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

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?