Thursday, December 29, 2011

There's Hope

For the past couple of weeks, I've been revisiting some of my old blog posts and articles.  Here's another one from the archives, originally published in my EEW Magazine column in January 2011. I pray it's a blessing to someone.

While many have embraced the fresh start a new year brings, there are many who are yet hurting. Although some were able to let go of the pain of their past as the clock struck midnight, there are those who are still held hostage by guilt and shame. 

I was once a prisoner of my pain, guilt, and shame. Year after year, instead of finding my way of escape, I fell deeper and deeper into the bondage of my hurt. 

It shackled me. It crippled me. It consumed me.

 I was a hurting woman, and I believed that was all I’d ever be. From the pain of molestation, to the guilt of sexual immorality, and the shame of using alcohol as a coping mechanism, I turned inward, and was well on my way to self-destruction. There was a part of me that wanted to be free from the past, but that part of me was buried so far beneath all of my deeply rooted pain that I could not hear its faint plea for help.

 I wanted to be whole, but I only knew how to hurt. So I subconsciously chose to stick with what had become familiar to me. Oftentimes, we allow ourselves to get stuck in one area in our lives simply because we grow accustomed to being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Though scripture tells us to be content in whatever state we are in, it does not instruct us to ever become complacent. Complacency is a handicap.

 Just because you’ve experienced hardship for the majority of your life, does not mean you’re supposed to stay there for the remainder of your life. God only has you where you currently are for a reason and a season. 

There are so many hurting women, bound by the remnants of the past and plagued by the pain of the present, who feel that all they’ll ever know is hurt. This week, I simply want to offer hope for hurting women.

 Whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’re going through – whether it’s rape, divorce, abandonment, sexual immorality, molestation, abortion, substance abuse, past criminal history – whatever the case may be, you are more than your hurt. You no longer have to be held prisoner to the guilt of your past. Neither do you have to succumb to the lies of the enemy that says you will never be more than a woman filled with shame and pain. 

God wants to turn your pain into purpose. He wants to reveal the beautiful jewel on the inside of you, and help you to realize your priceless value to the Kingdom. You are the daughter of a King; that alone makes you royalty. He desires for you to open your eyes to embrace the undeniable beauty you possess in Him.

It is not God’s pleasure to see His children suffer; that is not His plan for you. He’s only allowed you to experience the things you’ve encountered to prepare you for the ministry He will birth out of your pain.

You will not hurt forever. You can have a fresh start and move forward from your place of pain. Your new beginning does not lie in the date on the calendar, but it lies in the Man that holds your life in the palm of His hand. Your past is over in Christ; accept your freedom so that you may fulfill God’s divine purpose for your life. You are no longer bound; your chains have been broken. It’s time to fly. Christ has come to give you hope.

 I want to leave you with one of my favorite scriptures:

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

**NOTE: This is a repost of my very first article published in EEW Magazine back in September 2010.

“Good riddance,” I thought to myself as 2009 officially came to an end. I was too happy to step over into a new year, because 2009 had proven to be one of the most trying years of my life. Facing one situation after another, depression, despair and distress had become all too familiar to me. But, I told myself that 2010 was going to be better…things were going to change.

A few months into the year I realized something – nothing had gotten better. In fact, things were worse. How could this be? I’m praying; I’m in church every Sunday; I’m praising and quoting scriptures, so why isn’t God changing the situations in my life? Why am I sinking deeper into depression, and continuing to feel defeated?

One day, smack dab in the midst of one of my lowest valleys, I had an Aha! moment – Your situations haven’t changed because your mind hasn’t changed. There I was, expecting victory when my mind was still wrapped around defeat. I had to realize that change first began in my mind. Before anything else, the paradigm of my thinking needed to shift. It was then that I adopted the motto Change your mind, change your life.

Through continuous prayer, fasting and meditating on God’s word, God began to destroy the yoke of bondage in my mind. Although it wasn’t easy, it was in the changing of my mind that the spirit of depression and defeat were lifted and I learned how to deal with the trials in my life, instead of allowing them to deal with me. Though not every wrong situation in my life has been made right, because my mind has changed, my life is changing for the better and it’s absolutely amazing.

