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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Getting Rid of "Extra" Baggage

I am tired. As a matter of fact, I'm sick and tired of being tired! The tiredness that I speak of is not that of a physical nature, but that of a spiritual one. I'm tired of these blue days that come and go in my life. I'm tired of negativity surrounding me. I'm tired of wrestling with God when He tells me to do something. I'm tired of feeling like I'm not equipped to do what He called me to do. I'm tired of people, people, and more people. Yes, I know, that was a bold statement! Let me explain to you why I am tired of wagging and dragging all of this extra baggage on the journey to my destiny.

Within our lifetime, we come into contact with millions of people. Some people are here to stay, while others come and go like nature's seasons. The Bible speaks of seasons also.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

When the clutter is cleared from our lives, we can clearly hear from God. We know what it is that God has instructed us to do, yet we wrestle with Him. We wrestle with Him because, as I stated yesterday, we want to be acceptable in society. We have forgotten one detail in our quest to social acceptance; that is we are a chosen people. It is a privilege to be chosen by God to do His works and His will for our lives. We are not worthy of the talents, gifts, and abilities that He has placed within us, yet, when He instructs us to do something, we are disobedient because of people. There have been times in my life when I have walked around joyless, putting on a masquerade for all of those around me to believe that everything was fine. I was really broke down inside because I knew what God wanted me to do, but I felt like I was unequipped to do it. I felt that people would not accept it. Sometimes, I even felt like I was crazy because here I was, this regular little person, and God was telling me to do these monumental things.

I think about Mary, Jesus' mother, who was in the lowest of the low social class in her time. Look at what God did with lowly Mary. He used her to birth His son. And, think about what Mary did. She obeyed! What if Mary disobeyed because of her fear of what people would say, or how people would treat her? My God, where would we be? God even sent someone to travel the pregnancy journey with Mary. Wow! What a God I serve!

I don't know what your destiny is, or the journey you must travel to reach the destination. I don't know what God is instructing you to do, or when He wants you to step out, be bold for Him, and do it. But, I can assure you of one thing. If you drag along negativity, feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and even some people with you on your journey, you may never reach your destination. All of these things are extra baggage that is simply weighing us down from getting us to where God wants us to be! It does not mean that you don't love that person or befriend them any longer. It simply means they will not be joining you on your journey to your destiny. The road is rough enough to travel without having all this extra baggage. I dare to say that even when we are on the tough stretches of our journey, we should still have joy in it and know that God is preparing us for the next stop. Remember, flowers can't grow without rain. Everything on this journey will not be easy or feel good. Getting rid of the extra baggage may be one of those things.

I have slowly come to realize that when I am obedient unto God, I have joy unspeakable! I know what God has called me to do. We sometimes think that God only calls certain people, like preachers, or choir directors; but God has a calling for each of us. This is what He has created us to do! This is our purpose for Him breathing life within us. If you are unsure of your calling or purpose, pray. Ask God why He created you. If you are willing to listen and have a little patience, He will make it plain before your eyes. You will begin to see the worth and value of your life and the talents, gifts, and abilities that God blessed you with to give back to Him. Just remember, everyone who is around you can't be with you. God may have something different for them to do. You have to be bold! God will let you know what it is He wants you to do, and when and where He wants you to do it. Sometimes, I wonder how many people have died without fulfilling their life's purpose because they were concerned about others traveling their journey to destiny with them. How many people never accomplished the things in life that they could have because they were not focused on God's purpose for their life, or they may have never even bothered to ask?

Life is too short to spend it unfulfilled. I feel that after all that God has done for me; I owe Him my talents, gifts, and abilities. He gave them to me to give back to Him, and that's just what I am going to do.

Lord, I thank you for choosing a sinner like me to help build your kingdom and help your people stay motivated each day. I love You and ask You to forgive me that I have wrestled with You for so long, putting what people would think about me over Your instructions and purpose for my life. I need thee, Lord! I realize that this journey will not always be smooth, but I thank You that You are traveling with me. Bless all those that are seeking their purpose for their lives, and I pray that they are obedient unto you. Thank You God for allowing me with opportunities to walk in my gift, and I hope that it is acceptable in Your sight! Thank You, Lord! Thank You! Thank You!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Straightening Priorities

Earlier today, I began to ponder upon all of the upcoming events that required my attention and presence. My mind began to become filled with clutter as I thought about all the places I am to be and at what times. I began to think of how I could get from this function to that one and still be able to have enough energy to do something that actually relaxes me, like read a chapter in a good book, or watch a good movie. In the process of me planning out everything that was to come, I neglected to include my quiet time with God. How sad!

