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Forgiven

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I do not write this lightly, I’ve lived it and learned (slowly at times) that the way we forgive people who have deeply hurt us is nowhere close to the forgiveness with which God forgives us.

As I have repeatedly read the story of Joseph’s reconciliation (Genesis 37-50) with his brothers, I have been moved each time by the deep compassion and mercy he extended to his brothers. He taught us a valuable and beautiful lesson on forgiveness.

We don’t know how long it took him to reach that level of forgiveness after his brothers plotted to murder him, tossed him into a pit, and then sold him into slavery. In my personal opinion, I doubt it was early on because the hurt was so fresh and deep at that time. Maybe it was a work God accomplished in his heart through a slow and gradual process over the many years he was falsely imprisoned.

Maybe it was when he was released from prison and saw the enormous responsibility and position God had placed him in. Maybe his heart was opened then to a deeper understanding of God’s ways, as He learned God’s assignment for him was to save the people from famine.

Whenever it was that the healing work of forgiveness took place in Joseph’s heart, I am thankful that he obediently humbled himself and allowed God to bring this about in him. I have seen many people resist God’s work of forgiveness in their lives, and the result is always bitterness. Sometimes it is a very evident, outwardly visible root of bitterness. Sometimes it is a hidden, pushed down, denied form of bitterness, and yet it still spills forth in the life of the unforgiving person.

The evidence of genuine forgiveness was displayed when Joseph was reunited with his brothers and he didn’t condemn them.  He wept and cried and assured them that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. He took care of them and re-established relationship with them.

When others have deeply hurt and betrayed us, may we find it in our hearts to forgive as God forgives, as God taught Joseph to forgive, and as Stephen forgave those who stoned him (Acts 6 and 7). Stephen’s story is compelling beyond words. With his dying breath, he forgave those who were taking his life.

Following the example of Joseph, Stephen, and Jesus Christ, may we hold no charge against our offenders and betrayers and toss their offense ‘as far as the east is from the west’ (Psalm 103:12). God wants us to give mercy to others as He has been merciful to us. He wants us to forgive as we have been forgiven.

Colossians 3:12b-13 teaches us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission
From: Devotions from the Heart

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When I Blow it Again

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After listening to someone share how they blew it by losing their patience over a very small matter when their sincere intention was to keep calm in a disagreeable situation, I was reminded how recently a similar thing had happened to me.

Just when I think I am making progress in an area, I turn around and blow it again. I wasn’t looking to lose my control and say things I didn’t mean to say. And yet a simple conversation and small disagreement with my husband spiraled into heated words and I definitely blew it with my tongue. It was so trivial and stupid of me. I blew it again…

I was madder at myself than my husband was. For him it blew over very quickly but I continued to punish myself with the question, why did I do it? I didn’t want to do it! But I did it.

Why am I so prone to sin? Does that sound familiar? 

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 (NIV)

Why can’t I do a better job of reigning myself in? Why did I do something I didn’t even want to do?

Do you hear the condemnation ringing loud in this battle raging within me? There is an answer. There is now no condemnation.

There–is–now–no-condemnation. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

When I blow it again, there is no condemnation because Jesus took care of that for me. I am so thankful for this truth. I need to accept this beautiful gift of no condemnation. It is part of my inheritance as a born again believer and child of God.

I don’t want to blow it again. But I probably will. 

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission
From: http://www.kathycheek.com/

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A Prayer To Endure

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Endure is a word I have thought about lately. I have been thinking about it since before the new year even started. It is the word that describes a life of faith and puts the focus on our choice to persevere one day at a time and year after year. To endure is where our faith comes fully alive.

Yes, I pray that  our faith will endure and that our walk will endure. I pray that we will run this race well and that we will diligently persevere and stay the course.

Stumbling and getting back up, falling but standing strong again.

Endure through loss,

Endure through disappointment.

Endure through uncertainty,

Tried and tested but proven.

Endure in our Bible reading and in our prayer life.

Endure in having a more giving heart and being intentional with our time.

Endure in our relationships with people and being attentive to all around us.

I pray with utmost sincerity that we will endure in trusting the Lord with all our heart. This will make all the difference between coasting and living out a faith that is fully alive.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

Devotions from the Heart at www.kathycheek.com

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A Place of Blessing

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Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. 

~ Psalm 1:1-3

This passage begins our journey through the Psalms, a book written mostly by David, which is filled with turmoil and triumph, tears and joy, battles and victories. What a great declaration we read in the first few verses of this chapter, reminding us of the place of blessing we can have in our position of delighting in the Lord.

By the rivers of water,
This is where I want to be.

Wouldn’t you love to be like the tree in Verse 3 that is firmly planted by the rivers of water and is fruitful and prospers? Isn’t this the life we want to live in the Lord? This is the life He has promised to those who walk in close relationship with Him. It starts with a choice: Will we choose to follow the ways of an ungodly world, or will we choose to delight in the Lord?