Change begins in your mind. The thoughts you think determine your attitude. Your attitude determines your actions. Your actions determine your outcome. The adversary wants nothing more than to entangle your mind with thoughts of defeat, hopelessness and despair, in hopes of causing you to give up on life. I encourage you to tell the devil he’s a liar and seek God for a mental makeover. Ask Him to rid your mind of every debilitating thought that keeps you from moving forward, and help you to take on the mind of Christ.

 As your mind begins to change, so will the situations in your life. Your thoughts will change; your attitude will change; your actions will change; your outcome will change. Think victoriously!

~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You Deserve A Better Life...Yes, YOU!

About a week ago, I was lending an ear to a young lady going through the process of transitioning from brokenness to wholeness. On this particular day, she was having a hard time believing that she deserved to be made whole, and was ready to throw in the towel. “I want to give up” she said, “why is it so easy for me to believe for others, but so hard for me to believe for myself?”

She sounded just like me about a year ago. Ready to call it quits because I could not find the courage to believe that I deserved to be made whole and have an abundant, joyful life in Christ. Now I could freely encourage and believe for my fellow sisters, but when it came to me, not so much. But why not? Why couldn’t I have that same enthusiasm for myself?

I did not realize it then, but I now know that I simply could not get over myself. I could not see past my issues and struggles. I refused to look beyond my faults. I convinced myself that I could never be more than a woman filled with guilt and shame, and did not deserve redemption.

The adversary did not need to use anyone else to work against me because I had become my own worst enemy, fighting against myself. Whenever I would gain a small ounce of belief, I’d instantly diminish it with self-demeaning thoughts. I’d think to myself “Who are you kidding? You’ll never be more than what you are right now.” And to be perfectly honest, that’s exactly what I believed in my heart.

Because I could not see beyond what I was at that moment, I always felt less than. Because I felt that way, I always settled for less. I figured I didn’t deserve anything better than what was at the bottom of the barrel. Meaningless relationships, dead-end jobs…I mean I was lucky just to get leftovers, right? Absolutely not!

It took me a lot of praying, counseling, and finding myself through God’s word to realize that this was not the mentality God wanted me to have. Just as I did for others, He wanted me to believe that I, too, deserved to have a better life.

He wants the same for you.

No one knows your issues better than you. No one knows your secret struggles better than you. No one knows the depth of your pain better than you. So who better can the enemy use to fight against you? Yep, you guessed it – You. Today I encourage you to decide that no more will you allow the enemy to use you as his puppet.

Instead, allow God to erase the former things from the forefront of your mind, so that you can believe Him for the new thing He desires to do in you. (See Isaiah 43:18-19) 

No one can believe for you. It’s one of those things we all have to learn to do for ourselves. Know this – Because of the grace and mercy of our God, and the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses every blemish in our lives, we are deemed faultless in the eyes of Christ. See yourself through the eyes of Christ, and know that despite your past and present state, you are deserving of love, life, and liberty.

Here’s a simple prayer: Lord, help thou my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

**Originally published 2/2011 in my column in EEW Magazine.**

Monday, December 19, 2011

Unforgiveness Is Poison

  **I'm revisiting some things I've written over the years. This was originally published in my column in EEW Magazine in October 2010.

Have you ever disliked something so strongly that the mere mention of it made you cringe?  I have.  Only it wasn’t something, it was someone.  Truthfully, I hated this person.  For years, she had been blatantly disrespectful and condescending towards me.  Instead of nipping things in the bud in the beginning stages, I harbored feelings of hurt and allowed them to turn to bitterness; my bitterness led to unforgiveness; unforgiveness formed hatred.

My hatred towards her had gotten so bad that I sometimes found myself having evil thoughts about her.  I felt that she had insulted and infuriated me far too many times without showing a fraction of remorse; therefore, she did not deserve my forgiveness. As a Christian I knew this was wrong, (I studied all of the scriptures concerning unforgiveness.) but I couldn’t seem to get over my feelings.  I could not open my heart and forgive her.

I’ll spare you all the details, but I will share this – She had no clue about my feelings towards her, so at the end of the day, I was the one who suffered.  She didn’t feel the pain of my hatred towards her, I did.  I suffered spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  I was the one losing sleep, stressing, going to the altar every Sunday, and feeling disconnected from God because of my inability to forgive.  At this point, it was no longer about her; I had to look inward.