I don't know about you, but I have been really focused on cleaning my "spiritual closet" this week. I am noticing now that after a few pieces of the clutter left, I began to see things more clearly with my spiritual eyes. My ears, eyes, and heart have been open and anxious to hear from God. Remember when I said that we don't always like the response we get from God; well, I can be a testimony to that this week. I do realize however, that the things I don't want to hear and see are the very things that make me grow spiritually. Some of the clutter that was in my "spiritual closet" was due to me not having my priorities straight.

As Christians, we do lots of "stuff". We want to help others, we want to be on committees, and we want to make it to church as much as possible. But, why are we doing these things? Why are we ripping and running all over town? Why are we tired, worn out, and stressed? Why are we always the one to volunteer for a program or committee? (Or someone volunteers us, and we just don't want to say no.) What are our motives?

Last night, Pastor S.T. Radford preached a sermon on letting some people go in your life. He presented a very tough question; "Who are you trying to please?" We all want to be acceptable in society, so we find ourselves doing things that we really don't want to do simply because we want the approval of others. Pastor Radford even suggested that we ask ourselves why we are around those people in the first place? Is it what we can do for them or what they can do for us? Or, are we truly connected, which means we love one another come what may. These were some tough questions for me to ask myself. I answered them, and it all came down to prioritizing my life.

I had to think, how many times, I do "extra" stuff in my day that takes time away from my quiet time with God. I really enjoy writing because it makes me dedicated to Bible study. (That may be why God placed the thirst for it in my soul ; ) So many days, I have been focused on people and what people wanted me to do. When I finally got a little quiet moment, I was so bogged down, tired, stressed, and even worn out that I fell asleep, or made excuses for not spending time with God. This is bondage! No one can move when they are in bondage, and we know that we should be moving closer to Christ daily! My God, please forgive me!

Now, please don't take what I am writing to mean that we should not participate in activities and such, but if that is taking precedence over our quiet time with God, there may be too much on our plate. If you do everything else during the day, and you are too tired to read your Bible, pray, or meditate upon His goodness, it is time to straighten your priorities. If you take a little time to read Mark chapters one, two, and three, you will find that Jesus' life was just as busy as ours. Half of Jesus' 33 years on the earth was spent focused on His ministry. People demanded things of him, and he had pressures also. He still found quiet time to spend with His Father.

God provides us with the strength that we need in order to complete the tasks on our daily to do lists. He chose our to do lists before we were born. However, you know how we are; we came along and created our own to do list. I need to straighten my priorities and ask God what His to do list is for me each and every day. I know that His number one is; just spend some time with Me.

So God, today I say that I love you. Forgive me for giving you my leftover time. Thank you for allowing me to see clearly that I need to prioritize my life, and put my quiet time with you first on the to do list. Lord, help me to make my to do list, Your to do list for my life each and every day. Thank you for the strength you give. Lord, I long to rest in your presence. Please continue to keep me and sustain me so that I may live for You. I realize that without you, I am nothing!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Are We ALL That We SEEM to Be?

Let's begin today's motivational minute by thinking about our past for just one small moment. Some of us have events, people, and just stuff in our past that has shaped our attitudes and behaviors in our life today. Yesterday, we began the cleansing process. Part of this process is looking into the past. God cannot cleanse our hearts and renew our spirits if we are not willing to reflect upon why we have so much "junk" in our spiritual closets in the first place. While asking God to help you get rid of the "junk" that is taking up His space, ask yourself why is it there in the first place, and where did it come from. What is the root of the sinful emotion? (And, if none of this is making sense to you, please read yesterday's post.)

Why am I angry?
Why am I joyless?
Why am I jealous?
Why do I not love myself?
Why do I despise him/her?
Why do I manipulate others?
Why am I so unforgiving of others?
When did I become so mean and hateful towards others?
Why are all of my thoughts negative, or centered around negativity?
Your questions go here.........................................................................

