"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Short Testimony

I want to apologize for those of you who have been looking for new posts this week. Life has kept me super busy. I will be graduating from Western Kentucky University tomorrow with my Master's degree. PRAISE GOD! I am a testimony that if you ask God to do it, and it's in His will, then it shall come to pass. For those of you with a goal that seems impossible, just KEEP THE FAITH and be strong in your Heavenly Father! I will being to post again on Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. Blessings to you all!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Living My Life LIke It's Golden!

This Christmas, many of us will be given gifts, some we like, some we won't. Some of the gifts are items that we have asked for, some we haven't. No matter what you unwrap this Christmas; please know that the best gifts have already been given to you. One of which is the gift of life!

If anyone knows tragedy, my family sure does. And, each tragedy we have been through has deepened our relationship with God. Midnight hours came when no one was around to hug, nor was there a shoulder to cry on. It was in those hours that God rocked and cradled us in the midst of our pain, confusion, and hurt. As time passed, some around us thought that we should just "be over it" by now. No one understood! God eased our pain in His time; not ours, and not anyone else's. When the pain subsided, more room was made for joy. How great is our God!

The Bible states that to everything there is a time, including a time to cry and a time to morn. Thank God that this time does not last forever! The holidays are a happy time. People smile that may not have cracked a smile all year. I know that there are many families that will be smiling through pain this holiday, including my own. I want to encourage all of us to smile tonight and during this holiday season!

Even though our loved ones have been called to their eternal home, we still have so much to live for. We still have so many reasons to celebrate. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus! With each birth, a new life graces this earth. Only God knows the purpose of why they are here when they are and for the amount of time that they are. For each of us, this is no different.

I want to encourage each of us to live each day of our life like it is golden. I know that problems and issues arise, but look for joy. Find something to praise God about, because nothing belongs to us or is promised to us, not even our life. Let's cherish every moment that we have!

Thank you God for my life and all of the lives surrounding me! Help us to see the life that You have given us as a precious gift, and not a troublesome burden. Help us to fulfill our purpose and to be prepared when You call us home to be with You. Thank You for the lives of those that have left this earth to be with You. Forgive us for times when we have taken life for granted. Teach us to appreciate this life and You with every breath we take. I love You more and more each day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Passing on Patience

My life has been so very full of peace for the past few months. My job holds peace. My home holds peace. And, even at my church, I feel a sense of peace. It was not necessarily any particular situation or circumstance that changed things except for my perception and attitude in my prayers. I stopped asking God to change people, places, and things, and begin to ask Him to give me the same patience with others that He has with me. I know what you are thinking.....I can never have the patience of our Father because that would make me perfect. And, you are exactly right. I will never totally have the patience of our Father or His Son, but in asking for it, this shows that I want to strive to be more like Jesus, which is what we should be doing as we grow spiritually.

Patience is spoken about all throughout the Bible. Patience is spoken about in terms of waiting on something, patience is spoken of in terms of having patience with others, patience is spoken of in a time for suffering, patience is spoken of in terms of growth, patience is spoken of as a character that demonstrates discipline, the learning process of patience is spoken of, and even showing patience as a symbol of submission to divine wisdom. I'm sure if I kept searching the scriptures, I would find several more terms in which patience is spoken of. Patience is a multiple meaning word and can be both a noun and a verb. Patience can be spoken of as an idea which is a noun, or can be practiced as an act, which is a verb. Whatever the case, in this life on earth, patience is a MUST!

Now, those in my inner circle know and can tell you that I have never been one of great patience; far from that concept to be exact. But, in growing older, and in growing spiritually, I have learned that patience must be practiced in order to show that Christ resides within me. The patience that I speak of tonight is having patience with others.

I thought about some times in which my patience was thin with others. I ask God to help show me when I have become instantly impatient and easily irritated by others and have allowed my actions to show something other than Christ. I was really embarrassed by what God revealed to me. I had a long list of people and things that made me impatient. However, when I finished thinking about that list, I had to create a list of things that I did that may have made others impatient with me. I was surprised to see that many of the things that others do that irritate me; I do or have done to others also. So, who am I to be irritated with them? God reminds me that no being is perfect, and that most are striving to be the best person that they can be. My best is not your best, and your best is not my best. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, so we should not get irritated with others so easily. Sometimes we expect things out of others that we are unable to produce ourselves.

I thank God for my intelligent children. Being an educator, I am able to recognize the academic strengths and weaknesses that my children possess at this time. My son is such a logical thinker. He is wonderful with numbers and loves science. Those in the world of education know that these are typically the strengths of boys. I was working on reading skills with my son one night and became so very frustrated with him because it is the teacher in me, not the mother, which knows that he could be reading right now. In my mind it would be so simple for him to just read a short book because he knows some sight words and has been blending sounds for over a year. My patience begin to wear thin with him because I wanted what I wanted for him and was not reading his cues that while he possesses the skills, his interest in reading independently just isn't there yet. I thought about everything that could possibly be an issue with him, but never thought about the fact that I was not being patient with him. I wanted him to do what I wanted him to do right now! He is only four and there are many other things that he is interested in exploring. God showed me that it was me who needed to change and not my son at all. It was at this point when I begin to examine and assess my level of patience that I have with others.

Simply asking for the patience of God has also changed my attitude and outlook on life. I have more peace, less stress, and less drama. I am not consumed by what others are not doing, or have not failed to do, but what I am doing and am striving to do. This is still a growing process for me. I wish I could say that I never get frustrated at the slow moving car in front of me, or the clerk at the store that totals my purchases incorrectly, but when I do, I react differently. I try to remember that no one is perfect that that someone may have had to show patience towards me that day and I may have not even known it. I try to think about the possibility that the slowing moving car may be someone who is handicapped or elderly. I try to think that the cashier may have children to feed and have worked a twelve hour shift today.

This post is just something to think about.....how we can be more like Christ and enjoy this abundant life!

God Bless You!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Justified Excuses???

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.....How many of us use these? My hand is raised high in the air. I may even need to raise both hands. Excuses are reasons that we provide for why we do not get something done, why we do not get somewhere, why we do not meet deadlines, or simply why we feel that the skills we possess are inadequate for the task before us. Most often, we are unable to recognize when we use an excuse because we have been conditioned to justify them.

Have you ever heard someone say, "Well, the Lord knows my heart!"? I think I have heard so many people say this famous phrase so much so that I began to say it at some point in my growth, and it just stuck. So, the result is that now when I am late somewhere, or I refuse to participate in something, my justification is, "Well, the Lord knows my heart."

The statement is not the issue, but it is the context in which I use it that is the problem. I use this statement many times to justify my excuse for not doing what I don't want to do. I use this statement to make me feel better about blowing off responsibilities that I don't want to have, or chose not to have. Excuses are nothing new. Moses gave God excuses because he felt ill-equipped to speak to God's people. (Exodus 3:11, 4:10)

In Luke chapter 9, two men approached Jesus and said they wanted to follow Him where ever He went. When Jesus instructed them to come right then, they had excuses, which proved to Jesus that the men were not serious about following Him after all. They wanted to follow Jesus on their terms. They wanted to follow Him when they wanted and how they wanted. But, the thing is, our lives are not our own. Each life, whether saved or not, belongs to the Heavenly Father. How is it that He allows us to deny Him what to do with His life that He gave us? Our God is awesome. He does not want to force Himself upon us, and He will not force Himself upon us. He wants us to do for Him simply because we love Him! And, not to mention all of the things that He has done for us!