What does “delighting in the Lord” mean?  It’s certainly more than having a casual relationship with Him. It happens as a result of consistently spending time building a rich and fulfilling relationship with God that leaves you wanting more. Spending intimate time with the Lord enables you to grow in a faith that is steadfast and firm. If you seek the Lord and follow after Him, you will delight in Him. To know Him is to delight in Him.

What is your desire? Do you long to be firmly planted by the rivers of water, solid and secure, delighting in the Lord day by day?

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Early Will I Seek You

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When did you first meet the Lord today? When did you make that vital choice to pause and be still and make sure you connected your heart to His? We know it makes a difference when we move into our day already having started the day with Him. It makes all the difference.
Did you thank Him for this day early this morning?

Did you thank Him that you belong to Him?

Did you thank Him for loving you unconditionally?

Gratitude is a wonderful way to start every new day.

Did you invite Him to go with you through this day?

Did you ask for His wisdom and guidance for all that lies ahead in the uncertainty of the day ahead?

Did you acknowledge Him as Lord of your life in every aspect of your life?

Did you praise Him for who He is?

Praise is a wonderful way to start every new day.

When we miss this early and important connection it becomes much more likely that the places of our heart meant to be filled with the Lord will become like a desert, a dry and thirsty land.

But the good news is, when we longingly thirst for Him, He will fill us up with Himself and we can face each new day walking in the joy and strength of our Lord.

Psalm 63:1

“God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Where Can We Find God?

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Someone posed these questions, “Where can I find God? How can I find Him?”

I thought about the answer and this I know.

He is not a God who is far off.

The truth is – we can find Him early each new day.

We can find Him in the morning.

He’s already waiting for us before the night sky turns to dawn.

He’s already there waiting for us before our sleepy eyes are wide awake.

It is the place I meet Him with whispered words and grab His hand and never let go the rest of the day.

He is already there waiting for me. While my body needed a night’s sleep to rejuvenate, He never slept or wearied for one moment. He who never tires or sleeps refreshes me each morning.

There is nothing else that inspires me more than this experience each day – knowing the Lord is waiting for me, knowing that every morning He invites me to meet with Him, talk with Him, and go through my day with Him. It always begins with the dawn of each new morning.

In the quiet, waking moment of each new morning, before the rest of the world comes rushing in, I hear His voice and know He is near.

The dawn of each new morning is not only where He waits for me. It is also where He waits for you.

Isaiah 40:28

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

Psalm 121:3-4

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Jeremiah 23:23-24

Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?
 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Awakening

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There is this love I have for mornings,
Day beginning new
And I take hold of all it offers me.

In quiet moments and rising sun
Whispers of my heart say,
Thank You, Lord
For this new day that You have made.

Thank You
For loving me,
Saving me,
Making me Your child.

Thank You
For making a plan for my life
Before I was ever formed,
Leading and guiding all that I do,
Picking me up when I fall,
Teaching me to trust You each step of the way.

This is what I rise to every morning
When I wake up to You.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission from Devotions from the Heart:  www.kathycheek.com

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This Changing Work

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In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:6-7

Day by day
God is quietly changing me
Molding me, making me
Sometimes breaking me

Loving me, leading me
Guiding me, strengthening me
Testing me in the fire-purified
Will I come forth as gold?

Part of the work God does to grow us and change us is by testing through various trials.

On the other hand, some of the changing work He does in our lives is quiet and gentle as He asks us to willingly bend our hearts to the work He is doing.

But, some of the changing work won’t be accomplished without the testing trials. Whether He is quietly working on us – or purifying us in the fire, the same result will be produced and that result will be a genuine faith deeply grounded in our hearts.

I have been through both as I am sure most of us would also admit has been the case in our lives. We have been through the challenging trials and at other times we have seen a more subtle work of change take place in our hearts, yet both were learning times when God showed us how to trust Him through a season of change.

I am thankful that God loves me enough to change me, and as I undergo this changing work He does in me, He is also giving me a glimpse of what I can become. And this is how I know I want to be all He made me to be.

Isaiah 64:8But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Will They See You in Me?

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When people look at me
Will they see You?

When people talk to me
Will they hear You?

When they come to me
And need the strength
That You can give

Will I show them
You’re the One
The only One they need?

If I’m your hands and feet
Will others know?

If I reach out with love
Will they know it comes from You?

If I step out and show the love
That You have shown to me

Will they come to You
Wanting what they’ve seen in me
Wishing for the same?

If they see You in me
Will they come?
Will they want to know You, Lord
If they see You in me?

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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He Walks with Me

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When I slip my key in the front door and lock it, tuck my phone and keys in my pockets and step off the front porch and begin a morning walk, I always invite someone to go with me. I invite the Lord to walk with me. I ask Him to join me and as I come to the end of our street and cross over to the paved walking trail I am delighted that He is with me.

Morning falls across the trees in shadowy streams of sunlight and shade. The crepe myrtles greet us at this intersection where I choose today which direction I want to go. I know that whichever path I choose, He is going with me. I know that with every step along our way I can pour out my heart to Him and I can breathe the fresh air of His presence around me.