I was left with a tough question from revival last night. Am I all that I seem to be? Rev. Michael Radford preached a sermon using the parable of the Prodigal Son that is found in Luke chapter 15. He focused not on the Prodigal Son, but on the elder brother who was doing everything he thought he should be doing to get and stay close to God. However, in a closer look at his life, it was discovered that the elder son was actually attempting to please other people, and not God. His attitudes and behaviors toward his brother, the Prodigal Son, showed that he really had no idea of the qualities that God desires His children to display. The elder son was angry, jealous, and hurt because his brother had left home, made poor choices, and when he returned, he was accepted with open arms and his return was celebrated. The elder son was upset because he claimed that he had tried to live his life perfectly, yet no one celebrated for him. He thought that all the things he had done were worthy of praise unto him. Everything the elder son was doing was in vain. It meant nothing because he focused on getting glory for himself and not for God. This situation was the root of the elder son's sinful emotions that were cluttering his "spiritual closet".

When I look back and reflect upon my life, I am not what I seem to be! We all have to pray and ask God to show us what it is that He sees when He looks at us. Does he see envy? Does he see a person full of pride? Does he see a liar? Does he see a thief? Does he see a cheater? Does God really see what we think He sees? And, Are we doing the things that God really wants us to do?

Even though we are striving to become more like Christ each and every day, we all fall short. We must praise God that we are not what we used to be. God has already delivered us from some of our sinful natures. I thank God that I don't harbor hate in my heart anymore. But when hate left, what replaced it in my "spiritual closet"? We must make sure that we are replacing old attitudes and behaviors with new Christ-like attitudes and behaviors. We can't do this alone; we need God to help us. And, even though we may have come so far, we may not be what we think we are because we have soooooo much more growing and learning ahead of us. One of my favorite meditation songs, I Worship You, comes to mind by gospel artists MaryMary:

"I was lost, but You came and found me."
"I was empty, but You came and filled me."
"I was blinded, but You helped me to see."
"I was broken, but You made me whole again"
"I felt like nothing, but You gave me confidence."
"You took everything I was, made me what I am, and with all I am, I worship You."

We would not even be everything that we think we are if it wasn't for our Lord and Savior. He is the potter and we are His clay. He has molded and shaped us into the people that we are today, but we are still not a finished product. We need God in EVERYTHING that we do. I need God to teach daily, I need God to write these motivational minutes daily, I even need God to accomplish simple daily tasks. I also recognize that I am not deserving of anything that God had done and is already doing for me. The talents, gifts, and abilities that God has placed within us are for His glory and not our own. Many people have shared with me that they have been blessed by this site. For that I say, to God be the glory!

So Lord, I'm not all that I seem to be. I'm not all that I should be; but I praise You because I'm not what I used to be, and thank You because You're not through working on me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cleaning Out the Clutter

Looking out of the window, one notices the many changes the earth must go through to prepare for the next season. Autumn is approaching, and yards tend to get a little messy as trees begin to shed their leaves. Certain animals are busy stocking up the last of supplies they will need to survive the winter. It seems that autumn is a busy time for one of God's greatest creations, the earth. Autumn is also a busy time for Christians, as many are attending Fall Revival services.

My goal today was to get up and clean out the clutter in my home. As the winter wardrobe is brought to the front of my closet, there are pieces of the wardrobe that may be too big, too small, too outdated, too uncomfortable, or just no longer needed or wanted, that is taking up valuable space needed for the new pieces that may appear this winter. (Everyone knows that I love to shop!) If I did not make this needed room, new items that would appear would have no place in my closet and might possibly be ruined by the mismanagement and misuse of them. They would be wasted!

Last night at our fall revival, Rev. Tae Edwards preached a whole sermon on tears, which I absolutely loved because I'm a big crybaby anyway! One of his thoughts was that tears were created to clean out the dirt and grit from our eyes that is blocking our eyesight. From a spiritual standpoint, he talked about the emotional tears that we shed. He stated that the emotional tears we shed are cleaning out "junk" that is blocking the visions that God has for us to see. You see, when God shows us things, they are connected to our purpose in some way. However, if we can't see and hear what God wants from us, our purpose may get a little blurry and we become unfulfilled in our lives. Then Rev. Tae Edwards dared us to cry and wash away things that had been building up within us. Things that we know no one else will understand, even our closest friends and loved ones. He dared us to weep because, even Jesus wept. Of course, I cried! ; )

As I awoke to begin cleaning out the material clutter in my home, I realized that last night, I cleaned out some spiritual clutter; some "junk" that was blocking me from being God's servant and God's servant only. Most of this "junk" was built up in my heart, which today I am thinking of as my "spiritual closet". Think of how many emotions we build up in our hearts: feelings of hurt, resentment, hatred, jealousy, envy, dissatisfaction with life, and even rage. Sometimes I pray this very scripture:

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (KJV)
(By the way, praying scriptures is a great way to pray when what you can't find the words to speak to your Heavenly Father!)

