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

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!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Agape Love

Love... What do you instantly think of when that word echoes in your mind? Do you think of all of the people that have shown you love in your life, or all of the people who you felt should have, but didn't? Some people live their entire life feeling that no one loves or cares about them. How sad is it to live your entire life and leave this earth not knowing what true love feels like.

I have been learning a lot about love, and the degrees of love. I get amused at my son when he approaches me to tell me how much he loves me. He always puts a limit on it. As he rises one of his small hands up, he will tell me each day, "Mommy, I love you five." Sometimes I'll get a ten if I've done something super special for him that day. I'm so glad I know that his love for me goes past five! In his growing mind, loving someone five is a lot. He thinks that loving me five is all the love that he has to give at that moment.

I'm sure you chucked a bit at my son giving me his love, but all too often, we are just like him. We place limits on our love. We only love someone when they are performing outstanding tasks that place them in the admiration of others. We only love someone when they are doing something for us. We only love someone when we feel close to them. We only love someone when they love us. We only love someone when we want to. We decide who we want to love and why we want to love them. For the people that we don't love, we blame them. Someone doesn't love their father because he chose not to be involved in their childhood. Someone doesn't love their child because he or she grew up to do everything they were taught not to do. Someone doesn't love you just simply because of who you are and what your complex personality entails. And, you don't love someone because they don't love you! What a miserable, endless cycle of lovelessness!

Let's face it, as much as we would love for everyone to love us; they aren't! And, the only thing you can do is to show love towards them, regardless of their actions towards you. Yes, what a difficult task! And, no, I can't say that I practice loving everyone at all times. And yes, some people make it difficult for you to love them! Guess what, sometimes we may make it difficult for God to love us, but He still does. God shows us agape love. Agape love is love that lasts. Agape love is a love that says I love you no matter what! I love you when you don't love me! I love you when you treat me rotten! I love you when no one else does! I love you when you are giving me all of you, and even when you aren't giving me any of you! I love you through test, trials, and storms! I love you when you don't even love yourself! I love you when you are truly unlovable! And, not only do I love you, but I continuously show you that I love you!

Isn't it awesome that God loves us no matter what? I don't know about you, but I have mistreated many of His children, have broken His commandments, have been disobedient, have been disrespectful, have had a rebellious spirit, have abused and mistreated some of the blessings I have received from Him, have tried to steal His glory at times, and a few other sins also. And, not only have I done these things once, but numerous times in my lifetime. I know this because He loves me so much, that He shows me my wrongs towards Him so that I can confess them and be washed white as snow by Jesus' blood. There are no words for the gratefulness that flows through my heart that God loves me so.

We must think about how much we show God that we love Him. Do we agape love our heavenly Father? Do we bless Him, or curse Him in the midst of our storms? Are we obedient unto His word daily? No, we will not reach perfection here, but we are a work in progress and should be showing a little improvement each day. The Bible provides proof of God's immeasurable degree of love towards us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting live. (KJV)

God loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus to live a rough life full of hard work and torment only to die on the cross after much mistreatment. Do you love anyone so much that you would give up the life of your child? God's love for us cannot be matched by any human being! I want every reader to know today, that God loves you. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Let's thank God today for His agape love!

Father, I want to thank You for your agape love this moment. I thank you for loving me so much, that you sent Your only Son to die for my sins so I can spend eternity with You. I thank You for loving the real me and not the LaVetta that everyone sees. Thank You God for loving me when I was unlovable. Please forgive me for times when my actions did not show love towards You, and thank You for loving me despite my actions. Forgive me for times when I did not love others, for I know that it is Your command that we must not only love one another, but also show love towards one another. Help me to love all of Your children. Thank You for those that love me, and those that do not. Teach us all to love one another. Help me to not look for reasons to love someone or make excuses for reasons why I don't love them. Lord teach me to agape love.