I thought about it this way; what if it was time for me to wake up one morning, and God didn't wake me up. And, what if I asked God, "Lord, why didn't you wake me up today?" And, His reply was, "Oh...I forgot about you...I got so caught up on doing something else. Sorry. I guess I'll remember to wake you up tomorrow." However, that would be too late. I know it seems farfetched to think of God this way, but when I turn around some of the things that I do and think about what if God did the very same things; it allows me to see how serious my wrongs are. It also keeps in my mind that I can't do anything without my fully functioning, no-excuse God. God never gives me an excuse, but sadly, I find that I give Him more than a plenty!

I know that my commitment to Christ must be a total commitment. Christ does not desire any partial believers for followers. When one is totally committed, there is no room for excuses. No excuses mean that we will sacrifice at times. One day, we want to be rewarded with our crown, but that will not come without our own individual crosses. Talk about a sacrifice!

So, "does the Lord know my heart" all the while? Yes, He knows when I am making excuses and when I am being obedient to His word and direction. He knows when I was really held back or distracted and when I needed to be. He knows how to keep me in His will. And, He will never justify any excuse that I have. If it was in His will that I was not at a certain place at a certain time, or I was not prepared for something, or I didn't get something done by a deadline date, then it simply was not supposed to be. Then it is not an excuse, but God's plan.

God bless you tonight, as we travel on this journey to becoming all that God has for us to be!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Have you ever been sick and tired, of being sick and tired of an issue in your life? I think each of us has one thing that just won't go away. We try to solve it, pray it away, work though it, move past it, and even turn our back in hopes to ignore it; but when we turn back around, there it is, looking us right square in the face! How frustrating to have such an annoying issue that just won't go away.

Now, this is not a pity post whatsoever, so please don't interpret it that way. One of the purposes God has for this website is for me to just plain keep it real with you. Being a Christian is not an easy lifestyle to live when we reside in a world where so many people lack Christ and His love.

I have an issue in my life that I have dealt with since childhood. I felt that by now, it would just simply be resolved, but it is actually getting worse. When I go to all the places and talk to all the people that I am supposed to, to work towards figuring this thing out, I just feel like I am spinning around in directionless circles that are leading nowhere! In my frustration, I asked God when He was going to help me deal with this thing, and what I was supposed to do in the mean time. I began to wonder how long I was going to have to wait to at least feel like I was getting somewhere with this. His reply was....UNTIL!

The word until is an indefinite word, meaning that there is no set time for one to wrap their mind around; no countdown, no marking days off of the calendar...nothing. I just have to wait UNTIL! My until is not your until and your until is not someone else's until, but they are all God's untils!

Sometimes I forget just who it is that I belong to. Sometimes in the midst of the issue, I forget that my Father has all and knows all, and because of that I needn't worry about any thing. I also forget that it is He, and not me, who knows what's best for me! I forget that even with my issues, I am fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)

I began to think about 2 Corinthians chapter 12, the thorn in the flesh. Paul has an undisclosed issue. There are several conclusions that have been drawn as to what this issue that Paul had was, including malaria and epilepsy. What the issue was is not important, but what is vital to this passage is that the issue kept Paul from living a fulfilling daily life, which included his work. Paul was hindered by this issue. Paul prayed and asked God to remove this "thorn: (i.e., the issue) from his flesh, but God refused. Instead, God decided to use Paul for His glory, thorn and all. He knew what was best for Paul. The thorn kept him humble and dependent upon God. Think about most Biblical figures, God used the weak ones to work through! WOW! Hence, when we are weak, it is then that we are strong because God is working through us!

What uplift this scripture gave me tonight. I'm not throwing a pity party about my pain because what may look like a weakness to others and even to myself is strategically placed in me by God!

So, I, like Paul, have prayed that God removes my thorn. When God told me I had to wait UNTIL... He was ready to remove it; I have comfort through the pain because I know that God has His own special purpose for the hurt. And, if He never chooses to remove the thorn; if UNTIL never comes until He calls me to spend eternity with Him, I will continue to follow His instruction and guidance and praise Him just simply because He is exactly who He is!

God Bless You on Your Journey...... and just continue to wait.....UNTIL!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Love Letter to My Father

Dear Daddy,

I know that it hasn't been that long since we last spoke, but I really needed to write you this letter. I must confess that there is a slight tear in my spirit right now. I've had an issue that I've been trying to deal with without You, and I'm getting nowhere. I feel like I'm just spinning around in directionless circles. I turn it over to You now Father. I know that You have what it takes to handle it.

When I was on my way home today, I was thinking about You. I was thinking about the reasons that I love You so very much. There are so many, that I could not count them all, but I wanted to write this letter to You so I could let you know just how much I love You and why.

I love You because You love me.
I love You because of who You are, My Father.
I love You because when I can't see what's in front of and all around me, You are my eyes.
I love You because You created me; specially designed I am made.
I love You because when I see problems and troubles that others have that I don't have the power to solve, You listen to me cry out for them.
I love You because You trust me with the lives of Your creations.
I love You because You chose me, even before I was born.
I love You because when I have a problem that I can't solve, You step right in and take over.
I love You because You are my hero. You always save the day!
I love You because when I don't understand something and when I am perplexed by my burdens, You allow me to pass them on to You.
I love You because when I am lonely and out casted, without a friend in the world, You remind me that You befriended me many years ago and that You have been with me every since.
I love You because You are my peace.
I love You because you bless me and provide for me, even though I don't deserve any of it.
I love You because I can do absolutely, positively nothing without You.
I love You because Your grace and mercy shower me daily.
I love You because You speak to me.
I love You because You understand me when I am misunderstood by others.
I love You because You want me to spend eternity with You, and gave up your Son Jesus just so I could.
I love You because You can take a nothing and create something super special.
I love You because You are God!!!

There are many more reasons that I love you, Daddy. I want You to know that it is within You that I have strength, knowledge, confidence, and a growing Christian character. Thank you, Daddy for all that You have done for me. I try to repay You in every way possible. I know that I never could. I feel so special to be Your daughter. Please continue to love me and guide me as I toddle along this journey. And, when I fall, please continue to help me up. I just can't make it without You! I am looking forward to speaking with You again soon. Love you lots!

Your Daughter,


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Totally Exposed!!!

Psalm 32:5 (A Psalm of David) reads:

I have acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. ( KJV)

Lately, I have been pondering upon how to improve my prayer life. I shared with you all a couple of weeks ago that I am currently stretching towards growing closer to Christ. I recognize that one of the major ways to grow closer to Christ is to spend time in conversation with Him, i.e. prayer.

I began to think upon the average prayers that I hear people pray in church and the prayers that have flowed from my soul. In our prayers, we always ask God to teach us how to pray and what to pray for. (I think I prayed that more as a child.) But, let's face it; prayer can be difficult at times.

One product of being flesh is that we have so many emotions that can be heightened at any given time. There are times, although not often I hope, that we feel too angry, too sad, too frustrated, and even too disappointed to have a conversation with Christ. We have taught that we must be in a certain condition physically, emotionally, and spiritually to pray. And, don't get me wrong, God does not always want us to approach us like we are having a conversation with our neighbor, but sometimes you have to go there because that is all you know to say in the moment. Often I am driving in my car talking to God as if He is physically sitting in the passenger seat. I'm sure some people have thought I was literally crazy for talking to myself as they sat at the stoplight beside me.