I had to decide whether I was going to continue to allow my flesh to rule my heart, or tap into the God within me and love her with the love of Christ.  Needless to say, I chose the latter; however, it wasn’t easy.  My heart was willing, but my mind put up a fight.  It took A LOT of touching and agreeing to break that unforgiving spirit that had festered in my heart.  I didn’t forgive her for her sake, but for my own.  I needed to be free.  And trust me, there is such freedom in forgiveness.

Perhaps you’ve been deeply hurt by someone, and you’re finding it quite challenging to offer forgiveness.  If you think about, it’s pointless to hold a grudge, because the only person it really affects is you.  There’s a quote I like: Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to die.  Think about that for a minute.

Unforgiveness makes you bitter and angry, and prohibits you from sharing the genuine love of Christ.  There are three things you can do for someone who wrongs you, that will free your heart and mind: forgive them; pray for them; love them.  Besides, how can we expect God to forgive us, if we can't forgive others?  No, it’s not always easy to do, but it’s definitely the righteous thing to do. 

Unforgiveness holds you hostage, and keeps you from moving forward.  Forgiveness breaks those chains and sets you free. Choose today to no longer allow unforgiveness to rest in your heart.  Let’s pray:

Lord, forgive me for not operating in the spirit of forgiveness as your word commands.  I ask that you would help me release the offender, and the offense, that caused me pain, and cleanse my heart and mind so that I may show the same love and forgiveness towards them that you have shown towards me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*RECOMMENDED SCRIPTURE READINGS: Matthew 5:44; Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 18:21-22, Mark 11:25-26

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coping Through Rough Seasons

This was originally published in my column in EEW Magazine.  I wrote it earlier in the year, and thought it may still serve as a blessing to someone today.

In life, each of us will be confronted with difficult seasons. It’s inevitable. One thing we all must do is deal with those trying times in our lives in some way or another. The way we handle tribulation has the power to determine how bearable, or seemingly unbearable, that season may be.

I haven’t always been successful at coping with the stress of hard times. In fact, I found that my choice of coping mechanisms actually made me feel worse than the things I was facing at the time. Instead of going with the flow of the currents of my tough seasons, I often acted on impulse, panicked, and did things that caused me to drown in my sorrow. When I should have been using prayer and praise as ways to cope with stress, throughout the years I either turned to pornography, sex, or alcohol. Though they offered a temporary relief to my flesh, because I knew these things were wrong, my spirit became wounded; thus causing the problems I was already facing even harder to bear. In fact, I really wasn’t dealing with my tough times, but only suppressing and pacifying my feelings with sinful lusts of the flesh. At a time when I should have been drawing nigh to God, my inability to man up and deal with what the Lord was allowing to happen in my life, ultimately as a means to grow and mature me, I became caught up in my feelings and allowed my sins to separate me from Him.

I eventually came to realize that my way of coping was totally wrong, and caused more harm than good. I knew that I HAD to learn a better way. It took some time, but through my Fool-Proof Combination: Prayer, Fasting, and Studying God’s word, I learned that God wanted to give me beauty for my ashes, the oil of joy for my mourning, and the garment of praise for my spirit of heaviness.
(Isaiah 61:3) He taught me how to adopt prayer, praise, and worship as the perfect way of getting through the difficult seasons in my life. I am a witness that it works!

There’s no doubt that He will bring us out of the tough times we face, no matter the level of pain and difficulty. Although God will see us through, that does not negate the fact that we must learn how to go through His way. The way of escape is already mapped out; however, we must be in tune with God in order to allow His Holy Spirit to lead us to that place of deliverance. This can be accomplished by praying, praising, and worshipping the Lord, even in the midst of your fiercest storm.

I know sometimes it can be difficult to praise when your whole world seems to be falling apart. And I know that sometimes the pain can be so intense that all you want is a quick relief. But instead of turning to things that have no lasting power, I dare you to tap into the One that has all power. Praise invites God into your situation, and anytime God is present things are guaranteed to change. Consider Paul and Silas when they had been unjustly arrested, bound in chains, and thrown in jail.
(Acts16:23-26) What did they do? They prayed, and sang praises to God. They invited God into their situation, and He showed up. He caused every chain to be loosed, and they were made free. How much more does God want to do the same thing for you?

