opened. He even said that he knew that people were praying for him because he felt so uncomfortable in his sin.
  1. Providing for My Needs. Ironically, my boss was the other woman, so that job ended when I found out about the affair. I could not collect unemployment because I voluntarily quit the job. My husband left, leaving me with no job and a huge mortgage payment that I could not pay. I prayed to my God who provides all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amazingly, all of my needs were met while I had no income. Once Jay returned, he started a new career that he loves, and I started to work as a paralegal. God has blessed Jay in his career so much that I am now able to stay home by choice. Thankfully, we did not lose the house while Jay was gone. We modified the loan after he came back resulting in a lower monthly payment and interest rate, and we are now rebuilding our credit.
  1. Healing My Broken Heart. In the midst of the anguish, I could not see how I would ever be able to function again. Since then, God has healed my heart in so many ways. I still remember the pain, but now the anger is gone. I feel so strong emotionally, and I want to help others who are dealing with the aftermath of adultery. I started a support group on Facebook called Christians Surviving Marital Infidelity which allows me to encourage others who are going through the pain that I remember well.

When I look back at this time in my life, I am reminded of the Footprints in the Sand poem. The Footprints in the sandauthor was dreaming about walking along the beach with the Lord. She noticed that during the low periods of her life, there was only one set of footprints. She questioned the Lord as to why He was not there for her during the lowest periods of her life. The Lord explained to her that He was carrying her during those times. In the same way, God carried me through this trial. I also recognize that even though we are all capable of being hurt by others, God gives us the ability to forgive. He also heals our hearts so that we can overcome the storms of life and come out stronger as a result.

 

Jaylin PalacioJaylin Palacio is the author of He Will Never Leave You, a first-person narrative about facing the aftermath of adultery, the faithfulness of God, and the healing power of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the loyal spouse’s way to leaving the consequences in the hands of God and allowing God to heal the betrayed person’s heart. You can get to know more about Jaylin and check out her blog at http://jaylinpalacio.wordpress.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/.

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