Regardless of how you pray or when you pray, it is my prayer that you pray! Prayer is our connection to God. Prayer allows us to petition for our desires. Prayer is also what creates a clean spirit within us, but only if we ask for forgiveness, which brings me to tonight's post.

Many times prayers end with the following statement, "And, with forgiveness of all of my sins in Your Son's Jesus Name I pray, Amen." Often we end our prayers asking for forgiveness. I began to think about how I could strengthen my prayers, and beginning them asking for forgiveness came into my mind, along with praying a total prayer for forgiveness.

As flesh, we sin so much that at times, we don't even realize that we have sinned. A sin is a sin whether it is intentional or unintentional. We should be constantly asking for forgiveness for our sins. Praying for forgiveness is one of the essential components that keep us in the right standing with our Heavenly Father, yet it is the last petition in our prayer. God is so good, that He forgives us regardless of our hastily method of asking for forgiveness.

I want to pray total prayers of forgiveness. When we pray for forgiveness, we confess our sins and ask God to look beyond what we have done to disappoint Him. I think it is ironic how we pray and ask for material things or opportunities, but we don't confess the sins that we knowingly have committed within the last conversation with Him. It is as if we attempt to hide our terrible transgressions from and all knowing God! IT just can't be done! God is omnipresent and omnipotent. He is always with us, which means He knows not only our every action, but our every inner thought as well. (And, yes, every now and then we need to ask for forgiveness for those thoughts!) We can hide absolutely, positively, nothing from God!!! Why not confess and ask for forgiveness and restore our right place with God daily? I have realized that confession is good for the soul. This may be why we always need to "vent" to someone when we are frustrated. Instead of venting to a friend or loved one, confess to God how you really feel, and receive forgiveness for your confession as you ask God to help you in that issue. We shoudl totally exposed ourselves to God. After all, He is our Father, and He will NEVER leave or forsake us, no matter how filthy and unrighteous our confessions are!

Lord, I just want to thank you right now for showing me that I should put more emphasis on asking for Your forgiveness in my prayers. I realize that this is what keeps me close to You and demonstrates Your love, grace, and mercy towards me. I ask that You forgive me for making asking for forgiveness a simple part of my prayer when it should be a monumental part. I love you just because of who You are! Thank you again for your forgiveness today!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Positioned to Be Blessed!

Have you ever prayed for something, but it seemed like the more you prayed for it, the farther away you come to it? Maybe it was a new job, maybe it was a mate, or maybe it was a material necessity such as a car or home that you prayed for. Let's face it, we have all prayed and asked God to bless us with something, whether it is an object, a relationship with a certain person, or an opportunity. We pray and petition to God for His blessings because we recognize that He holds the power that determines whether or not we receive what we so deeply desire after. Sometimes we feel like when we pray for a specific need or want, (usually a want) and nothing happens that God is not listening or acting upon our desires. And, after not receiving what we think of as a sign that our blessing is on the way, we stop praying and can sometimes harden our heart toward God.

I began to think upon people who have shared with me that they are praying for a specific purpose. They have shared with me what they desired and why. They have also shared their frustration after the patience of waiting on God began to wear thin. They would ask the question "why" am I not getting what I desire. I am not God, so therefore could render no definite answer, but this question has been one that has been on my mind for the past couple of days. I asked God, why is it that some things that we pray for, we don't receive.

Now, remember, God is our Father. He knows what is best for us, and what it will take for us to become what He has ordained us to be.

I came to the realization that many times, we are not positioned to be blessed with what we have petitioned God for. For example, if you are not humble with the titles that you currently hold, God will not bless and entrust you to become the leader over more. If you are praying for a spouse, God will not bless you with one if you are not living righteously in your singleness. If you are praying for more finances, God will not bless you with more money if you are making poor financial decisions with your current income. God will not give us blessings to abuse! If He knows we can't handle it, or we are not ready for it, then we will not receive it.

On the other hand, people do receive things that do not come from God. A person can obtain all of the above without God because the devil blesses too! But, only what comes from God will last and prosper. I can obtain more money illegally, which will not last. I can marry the first person that I meet, and the marriage may not last. I can become a leader in an underhanded way, but my leadership will eventually crumble.
Many times we are not in a position to be blessed because we are not mature enough spiritually, our heart may still contain selfishness, or we are not even grateful for what we currently have.

The position that we should be in as a Christian is a position of worship. Our minds and hearts should be Christ focused. When we are focused on growing closer to our Lord, our assignment to build His kingdom, and strengthening our relationship with him, it is then that we are in a position to be blessed.

I can't help but to think of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus arrived at the home of sisters Mary and Martha. Martha was totally focused on making a good impression on Jesus. She was focused on what the house looked like, what the food was going to taste like, etc... Yet, her sister Mary was focused on Jesus. She got as low as she could (at His feet) in order to offer Him the highest form of service and worship. She washed His feet with her perfumed oil, which she could have sold for money since she was considered a poor woman, and her hair. What a position of worship and service she was in to be blessed. She was poor and could have taken this opportunity to ask Jesus for the things in life she felt deficit of, such as money, but yet, she chose to worship Him instead! (John 12 KJV)

Won't you get in position with me today? With Christmas around the corner, we often find ourselves praying for money or material things that we think will make us and those around us enjoy the holiday. However, I challenge you to focus on Christ. Get into a position of total praise and worship in your prayers! Jesus is the center of my joy! When we have Him, everything we need is supplied to us!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Take the Time...

There are not too many things in life today that are certain. Some people are driving cars that could be repossessed by the end of the day, or living in houses that could be foreclosed on by the end of the month, because they have been working a job that could close its doors by the end of the year. God has a way of showing that we MUST lean and depend on Him alone! In this world of uncertainty, two facts remain true. God is an awesome God! And, we must all depart from this earth one day. Heaven is my goal!

The holiday season always brings a sense of joy/sadness to families that have experienced the loss of a loved one. I turned on the news this evening, and two teenagers had been killed in a traffic accident today. Even though I don't know the families, I will be in sincere prayer for them. Anyone who knows my husband's testimony of how God has helped him cope with the death of loved ones, or has experienced it for themselves, knows that holidays can be a difficult time, especially if the death is connected to a significant date or holiday. Family traditions seem different without that person around. Things can seem as if something is missing.

Around the holidays, we always reminisce upon the lives of those that have gone to reap their eternal reward with God. We celebrate their life and love. I would be lying if I said that there was not a sense of sadness when we realize that things may be a little different for us, but the wonderful character about God is that He will not allow that sadness to linger long enough to spoil our day! Ain't God Good!!!

I know that we will not be alone this Thanksgiving when we miss a loved one who is no longer with us. This Thanksgiving marks the birthday of my husband's brother who passed away a few years ago with his daughter in an accident. Many family members followed, leaving us dumbfounded at times and left to struggle through life without them here.

With the passing of my husband's mother and grandmother in the past two years, our Thanksgiving traditions have had to adjust. We have created some of our own traditions. We view it as another year to celebrate the family that we do have with us. Life is too short to spend the holiday season stressed out over minute details such as how many pies to prepare. Thanksgiving is going to come, whether you eat Turkey or Ham, mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. Why not spend this Thanksgiving thanking God for the life of the person, or people in our case, that you are missing? Rejoice in confidence that you will see them again and that they are in a place of peace.