There is no better formula for coping with the trials of life than that of prayer, praise and worship. When you go into your secret place and commune with God, He will come and sit smack dab in the middle of your raging sea and command peace. Try it, you’ll see!

~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, December 15, 2011

God's Word Encourages

I want to share with you a passage of scripture that dropped in my spirit today.  As I opened my Bible, and read its words, I knew the Lord led me there.  It greatly ministered to my heart, and met me exactly where I was.  I love when the Lord does that.

If you've found yourself under attack by the enemy working through those around you, I believe this will encourage you.

Psalm 27:1-6 NIV

"The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD."

Praise God for His Holy Word!

~May you live in His love.~

Enjoy my song of the day posted below:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Encouragement In The Wait

Waiting can be one of the hardest things to do when you more than want what you're anticipating, but you need it like yesterday.  Whether healing in your body, financial increase, restoration in marriage, a job...whatever the case may be, I'm sure there's a particular area in each of our lives where we are waiting on God to move.  But doesn't it sometimes seem like God is taking forever?  Don't you sometimes feel like maybe God forgot about what He said He was going to do for you?

I've certainly been there; quite recently, to be honest.  There are some things I've had before the Lord, and some things He's promised to do in my life, for quite some time now.  It's seems as if I've been waiting, anticipating, expecting, and praising in advance for a LONG time.  At least it appears that way to me.  I mean, how much advance praise do I need to give before the Lord makes good on His word?! Don't act like you've never felt that way. *giving you the side eye* LOL!

Just this week I noticed the enemy trying to come in and plant the seed of doubt in my mind, so I quickly went to my Father for reassurance.  I had a little talk with God, and it went a little something like this:

Lord, have you forgotten about me? He answers, "Never. I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

Well, have you changed your mind about what you said you'd do? He answers, "I am not human, that I should lie, not a human being, that I should change my mind. I do not speak and then not act. I do not promise and not fulfill." (Numbers 23:19)

But Lord, haven't I been waiting forever? He answers, "If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time." (Habakkuk 2:3)

Can I be honest, Lord?  Sometimes I feel tired in the wait, and it seems like my righteous living is going unnoticed.  He answers, "Don't become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)

Why do you keep telling me to wait? He answers, "Because they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

OK, OK, I'll wait...but can you give me an idea of when things are going to manifest?  He answers, "To everything there is a season..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

I left that conversation with the Lord with my faith and strength renewed.  He ministered to my heart, and assured me that my waiting is not in vain.  I am all the more encouraged to hold on to my faith and my promise from the Lord, trusting that things will manifest in His perfect timing. I am furthermore persuaded to continue believing that although He may not come when I want Him to, He is right on time...not accordidng to my watch, but His.  And in the meantime, I am confident that He will never fail to meet every need in my life...and yours.

If you're in a waiting place, be encouraged.  Stay with God, hold on to your faith, believe in the promise, and remain in expectation.  Though it may tarry, wait for it; it will surely come.  The Lord always keeps His word.

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalm 27:14)

~May you live in His love.~

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Be Free

I am free
Praise the Lord, I'm free
No longer bound
No more chains holding me
My soul is resting
It's just a blessing
Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, I'm free

As I was mopping my kitchen floor this morning, that song dropped in my spirit.  I began singing it over and over and over, and before I knew it tears were streaming down my face, my mop was on the floor...and so was I.  I had gotten lost in worship.

Over the past few weeks, the enemy has been trying his darndest to attack my mind.  He's sent all kinds of opposition my way, and I admit, for a minute it had me very anxious in my thoughts.  I gave in to the negativity and found myself feeling down in my spirit, moping around my house, and just not really feeling it.  I had allowed the enemy to come in, and hold my peace and joy hostage. 

My mind used to be the devil's playing field.  He'd get in there and play all kinds of games, and have me some kind of messed up.  And even though the Lord has freed me from the bondage in my mind, that doesn't stop the enemy from trying to sneak in and attack me, especially now that my life is surrendered to Christ, and I'm committed to carrying out His call on my life for the upbuilding of the Kingdom.  This time, his little sneak attack got to me.

It happens to the best of us.