 In Psalm 51, David cried out to God after the prophet Nathan had come to him because of David's encounter with Bathsheba. David's heart was full of lust, temptation, and finally guilt for acting upon these sinful natures. David knew that God was the only one that could cleanse his heart.

There is valuable room being wasted in our hearts because things that have built up in it may be too old, too outdated, too big for us to deal with alone, and even too small to matter in our lives. Let some stuff go! Create room for more qualities of Christ that you can use daily such as love, mercy upon others, compassion, understanding, and humbleness. Colossians chapter 3 instructs us to take off old things, and put on the new. Read this in your spare time today. God may show you what you need to clean out and take off in order to put on new things. When our hearts are renewed, so is our spirit. We feel better, and we treat others better. The best part about cleaning out the clutter is that through the process, we become closer to our Lord.

Autumn is a time to clean out the clutter and get ready for new things. Yesterday I said "YES"! After the "YES" came the beginning of my cleansing process. It may take a day, it may take a month, or even a year to let some stuff go, but I know that it is possible because I have Christ. Thank you Lord for the blood that washes us white as snow!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are You Prepared to Say Yes?

It is soooo awesome how God works! Last night at revival, Rev. Knight preached about being spiritually prepared for situations and people that we encounter in our lives. Today, as I drove down the highway, I listened to the song "Yes" by Shekinah Glory Ministries. The soloist belted out the following lyrics, "Will your heart and soul say yes? Will your spirit say yes? If I told you what I really need, from thee, would your heart and soul say yes?" The conversation from God to His children continued to state, "There is more that I require of thee. Will your heart and soul say yes?" Tears began to fill my eyes and trickle gently down my face. The question exploded in my mind, "Am I prepared to say "YES"?

As we pray, we constantly ask God for things. We ask Him to move in our lives, to enlarge our territory, to show us what we should do about a problem or situation; but are we prepared to follow His instructions? Are we prepared for God's response? What happens when what God says is not what we want to hear? Will we say yes, or pretend like we never asked and continue to look for some miraculous sign?

A friend shared on Sunday that she was blessed by a song that was sung at her church that focused on the fact that while we are asking, God has ALREADY worked it out for us. Saying "YES" to God is a sign of faith!

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

God knows what is to come, but we don't. Are we prepared to relinquish what little control we think we have over our lives, and allow God to have HIS WAY? Are we ready to allow God to fulfill his divine purpose for our lives?

God, when I realize that all you have done for me was not deserving, I MUST say YES! I am forever yours! As mean, hateful, ungrateful, deceiving, hurtful, and filthy that I have been and you loved me anyways, I MUST say YES! You loved me when I was lonely, an outcast, ugly, sad, downtrodden, and sooooo alone! Saying YES to you is a miniscule sacrifice. God I love you today simply because you love me like NO ONE else can! So today God I say YES!
Remember: A day is to come when no man can work. What does God want you to say "YES" to today?


Monday, October 12, 2009

A Small Welcome ; )

I just want to take a few minutes to welcome you to my blog. Those in my inner circle know that I have been working on a book for some time now. I am still working on it, but this avanue will allow me to share with you daily. I desire your prayers on these projects. Everything is designed to be positive and motivational in nature. Some things may convict you as well, as I will be sharing some of my convictions. It is my prayer that God uses this to speak to you. Take notes on bible scriptures and study them for more insight, and feel free to ask questions and leave comments. NEGATIVITY is not welcome. Please be courteous and respectful when posting comments. If you have a private question, feel free to e-mail me. Also, patience is a must. I do not have a definite time that I will be posting, as I do have a family and a career. I like to write in "quiet moments," and with a toddler and a preschooler, those are rare around my house. Also, please feel free to share your knowledge with me. I am in no way a Bible expert. I just want to share my testimony and daily life.