Even if you have not lost a loved one, focus on Christ and His goodness. Take this one day to allow your body to be stress free! Enjoy your family and friends. The day will come when we must depart from one another. Let's enjoy our loved ones while we are blessed with the chance to do so! And, even though the time seems so little, let's thank God for the eternal time we will have when we reunite!!!

I thank you for allowing me to pour out to you about this tonight. My intentions were not to sadden you. I feel more joy already by just releasing what God has given me to say. So many people are caught up in "stuff" that does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Thanksgiving is about giving praises to God for all of his goodness, enjoying family and friends, and making memories! Make some new memories this year. Have fun! Do something unexpected and out of the box! But most of all, enjoy each and every loved one that will surround you on this super special day! I pray that you are blessed with a joyful spirit and bountiful blessings this Thanksgiving Day!

Lord, thank You for another opportunity to give praises to Your name. Lord, I want to let you know how much we miss those that you have already called home. Help us to have joy in their absence and celebrate the time that we had with them. We want to enjoy our loved ones that will surround us on this special day. We thank You that You never leave us! Help us to take the time this holiday season to focus on what is important in our spiritual well being and not the physical one. Help us to focus on giving You praise and thanksgiving. Release any stress that may enter into our bodies, so that we can fellowship with our family and friends. We thank You that new memories will be made, as we have another opportunity to come together. We love you Lord, and we thank You today!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful for Forgiveness....

Thanksgiving brings a season of joy in the hearts of many Americans. People smile at this time of year that may not have smiled all year. People are cheerful and hearts are full of love. Everyone is excited about spending quality time with family and friends, since we are so busy multitasking each day of our lives that we have no time left to just enjoy the company of one another. And, this is the one time of the year that the majority of American citizens discuss what they are most thankful for. Many times, we list family, friends, and some may even list material things.

It is my hope that as God lends His ear to my prayers daily that He feels a heart full of thanksgiving. I constantly thank God for His blessings, miracles, grace, mercy, and love. But something came over me in my church service yesterday that has challenged me to thank God for something super special this thanksgiving. I am thanking God for His forgiveness.

Now, let me just say that I was conditioned to always thank God for everything. The problem with being conditioned to do something is that it becomes a habit. You begin to express acts without even thinking about it first. Danger can lie in being conditioned to pray or thank God because it removes the sincerity and authenticity from your prayer and praise of thanks. With that said, I have always thanked God for forgiveness, but I wonder how many of those times were conditional thanks?

Yesterday, as I sat in church, God led me to a place of forgiveness. There was a particular person in my church that I needed to forgive, and up until yesterday I thought that I had. This person had wronged me in such a way that I just could not come to a place of understanding or forgiveness. I even went through a period in my worship that as hard as I tried I was unable to praise God in His own house! I was not angry at God, but my anger towards this person was blocking me from being what God wanted to do in my life, and was a hindrance in my praise and prayer life. I had so many emotions, that I could not even feel when my spirit was attempting to rise and overtake my emotions. I asked my church for prayer, and they prayed for me.

At this point, I felt like I had released so much. I felt that I had let go of the anger. I could praise again! I learned on Sunday that releasing and emotion, such as anger, is not equivalent to forgiveness. Just because I was no longer angry at this person did not mean that I had fully forgiven them. This person made a choice on Sunday, and I had no choice but to forgive them for what they had done to me. You see, when you relinquish all of your control to God, He will do things with you that even you do not understand! I talked with this person and extended myself to them for a shoulder to lean on and a resource to call when things get tough. This person knew that I had fully forgiven them as well. As I embraced this person, it was almost as if I felt the issue leave my body completely. I felt God take over my heart and cleanse me of this unforgiveness that was hidden in the depths of my heart. How wonderful was this feeling!

Later on that day, in my conversation with God, I began to question why God had moved me in such a way. It was unexpected to me! I wondered why I had covered these feelings up for so long. I wondered if it was justifiable that I felt that this person had wronged me.

Searching the scriptures, I landed on 1 John 1:9 which states, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)

My thoughts began to focus on Christ's forgiveness that he so graciously pours upon me. Despite my unworthiness and messiness, despite my excuses that I have given for my disobedience, despite my hard heart toward my brothers and sisters in Christ, despite my ungratefulness, despite my nasty attitude, despite my negativity, despite my_____ (I could probably go on and on....), God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross just for the FORGIVENESS of my sins! And, I have the nerve to justify why I am unable to forgive someone else. WOW!

Today I am thanking God for forgiveness authentically and sincerely, and not conditionally, because when I look back at all the times that I have wronged God, yet He still forgave me, it makes the mountainous task of forgiving someone else a more simple task, even if they have wronged me once, twice, or numerous times. The number of times that someone has wronged us is irrelevant because the number of times that we have wronged God is infinite, meaning it cannot be counted by us. I know I would be ashamed and embarrassed if I even knew the number.

Forgiveness is not an easy feat. The same way that we are forgiven daily (if we ask daily), we should be open to allowing God to help us forgive others daily. I even thought about the possibility that we have all wronged people unintentionally, and they forgave us. Who are we not to do the same? Some of the situations in which people we have hurt others the most, we may never know of. This is only one of numerous reasons that we should ask for God's forgiveness daily. The beautiful part about this cycle of forgiveness is that God will always forgive us if we only ask! What a wonderful quality of God to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day to come!

Father, I thank You now for Your wonderful, forgiving, spirit. Lord, I realize that if it were not for Your forgiveness, I would be low and desolate. I love You Lord. I ask that You help me continually release my spirit of judgment, and that You manifest Your sweet spirit of forgiveness in my heart. Lord, You have been so wonderful to me. I thank you for those that have forgiven me when I have wronged them. Please continue to mold me into what You will have me to be. Thank You Lord and I love You with every inch of my heart today!

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Unexpected Destination

Have you ever ended up in a place and you can't figure out how you got there? Sometimes we end up around people that we didn't intentionally plan on being around. We end up in places that we don't intentionally plan on being.

I am attending the Sister-to-Sister conference, and last night was out opening service. Bishop Joseph Walker preached on a Biblical figure that I had never encountered in my own studies. His name is Mephibosheth. (2 Samuel Chapter 9)

The interesting fact about Mephiosheth is that he resided in a place called Lodebar. Lodebar was a place of rejection and isolation. Bishop Walker pointed out that Mephibosheth lived in Lodebar because he was dropped as a baby, causing him to become immobile, or lame. Lodebar was the place where the lame resided. In a few more versus of reading, Lodebar ends up at the King's table, a place where obviously, he and anyone else thought he would never be. I'm sure that his presence at the table was socially unacceptable because there he was, a nothing at the table with the highest figure of authority, the king.

On our journey to our destiny, God has a tracking device. He already knows where we are coming from and to which place we are going. I like to call this God's positioning system. If we follow God's directions, He will direct us to the places and position us around the people that we must encounter in order to reach His destination for us. We must be faithful. It was Mephibosheth's faithfulness to God that led him to his destiny. It was also the fact that everyone else had counted him out. This left room for God to pour his favor all over him. This favor put things in Mephibosheth's future that others around him could not see.