Before I went to bed last night, I spent some quiet time with the Lord.  Although I couldn't quite find the words to say, as I stilled myself in His presence I could feel Him wrapping His loving arms around me, letting me know He heard every unspoken word flowing from my heart. He reminded me that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)  And at that moment I felt free...Free in my spirit, and free in my mind. Because I was resting in the spirit of the Lord, the enemy had no choice but to take his hands off of me.

Praise God for renewed freedom!

I know what it's like to be bound in so many areas of life, and since I have experienced freedom in Christ, I never want to return to that place.  There are so many people who are bound in their mind, in addictions, in pain, in sin, or in relationships, who want to be free.  If that happens to be you, I'm here to tell you that there is freedom in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  You don't have to be bound.  Just like the spirit of the Lord broke the chains of Paul and Silas and freed them from the bondage of prison (Acts 16:19-40), so can you be set free from the chains that hold you down.  And as John 8:36 declares, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

No matter how heavy the chains, the Lord can destroy every stronghold that hinders you from walking in the abundant life Jesus has come to give us. (John 10:10)  Once you tap into the spirit of the Lord, and allow it to work in your life, you'll be worshipping God just as I was this morning, singing "Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, I'm free."

Enjoy this song entitled "Be Free" by Kierra Sheard, and be free!

~May you live in His love.~

Friday, December 2, 2011

Smile :-)

I wanted to talk to you via video blog today, but after the week I've had, I literally look like I've been through the storm and the rain!  Not cute.  So the video blog will have to wait until next week; I've got to get myself together!

Moving along...

Last night I received a phone call from a really sweet lady.  Her name is Sharon.  She called to tell me how, although I'm a little more than a decade older than she is, I am an inspiration to her.  That made my heart melt.  And then she told me something that made me blush.  She told me that she loves my smile, and whenever she sees a picture of me smiling via Facebook, it's almost like seeing sunshine.  Sharon said that no matter how she's feeling, my smile makes her smile.  She made my whole night.

There was one thing my sweet friend said to me that made me reflect back over my life, and led me to praising God long after we'd hung up.  She said, "Your smile is so pure."  Now that may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it was.  See, I used to never smile, and if I did it was fake and forced.  I was always so sad.  Even as a young girl, there was no sparkle behind my eyes, and no song in my heart. 
People would think I was mean because I always walked around with such a harsh expression on my face. I can't tell you how many times people would walk up to me and say something like "Smile; it's okay" or "You should smile sometimes."  But because depression weighed so heavily upon me, among other issues, flashing my pearly whites was uncommon for me.
But nowadays smiling comes naturally to me.  I built a closer relationship with this guy named Jesus, and spending time with Him has changed my life.  He gave me something called joy, and He planted it deep down in my heart.  Because of His love, and His goodness and mercy towards me, every now and then that joy rises from my heart, spills over onto my face, and causes me to smile.  As broken and dejected as I was, nothing but the grace of God could do that.

Yep, He'll even give you a smile.
I'll leave you with Matthew 11:28, it says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Jesus gave me rest; that's why I smile.
You never know how something as simple as a smile can impact someone's day, or even your own.  So go ahead and turn your frown upside down; you'll feel better...and you'll look so much better.

Enjoy the video below.

~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful For God's Strength

I've been sick all week.  It started Sunday afternoon when I began to feel the onset of a cold.  By Monday morning, I was coughing, sneezing, and had bodyache, headache, congestion and stuffy nose.  No fun.  Now that my cold is a lot better, I'm feeling extremely drained, and nothing seems to settle on my stomach.  Juggling being sick and taking care of my daily responsibilities has been quite challenging, but thank God for His grace and strength.  With my husband away on a business trip (Thank God he's on his way home!) I have had to rely solely upon the Lord's strength this week.  I've called on Jesus so much He's probably tired of me!

Yesterday evening my almost 9 year old son, Joseph, joined me in the kitchen as I prepared dinner.  In the midst of me asking the Lord to give me strength, he tilted his head to the side and said, "Why do you keep saying that?"  Totally oblivious to what he was talking about, "Saying what?" I asked.  "You keep saying Lord give me strength. Why do keep on saying that?  You say it a lot."  I chuckled a bit.

"Because mommy's body is tired and weak from fighting this cold. My energy is totally gone, and since the Lord has a never-ending supply of energy, I need Him to give me some, or else you and your greedy little brother won't have a hot meal tonight" I told him.  He laughed, and jokingly told me that I was crazy.