His nearness fills me with peace and strength. His spirit indwells me and I know I am His and He is mine. There is a unique joy that I experience when we walk together surrounded by the beauty of His creation.

I am so thankful for this relationship I have with the Lord. For years He has cultivated a close walk with me that transcends everything else in this world. I have discovered that there are secret treasures that He reveals to us when we abide in Him as scripture calls us to. When we walk hand in hand past the crepe myrtles and over the creek bridge, I know I am enjoying the greatest treasure of all.

John 15:9-11 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission


Are you at a place in your life where you want to know Jesus and have him in your life?   You can start a life surrendered to Christ today. This is a sample, simple prayer, but the words are powerful and full of meaning.  If  you truly believe them Christ will enter your life and start you on a wonderful journey. (not always easy, but never alone)

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

It starts now!

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

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Stop and Pray

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pray hands surrender

When I hear troubling news, I cannot believe how quickly my heart fills with fear, followed by a sensation of dread washing over me like a drowning wave. My body and my emotions seem to naturally want to overreact and carry me away, until I remember to pray.

I have learned that when I start to worry, that is when I immediately need to stop and pray. I think about how important prayer is even though much about prayer is a mystery to me. Yet even in the mystery of prayer there are some things I know.

Prayer is our privilege and prayer is power.
Prayer is confidence in our Lord and in our walk with our Lord.
Prayer is comfort and peace, and resting in who He is.
Prayer is His invitation to us not to be anxious –
Prayer is faith that God is in control.

Prayer has grown my faith-
Built my trust,
Kept me in awe of a Sovereign God.
He is God and the answers are in His hands.
The timing and the methods are His.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 5:16
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Not the Walking Wounded

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I am not the walking wounded

I received a very high compliment the other day, but in fact, it is a testimony to the amazing work God has done in my life.

The people that I meet at this point in my life don’t know the harsh upbringing I had with a very troubled father.

After sharing a little of my past history with my new friend she said she couldn’t picture me having been in that environment. She said I was too normal.

She had observed that I am not carrying around any visible baggage.

I am not the walking wounded.

There was a time when I was…(before I learned to forgive and let go). If I had waited until he was sorry, I would still be waiting. I knew I had to do it for my own emotional and spiritual health and it was the most freeing choice I ever made. Like dandelion petals carried away with the wind, the burden was lifted from my shoulders. I never imagined it could feel so good just to let it go. God surprised me with that one, and it was a beautiful blessing in my life.

Someone made the statement in a discussion recently about how sometimes we don’t receive God’s grace for healing from a painful past. She hit the nail on the head.

We discussed why two people can go through a hardship and one won’t let it go and grows bitter while the other one lets it go, let’s God work, and heals.

A long time ago I decided I knew I did not want to be that first person. Too much of my life had been robbed already and I wasn’t giving up any more ground to the past. We don’t have to go through life as the walking wounded still carrying visible baggage.

We can receive God’s strength to let go and heal. He will bring healing to the heart that opens to His work of grace.

Psalm 147:3
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Each Step We Take

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Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

Every step we take, every path we follow, even when we stumble and fall, God is holding onto us. I hope you will always remember that as you continue your journey, and as you choose to walk by faith with the Lord.

Today, I want to leave these scriptures with you. They happen to be among my favorites and I run to them often for encouragement when I don’t know which step to take next or don’t know where the path leads.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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Savor

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praise man

To every child of God today
For a little while
Just let it soak in and savor
Who you are in Him
You are His child

He wants a relationship with you
Daily
Hourly
Moment to moment
Every moment

For a little while
Spoil yourself by sitting in His presence
Pour out your heart
Place your hand in His
Know He is with you

For a little while
Just be His child
Just be the one He formed and fearfully and wonderfully made
Be the unique person He made you to be
Be the one He wants to draw near to Him

For a little while
Indulge yourself
Just let it soak in and savor
Who you are in Him

1 John 3:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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When You Need Body and Soul Rest

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When You Need Body and Soul Rest

Do we know when we need to rest, or do we think we are super human and can go on and on forever? I tend to think we believe that with enough determination and caffeine we can go on forever. Are we thinking about what our body and soul truly needs when we are pushing ourselves beyond our limits?

What is on your plate right now? Maybe you have a full plate or far too much on your plate. Maybe you have some hard things on your plate right now and haven’t even considered taking care of yourself with some body and soul rest.

We might not want to admit it, even when caring people around us are suggesting it – we need rest.

If you are experiencing extreme weariness, frustration, and discouragement – the best remedy is to give all your cares to the Lord and rest in knowing He can carry it all. When you finally let go and stop wrestling, and instead rest, you will soon recognize that you are experiencing something new. In letting go and resting, you will find you are growing strong again.

Your strength is renewed when you let go and find God’s rest.

Can you begin to imagine the incredible source of strength that comes from our Almighty All-Powerful God? Now, imagine… He is offering it to you.

Yes, the ultimate mystery and blessing is that when you find God’s rest you will also find God’s strength.

Matthew 11:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission

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