Sometimes we can't even see where we are headed or for what purpose. We must be faithful and obedient unto God. It is in our faithfulness and obedience that God can order our every step. Bishop Walker stated that we often judge people on their right now, and not their not yet. But remember, God's delay is not a denial!

What do you need to come out of today? Ask God to show you where it is He is headed and what you must do in order to get there. Then, be patient and let God work. He may not come when we want Him, but He is always right on time!

Lord, I thank you right now that you are my awesome creator. I thank you for loving me when others didn't. I thank you that when others judged me on my right now, you had a not yet waiting in my shower of blessings. Lord, I ask that you help me to be faithful and obedient unto your direction and your word. Position me, O Lord, where I need to be and around who I need to be in order for your will to be done in my life. I love you Lord today, and I praise your Holy Name. Forgive me for any time I have not been obedient unto your will and your way. Please continue to keep me, hold me, and cover me. Thank you for your miracles and blessings that you have manifested and will manifest in my life. I love you Lord today!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Need More Of You

One of my favorite meditation songs is actually a beautiful promise being made to God sung by Shekinah Glory Ministries. The song's lyrical simplicity and the repetition of it allows for one to ponder upon the simple statements made to God.

"I need more of You. I need more of You. Whatever I need to do to get to you, I'll do!"

On an infinite number of occasions, I have bellowed these simple statements out to God through song, sobbed it in a prayer, or simply said it to Him as if He was physically sitting in the passenger seat of my vehicle. Knowing that I was messed up, even though I had God, I realized that I needed more of Him. What this statement actually means to me is that I need to be closer to Him.

I have reached a point in my Christianity that I desire to reach the next level with God. I desire to be so close to God that nothing else matters. I desire to be so close to God that my spirit will not wrestle with my flesh. I desire to be so close to God that I never again want to leave a church service feeling unfulfilled because I wasn't able to praise and worship on my own, and needed the congregation to pep me up to praise My God. I want more out of my Christian experience. I want to be with My Father, His Son (My Savior), and have my heart filled with The Holy Spirit! I want more! I want an authentic relationship!

All Christians reach a point in their lives that they must assess their current relationship status with God. I used three levels of status to assess my relationship with God.  I asked myself, "Are you on associate status, friend status, or are you literally in love with God?" (Yes, there are some in-between)

Note: The following is from my viewpoint only.
Christians on associate status simply associate with God. Think about what you would consider as an associate. Those that we associate with are those that we talk to every now and then. We may carry on a conversation if there is something that we can think of to talk about. We see each other occasionally, and that is about it. There is really no quality time spent with an associate.

Christians that are in friend status with God are those that know that God has been good to them. They may even tell someone every now and then. These Christians are those that work in the church, are dependable when it comes to doing the work of the Lord. These Christians read their Bibles and pray they way they were taught to do. These Christians recognize that without God they would be nothing and thank Him for His love.

Then, there is the higher status, a lover of Christ. This is where I desire to be. These Christians may do some or all things listed on the friend status, but they are not simply satisfied by this alone. Their fulfillment comes from seeking the face of God. These Christians meditate study, search, repent, and pray fervently. These Christians are literally in love with Christ because they realize that they are not worthy of God's love or Christ's blood, but recognizes that He supplies it to them in spite of their unworthiness. These Christians take their life on this earth with the seriousness that God intended. These Christians live a totally purpose driven life because they recognize the connection between their relationship, their purpose, and the reward of eternal life.

When I look upon each relationship status, I can vividly recognize my growth from associate status to friend status. I can even see some growth from friend status to lover status. I didn't know what it would take to get closer to God, but all I knew was that I wanted to! What lie ahead of me was simply unexpected.

I didn't expect the turmoil, the frustration, the darkness, the loneliness, or the sadness that would come my way. (At least these are some adjectives I would use to describe the things I was going through then.) You see, when we desire to be closer to God, we must endure a process. We get closer to Christ when we endure trials and tests. If everything in our lives were always perfect, and every time was a happy time, there would be no room for us to grow closer to God. When we go through a test or trial, we are put into a position where God is all we have to lean and depend upon. Why do you think your friends are never able to talk when you have a problem? God wants you to talk to Him! We spend more time with Him. We take off the things we put on to try and hide our true selves from Him. We pour out to Him, and He comforts us. When God is all you have, you have no other choice but to grow closer to Him!

I heard a preacher say once that we should not focus on what someone else has or is, because we don't know what they had to go through to get that something, or be that someone. This reminds me of Job. Job was an upright and righteous man. However, there came a time in Job's life where he had to grow closer to God. Job endured many tests, including losing his health, children, and wealth. God's purpose in this was to make Job closer to Him, and to prove to Satan that Job was indeed a faithful servant. Because Job was a lover of God, he became closer to God in this process and even received twice as much as he thought he lost. Isn't God amazing!!!

As I think about the power of positive thoughts, and the fact that my tests and trials make me closer to Christ, I rejoice. I rejoice because with each moment of my life, I have the opportunity to draw closer to God. I rejoice because when God knows that closeness is what I desire, He knows exactly what it will take to get me there. I rejoice because He is with me through the process. And, I rejoice because it is through Him that I have the strength and joy to keep pushing to the next level!

Thank You Lord! Thank You Lord! Thank You Lord!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Power of a Positive Thought!!!

A teacher places a picture of a glass of milk in front of a student and asks the famous question; "Is this glass half empty, or half full?" From the student's response, the teacher would label the student as either an optimist, or a person who possessed a positive attitude; or a pessimist, a person who possessed a negative attitude. The idea behind this popular personality test was that if a person said that the cup was half full, they were most likely to think positive thoughts. These people always searched for the good in any person or situation. On the contrary, if the person's response was that the cup was half empty; they were most likely to think more negatively and would make decisions based solely on what they could see before them. They did little to no searching for anything else besides what was concrete before them. A good motto for this group would be "It is what it is." While there was no right or wrong answer to this test, conclusions were made based upon a person's answer. It was thought that optimists were more likely to be successful because they would strive beyond what they could see in "reality". Optimists were thought to take more risks. Optimists were also thought to get the most out of their life. Since they focus on the positive aspects of living, they were also thought to have less emotional and mental frustrations.

One day last week, I was lost in my frustration. It seemed like every direction that I turned, something lie ahead of me to battle. I saw little positive, and began to wonder why I couldn't just focus on the positive aspects of my life. I began to wonder why I expelled so much energy into thinking about the negativity that had decided to pay me a visit. Then I thought back to this test. My answer was that the cup was half empty!

Wow! I knew I could be a negative force at times, but I did not realize how much the negativity was impacting my life. ALL of my thoughts had been negative all week long! Even though I prayed each day, spent my quiet time with God, and even spent time in meditation, the negative thoughts remained. I no longer had control of my thoughts! Negativity, which is not of God but of the enemy, had intruded upon my thought processes. Each time I attempted to think of something positive, the negativity would creep back to the surface and show its ugly face again. I knew I needed to pray about this dangerous disease because in my opinion, when a Christian can think of nothing positive, that is a sign of joylessness. I refused to allow these thoughts to kill my joy! God has been too good for me to allow a few obstacles to steal my joy! I began to pray, and God directed me to His word, the source for all answers. If you need direction, it's in His word!