He doesn't understand it now, but I'm sure that once he's grown into a man and experiences life on his own, he'll be asking the Lord for strength just like mommy.

On any given day, at any given moment, I'm petitioning the Lord to increase my strength.  Especially when my own has been stretched paper thin.  And I am so glad that His strength is made perfect when mine is small.  As a mom of three, a wife, and as a servant for the Lord, I need God's muscles every single day.

Fictitiously speaking, God has huge muscles, much bigger than those of Popeye, that are strong enough to hold us up and carry us when our strength fails.  I'm thankful that I never have to rely upon my own strength to make it through challenging times, whether physically or spiritually, but I can plug into my Father's energy supply through prayer and His word, and obtain all the juice I need to keep it moving.  Isaiah 40:29 says, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."  Thank God for that.

You don't have to go at life feeling weak and worn; the Lord's strength is available whenever you need it.  Lean on Him.

~May you live in His love.~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That Belongs To Me

Over the past four days, my husband has twice been a victim of theft.  Saturday morning, we were awakened by a knock on the door.  It was one of our neighbors letting us know that one of the windows to my husband's truck had been busted.  He went outside to find that someone had gotten away with his radio.  Then this morning, he called to tell me that someone had broken into his equipment truck, and stole a few pieces of equipment he and his brother use for their business.  Thankfully, the equipment inside of the truck is too large to just be carried away, so they were only able to get away with a few small items.

It really bothers me when people take it upon themselves to take possession of things that do not belong to them.  I mean, what gives someone the right to force themselves into your territory and unlawfully take what belongs to you?  They've got some nerve!

Thieves have no regard for another person's belongings.  Some go as far as to watch and study their victim's every move, just so that they can learn the perfect time to go into their space and take their possessions.  It's just sad.  Ol' rogues!!

It makes me think about the enemy.  We all know he's a sneaky little thief.  He's always roaming and watching us, trying to find the perfect opportunity to force his way into our lives and take what's rightfully ours.  (1 Peter 5:8)  He keeps watch on our joy; our peace; our health; our mind; our marriages and relationships; our children; our finances; and our purpose, and he comes in like a theif in the night and steals it away from us when we least expect it.  Though scripture advises us to be alert, there are times when, like burglars, we just don't see him coming.

Around this time last year, our home was burglarized and the thieves got away with a lot of valuable things.  Although they were never caught, and we were never able to retrieve those things that were stolen from us, the Lord blessed us so that, over time, we were able to replace everything that was stolen.  I would have loved to have had the opportunity to snatch back my stuff from those crooks, and tell them "Uhhh, excuse me...but that belongs to me!"  Wishful thinking.

But I'm glad that that's exactly what we can do to the enemy.  We may not have power over man in the natural, but in the spirit we have mad power over Satan.  If we suit up in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18) and grab hold to the power we've been given through the blood of Jesus Christ, we can walk right up to the enemy, tap him on the shoulder, and say "Uhhh, excuse me sir, but that belongs to me!"  And we can take our possessions right back from him.

We do not have to be victims of theft by the hand of that old raggedy devil.  He may take it, but we can surely take it back.  If God gave it to you, that means it belongs to you, and the devil cannot have it.

Let that joker know that you are coming to get your marriage back; you're coming to get your health back; you're coming to get your sanity back; you're coming to get your peace back; you're coming to take your life back.  Go ahead, don't be scared.  It belongs to you!

~May you live in His love.~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Video Blog

Happy Thursday!!  Today, I'm trying something new.  I've prepared a video message for you.  It's the first time I've done one, so if I seem like I don't know what I'm doing, it's because I really don't. LOL!!

It's been on my heart to get into video blogging, so this is me taking that first step.  I'm from the deep south, so don't talk about my country accent! Check it out, and give me some feedback, please.

Monday, November 14, 2011

That's Why I Praise Him

There's so much I planned to share with you on the blog today, but everytime I get just a few lines in, my heart becomes overwhelmed with joy, and my eyes fill with tears.  Before I know it, I've gotten caught up in praising God.  I'm really trying to pull it together to get through this blog post, but there's a praise stirring on the inside of me, and I can't seem to get away from it.