I found myself in the book of Philippians, where Paul is writing a thank-you letter to the Philippi believers. Paul reminds this group of people, who oddly could support Paul in his time of need but are at odds with one another now, that joy can be attained only through Jesus Christ. Paul uses Jesus' life on earth as an example of the distresses that can arise in life. He also reminds them of how Christ handled these distresses, and that they should use His life as a model on how to handle the distresses that may come. One verse of my reading on that day echoed loudly in my thoughts as I began to tackle the negativity that had my mind paralyzed. With this verse, I rebuked negativity in the name of Jesus!
Paul challenges the Philippians to take control of their minds in Chapter 4, verse 8.

Phil.4:8 states, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.(KJV)

None of the things that Paul lists in this verse are negative things. It is in the word of God that we should think positively. Some would say that the power of life and death lies in your tongue. You have to think something before you speak it. I think that the power of life and death also lies in your thoughts! If you think negative, the result will be negative. If you think positive, searching for good in what seems bad, you find Jesus in all your situations molding and shaping you! I have decided to refuse to let situations, circumstances, people, or a diagnosis take control of my thoughts. When someone or something controls your thoughts, they also control you!

Think about this:
Your thoughts control your actions.
Your actions control your results.
Your results control your motivation.
Your motivation leads to your destiny!

Will you choose to travel on the positive path to your destiny, or to the negative destination of nowhere?
God gives us a choice!
Why not come and travel with me today?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Faith Without Works???

One restless afternoon, I sat on my sofa with the television remote grasped in my hands. As I flipped through the channels filled with re-runs of reality shows, I paused for a few minutes on one of the most popular reality shows to date, Fear Factor.

On the show Fear Factor, a group of people, who I personally thought had lost their natural minds, would eat things that were not fitting to eat and accomplish tasks that were death defying. I literally thought these people were crazy! Apparently other people did also, as the show's rating reached into the upper millions, and the world tuned in to watch each new episode, and some re-runs also, to see what adventures would await the new risk takers. The best part of the show, however, was to see if they could accomplish all that was set before them to make it to the end. If they did, a great lump of prize money awaited them. What a reward!

As I watched the show on this particular day, I noticed the faith in these people. They kept pressing through each stage of the game, harder and harder. None of these tasks were particularly comfortable or pleasing. You could hear them hyping themselves up mentally, as they prepared to accomplish the next phase of the game. Most constantly reminded themselves of the great prize that would await them if they could make it just one more step. Then they would begin to work through that phase, excited when it was over, and ready to conquer the next one that lie ahead. They had faith in themselves, and followed through by working towards their goal.

I began to think about the tenacity of these people. The strength that they exhibited to obtain something that was only going to bring them short term joy amazed me. Then I began to think about my faith as a Christian. I wondered if I had the faith plus the works to reach the goals that my Father had set before me. Many times, we have the vision, or the knowledge of what God wants us to do, we just don't follow through to work for it. We want God to lay it all in our laps and give it to us. We want Him to make us someone, but we don't put in the work it takes to make the changes to become that person.

The book of James speaks in depth about the many aspects of faith. The Bible tells me that God is not pleased if I do not have faith in Him. That shows that I do not believe in Him and all the power that He holds. But what if I have faith, but I don't actively seek out and work towards what God has placed within me?

James 2:14-17 states, What doth it profit my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Having faith alone is not enough to accomplish our goals and dreams. My mind wonders to Joseph and his dream from last night's post. What if, when Joseph was sold into slavery, he just simply gave up? What if he did not work hard and press through this difficult time? What if the contestants on Fear Factor wanted the money so badly, but did not accomplish the tasks that lie ahead of them in order to reach the reward? Neither would have reached the end result! Joseph, like the contestants on Fear Factor kept their eyes ahead to the end result, while also working towards what they wanted.

Think about it this way; you want a new job. You are praying for a new job, and believe in all your heart that God is going to bless you with a new job. You are getting discouraged because you have not even had an interview in the past six months. You are wondering if God is really going to give you the job that you have been praying in faith for. The only problem is....you haven't filled out any applications! Sounds silly, doesn't it? Now, think about our faith in our Christian walk.

We think; Lord, I know you have blessed me with a certain talent, but I feel like I am not receiving the opportunities to utilize it. You must ask yourself; does anyone know that I am spiritually talented in a certain area? Do those around you know that you are talented, or do you sit and wait for God to reveal it to them? Do you put work into your gift and passion?

There is a popular gospel song in which the lyrics echo,
"All I have to do is take one step, and He will do the rest, the rest, the rest."

Yes, my friend, God has placed passions within you, and has a purpose and a plan for your life. Also know, that He expects you to put in the work required to reach and sustain your purpose. Faith without works is dead!!! Let us work harder toward our high calling in Christ. Ministers and deacons are not the only Christians with a calling. God is calling you too! We all have a purpose in the business of Kingdom building! Whether your job is viewed by others as large or small; leader over many, just a few, or none at all, God has something for all of us to do! Let us exercise our faith and work toward our destiny too!

Lord, I come to You right now, thanking You for Your word. Thank You Lord for revealing to us that faith without works is dead. Faith is nothing without utilizing the skills that you have placed within us to help reach our Kingdom purpose. Help us to keep our eyes on You, for spending eternity with You is our ultimate reward. Thank You Father for continuing to reveal to us how we can continue to grow in Your word. As we exercise our faith by working for You, please continue to order our steps each day. Show us the path that You will have us to take, and continue to prepare us for the day we reach Your Kingdom. Forgive us God for times in which we have had faith with no works. Forgive us for expecting you to lay everything that we should be working towards in our laps. We realize that You have placed within us exactly what we need to become what You desire us to be. Thank You Lord!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Dream Like Joseph's

Like many of us, Joseph's testimony begins when he was just a young boy. Joseph was the youngest son of Jacob, who had eleven sons total. Not only was Joseph the youngest, but he was also his father's favorite son. Jacob showed his favor towards Joseph by presenting him with gifts. The most famous of these is Joseph's amazing technicolor coat. This coat made Joseph unique amongst everyone else, as clothing in this day was mostly solid in color. Many people who know of Joseph's story mostly remember Joseph for this coat. It is my thought that it was not the coat at all that made Joseph special, yet it was his dreams and the source of them.

As a young lad, Joseph dreamed dreams in which he was a leader over his brothers. Joseph knew that these dreams were from God, but he did not know what God was speaking to him. Again, like many of us, Joseph shared his dream with his brothers. You see, Joseph's brothers already despised him because of the favor he had with their father, so this dream that Joseph had in which they were bowing down to him did not settle well with them at all. Joseph's own brothers being to plot and plan on how they would destroy him. They planned on killing him, but one brother objected. After stripping Joseph of his special garment, they tossed him into a deep pit. They decided to take the precious gift of the technicolor coat soaked in blood to their father. The clever sons convinced Jacob that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. Jacob was heartbroken! Meanwhile, Joseph was sold into slavery for twenty measly pieces of silver.

Can you imagine God has shown you that you are going to be a ruler over many; God has shown you that your own family that hates you now is going to bow down to you; but somehow, you have become a slave? Your dream now seems impossible! The picture appears that what you know God has shown you will not come to pass. (At least that is how we think.) Joseph did not lose his faith in God. He was confident and solidified in what God had shown him in his dreams. It was this confidence and faith that made Joseph work as hard as he could as a slave. Joseph slaved day in and day out to please his master, Potiphar. With every day, Joseph remembered the dream that God had shown him years before.

Many events occurred between Joseph's dream and the fruition of it. Joseph was lied on and thrown into prison while a slave. It was in this difficult situation that God begin to make Joseph's sprout of a dream blossom into reality. Joseph told a man in prison what his dream meant, and after the man’s release it did come to pass. Soon, the word about Joseph's gift spread. Pharaoh called for Joseph to be fetched from prison, because he had a dream that troubled him and he was unable to make sense of it. God used Joseph, a slave, to warn Pharaoh about a famine that was going to hit the land for seven years. Pharaoh then used Joseph to store food for the famine. When Pharaoh saw that Joseph's interpretation of his dream was correct, he made Joseph his right hand man and ruler over the land of Egypt. It was in the famine when Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt to ask for food. They stood before Joseph, oblivious of the fact that he was their own brother. Joseph tested them to see if their hearts had changed. When he discovered that it had, he revealed himself to them. They bowed in disbelief that this ruler of the land was indeed their brother whom they had sold and sent away many years ago.

Joseph’s life story is one of complexity. There were many twists and turns on Joseph's road to his destiny of becoming the ruler that God had shown him as a young lad. Many of us would have gotten lost in the twists and turns, thinking that God had forsaken us, or lied to us. We, unlike Joseph, forget that God has a path for each of us to travel that leads to the place where He wants us to be.

I love Joseph's testimony! I admire Joseph's tenacity and determination. I admire that fact that Joseph believed the intangible visions that God had shown him in his dreams, instead of the concrete situations that lay in his physical eyesight. Joseph understood his destiny, and accepted the path that he had to take in order to reach it. And, even in his trials, Joseph kept his focus on what he knew his end result would be.

I want to strive to be more like Joseph! I want to keep my focus on what I know the end result will be for this life God has blessed me with. When test and trials come before me, I want to not allow them to become so enormous that I allow them to overshadow my God and His plan for my life. I want to keep my thoughts focused on what God has shown me and what God says, rather than allow my thoughts to flow into negative status and distract me from what God is preparing me for.

When our thoughts become negative because of our situations, we begin to second guess what God has called us to do and we fall from the faith that keeps us working towards our purpose. Our thoughts go from:

With God, I can do all things....to.....I don't have the skills needed to do.....

I know what God wants me to do with my life...to...What in the world was God thinking when He created me?

I am blessed....to.... Why does it feel like everyone else is getting blessed but me?

God has given me the talent of____and I will use it for Him....to....I wish I could_____ like him/her?

What is your dream? Is it a dream like Joseph's? Is it a dream that God has shown you and placed the passion within you? Sometimes God's dreams can be intimidating, because we don't see ourselves the way He does. We often feel that we are ill equipped to accomplish what He has set out for us to do. And, when we experience rough trails on the road to our destiny, we take those rocky roads not as a sign that God is preparing us for what lies ahead, but as a personal attack that confirms our hidden thoughts that we are and never will be good enough for the high calling that God has on our life.

We must dare to dream like Joseph! It was not Joseph's dream that was even important, but it was Joseph's commitment and faith to becoming what God had declared him to be that is the essential component of his testimony. I want to be committed like Joseph, even when the road seems like it’s taking me somewhere that God hasn't shown me just yet!

Lord, I thank you this moment for showing your will for my life to me. I confess now that this journey is rough, and sometimes I find myself looking for you and I often forget that you are traveling right with me. I lose sight of the final destination and the process I must endure to reach it. Lord, please give me strength to wait on you. Give me strength to stay in your will, even when I feel like I am not getting where I should be fast enough. Lord, I thank you for giving me Joseph's testimony of dedication and determination. I realize that it is You that I should work to please and not other people. Lord, I thank you for your grace and mercy that you shower over me when I am disobedient to Your instructions and Your word. And, when I chose to take my own path and not the one You chose for me to travel, I thank you for getting me right back on track. Father, I love you, and I worship and praise Your name!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Speak the Word!!!

Have you ever had a day that seemed like you were wearing a gigantic memo on your forehead or your back that read:

To All that Come in Contact with Me Today:

If you would, please do your very best to work my nerves today. I really want you to take all of your anger and frustrations out on me, even though I have absolutely nothing to do with the reason behind your anger and frustrations. Please give a smart or sarcastic remark when I ask you a simple question. Please roll your eyes and blow your breath as hard as you can to communicate to me that you find me irritating, even though I just walked into the room and have not been near you for five minutes. Please shoot down my every idea and let me know just how "not into it" that you really are. Please, just let me know how you really feel. Please treat me as mean as you possibly can and expect me to know why you are treating me that way. Oh, and I would really appreciate it if you would hate on me in any way possible! Please push my every button, and disrespect me, yet, still expect me to treat you respectfully.

In last night's post, I wrote about how some things happen just because. Sometimes you feel that there is no constant in your life. Sometimes you feel that no matter how much effort you put forth, there will always be negative situations and circumstances in your life. Some days, you will feel like everything is working against you, nothing is going as you expected, and everyone around is working to tear you down from top to bottom. I also mentioned in last night's post that there is a constant in our life, and that is God and the fact that He loves us.

You see, when we chose to live for God, we actually did put a target on our backs. (And, just because someone was baptized and goes to church every Sunday does not mean that they are living their life for God. I've learned that "church folks" can hurt you worse than those who don't know who God is.) The target that I speak of tonight is the fact that Christians are a peculiar and set apart people. The Bible refers to Christians that live for God as "the salt of the earth." (Matt. 5:13, Mark 9:50) We stand out in today's society.

We must become aware of how we react when it feels like we are having a "bad day," and be sure that we are reacting in a way that will show that Christ resides within us. When a Christian messes up, the first comment is, "Hummm....And she calls herself a Christian." Some people just press for ways to make us mess up, so they can get joy out of our slip up.

At the Sister to Sister conference last year, I was definitely convicted when Dr. Tara Jenkins talked about how we bless our food and curse our neighbor with the same mouth. Yes, people and situations are going to get on our nerves because we have a flesh side, but we have a weapon to fight against the wedges that try to squeeze their way between us and God. That weapon is the word!

Speak the word when you feel that you are being tried. Most of the scriptures that we speak to keep us strong and to acknowledge to God that we are being tried and we know He has our back, are scriptures that were spoken by someone from the Biblical era that was going through something. There is power in the word of God; Power to keep you sane, Power to keep you from cursing someone out, Power to help you remove yourself from a situation, Power to help you look beyond someone else's flaws and be respectful towards them even if they don't show respect towards you, and Power to display the God in you. Speak the word and use it as a weapon against negativity and as a tool of strength.

The next time you feel that someone is working against you, and are trying to tear you down, speak Is. 55:17 or Ps. 27:1-4.

The next time you feel that you aren't talented enough, speak Phil. 4:13
The next time you feel afraid, speak Is. 12:2.
The next time you feel that all the bad stuff is happening to you, speak Romans 8:28
The next time you feel tired, speak 2 Cor. 12:9
And, to remind us of whose we are, speak Ps. 23

Lord, I come now thanking You for Your word. Lord, I know that situations, circumstances, and people in this life my frustrate and discourage me. Thank You for sending Your word for me to speak in those times. Lord I ask that You continue to make me aware of how I react to difficult situations and people. Bring Your word to my remembrance in those times, Father, so that I may speak it! I know there is power in Your word. Lord, I ask your forgiveness for times when I chose to allow my flesh to take over my reactions to difficult people and situations. Lord, I thank You for being a forgiving God, and want you to know that I love you today!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just Because.....

Wow! Choosing to live for God can be so tough sometimes! Living without Him is even worse! The simple fact of the matter is that life is difficult! I know people who seem to always do what they are supposed to do, and they still seem to always get the short end of the stick.

Just because you are kind to others doesn't mean that others will be kind to you.
Just because you love someone doesn't mean that they love you.
Just because you speak nicely and respectful towards someone, doesn't mean they won't curse at you.
Just because someone is smiling doesn't mean they have true joy.
Just because you want something and pray about it, doesn't mean you will receive it.
Just because you grew up in a single parent home doesn't mean you aren't destined for greatness.
Just because you look different, doesn't mean that you are not beautiful.
Just because a parent teaches a child right from wrong, doesn't mean the child will always make good choices.
Just because you have a professional, high paying, job doesn't mean you won't ever be broke.
Just because you have a college degree, doesn't make you a wise person.
Just because you are a loyal friend doesn't mean your friends will be there when you need them the most.
Just because you go to church, doesn't mean that you have a close relationship with God.
Just because you love your spouse with all your heart, doesn't mean they won't break it.
Just because someone says they are going to pray for you, doesn't mean they really will.
Just because people smile at you, doesn't mean they are your friend.
Just because someone is talented, doesn't mean they are gifted or anointed.
Just because you eat well and exercise, doesn't mean you will be healthy.
Just because you don't understand someone, doesn't mean you get to judge them.
Just because you pray for someone to be healed, doesn't mean they are going to.
Just because you work hard, doesn't mean you will ever be recognized.
Just because you share good ideas, doesn't mean you will get the credit for them.
Just because you are always chosen to do something, doesn't mean you are more gifted that those who are never chosen.
Just because you share a dream with someone, doesn't mean they will support you.
Just because you give, doesn't mean you ever will receive.

You see, being a Christian doesn't mean we won't experience pain, hurt, loneliness, depression, rejection, failure, fear, intimidation, and (add your nouns and adjectives here) from others. What it does mean is....

Just because God covers you, you are safe.
Just because God is your Father, He will provide all of your needs.
Just because God has all power, your storms don't last always.
Just because God is all knowing, He already knows how you feel before you tell Him.
Just because God created you, you can do all things through the strength Christ.
Just because God anoints you, you can exercise your spiritual gifts for His glory.
Just because God loves you, you can love the person He created you to be.

And best of all....

Just because God loves you, He sent His only Son to die for you so you can spend eternity with Him!

Some things in life constantly change, such as people, places, situations, circumstances, and even you! Thank God that even though things change, He remains the same!

Lord I want to thank You for this day. Lord I realize that with each new day that comes, I have new challenges to face. I thank You Lord that even though things change, You remain the same. You said You would put no more on me than I can bear. Thank you for being the only constant factor in my life. Thank You for the opportunity to live for You and the opportunity spend eternity in Your kingdom. Lord, I love simply because of who You are.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharing God's Greatness-Your Testimony

I love hearing what God has done in the lives of others. Today, I want each person that visits this page to share a simple testimony. It does not have to be long. It does not have to be specific. God has been good to us all. Let us share in His greatness and glory. You never know how sharing your testimony may touch the heart and life of someone else. Just share what is on your heart. If you are hurting or worried about a certain situation, you may share that too. Write a prayer to God like I do at the end of each post. I want to see what God is doing in the lives of The Journey to Destiny readers. Even though I may not know who each of you are, what your situation or circumstance is, or where you are, I want you to know that I pray for you every day! I pray that God blesses you in abundance. I pray that God holds and sustains you. I pray that if you don't know who Jesus Christ is that you find out. I just simply pray for you as a reader, that you gain something from God by your site visit each day. We are fighting in this battle together, and we never know who may be going though something with us. The lovely thing is that you can post anonymously. If you want to include your name, you can. Just know that names don't matter, but it is what God has done for you that does. You are free to post as many times as you would like, or give an encouraging word to someone else's post. Whatever you do, please participate. I am being obedient to the spirit of God. I had actually planned to write tonight. But, I recognize that this site is not about what I want, but it is about God's will and what He wants. If He moves you to, please share. You just might help someone else make it through their storm! Be blessed and share in His spirit.
Thank You!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Praise is What I Do!

Praise is the act of exalting our Lord. Praise can be a noun, but God loves when his children treat it as a verb. Praise is what we do! There is so much power in our praise. Our Father loves when we genuinely praise His holy name. Genuine praise produces blessings and a closer relationship with our Father.

There is one thing about praise that many Christians confuse, and that is when to praise God.

Many Christians praise God only in good circumstances. We only tend to thank God when situations and circumstances are favorable for us. We praise God more when we are happy. We praise God more when we feel well physically and mentally. We praise God more when we have money, friends, and even sometimes other people praising us. However, when situations and circumstances seem to not be working in our favor, this is the opportune time to praise God!

You see, our Father is mysterious. We know not His ways, and our brains are not even capable of operating on His level. God is unpredictable. You never know what He is going to do with and in your life, or the lives of those around you. God is bossed by no one! He does what He wants to do when He wants to do it, and there is no force that can control His decisions and actions. How powerful He is! God will test us to see if we really have the faith that He desires in His children. He will take what we see as a good situation and turn it around. He will take all of our money just to see if we will still praise Him. He will remove loved ones from our lives just to see if we will still praise Him. He will remove our prized possessions just to see if we will still praise Him.

God must take us through a process to prepare us for our purpose, and for the day He will greet us at His pearly gates. He is the potter and we are the clay. He will shape us into what He wants us to be, and frankly, sometimes being pressed and stretched doesn't feel so good. God must know that we live totally and completely for Him and that we totally and completely trust in Him.

Despite the feelings that we have when things go wrong in our lives, we should praise Him simply because we know that He is working all things out in our favor. Many Christians have quoted, "What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good." I'm sure David would be a witness to this. You can find his praise throughout many books of Psalm when he felt endangered because his enemies were seeking to destroy him.

Remember Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. (KJV)

This includes the uncomfortable situations and circumstances that are the molding phases of our spiritual lives. There is absolutely nothing we can do about these tough times on our journey, but praise God that He sustains us to endure the process. Praise God today for your molding and stretching into the saint that He requires you to be! A songwriter once wrote, "No Cross, No Crown"!!!

Lord, I want to thank you right now just for being who You are. I may not always understand everything that appears to be negative in my life, but I know that You are my sustainer and my strength. I know that what looks bad to me, You see differently. You know what I need to endure in order to meet You someday, so Lord I ask that You continue to guide me and be my strength even when times are rough and uncomfortable in my life. Lord I praise You because that is what You created me to do. I want to give glory and honor to Your name even when I feel like I can't see the end to a bad situation or circumstance. Help me to trust You and praise You even when my life doesn't feel like it is worth living. Lord, forgive me for times when I did not trust You and praise You in the midst of troublesome times. Thank You for molding and stretching me as a potter would his clay. I love you Lord, and I want to praise Your name continuously, just because You are the only one worthy of my praise!