There's no way I could adequately express to you what I'm feeling right now, although I wish I could. All I can say is that for a very long time, I was in such a bottomless pit, but the Lord pulled me out, and has placed my feet upon the solid Rock. 

He has established my goings, and I'm no longer wandering aimlessly through life.  That's why I praise Him.

He has delivered my mind from the demons that once tormented me.  That's why I praise Him.

He has broken the yoke of bondage that held me captive.  That's why I praise Him.

He has destroyed the stronghold of addiction that kept me sinking in sin.  That's why I praise Him.

He has lifted the cloud of depression that used to weigh me down.  That's why I praise Him.

He has freed me from the pain that tried to destroy me.  That's why I praise Him.

He has set my soul free from the grip of the enemy.  That's why I praise Him.

He has given me a brand new identity through Jesus Christ.  That's why I praise Him.

He has assured me that He has plans to give me a future and a hope.  That's why I praise Him.

He has opened doors I never imagined I'd walk through.  That's why I praise Him.

He has given me purpose.  That's why I praise Him.

He has clothed me in joy, love, and peace.  That's why I praise Him.

He has become alive in my heart.  That's why I praise Him.

He has restored my life.  That's why I praise Him.

He is God, and He is good.  That's why I praise Him.

I don't know about you, but I praise God for His goodness and mercy towards me.  I don't need a huge blessing or breakthrough to fall from the sky to provoke me to lift my hands, dance, or utter words of thanksgiving to my King.  The fact that He is God, and has always been God in my life is reason enough for me.  The Lord loves the praises of His people.  He dwells in it.  It's like music in His ears. When's the last time you sang a song to God through your praise?  Are the rocks singing in your place?

This wasn't the route I planned to take with the blog today, but I'm so full...praise is the only thing on my mind.  And I refuse to let the rocks cry out for me.  God is so worthy, and I will praise Him forever, and ever, and ever.

If nothing else today, I want to encourage you to praise God.  Whether good or bad, happy or sad, up, down, or in-between, God deserves your praise. Praise is comely for the upright. (Psalm 33:1)

Now excuse me while I pick 'em up and put 'em down...right here in my room! I don't need no music...

~May you live in His love~

Thursday, November 10, 2011

There's Help...

Late last night as I was about to prepare myself for bed, someone really close to me was pressed upon my heart. Though I clearly heard the Lord telling me to check on my friend, because I had a pounding headache and was feeling very drained, I decided that I'd just say a prayer for her and make contact the following morning.

Within a matter of seconds after praying for my friend, I noticed the indicator light blinking on my phone.  I had a text message.  When I opened it, my heart sank.  It was a message from my friend saying that she wanted her life to be over, and was struggling with harming herself, and worse, taking her own life.  She's been in a vicious fight for a really long time, and sometimes she feels that the pain and torment in her mind is too much to handle.  She has a hard time believing that her life will ever be more than what it is right now.

I immediately began to go into warfare for my friend, and did all I could to convince her to hold on.  Thankfully, she did not succomb to the demons in her mind, and made it through a very difficult moment.  God is a keeper.

There are so many people out there like my friend, who are so overwhelmed by life's problems that they feel they may be better off dead.  That's a lie from the enemy.  God desires that you live, and abundantly so. (John 10:10)

I recently wrote an article in EEW Magazine about how our problems are not meant to be the death of you, and how we must declare that we will not die, but live. (Psalm 118:17) 

But what do you do when the pain is too much?  When the demons in your mind are so loud?  When the more you pray the worse you feel?  When the tears won't stop, and nothing seems to help? When you want to cut yourself to relieve the pain?  When you struggle with commiting suicide? When you want to drink the hurt away? When you want to go to sleep and never wake up? When there's so much anger bottled up inside of you that you want to hurt someone else?  What do you do?

You know, as Christians, we're taught to "take your burdens to the Lord, and leave them there." We're taught to pray about our problems, our struggles, our issues, and just trust the Lord to heal, deliver, and set free. Although Jesus is indeed our "Balm in Gilead", and is well capable of healing any and every manner of sickness and disease (Physically or Psychologically), I believe there are times when He extends His grace through tangible sources. There are Doctors, Counselors, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists that He anoints to aid us in working through our problems.

I firmly believe in the power of prayer, because I've seen it work in my life.  But you know what, although I never sought "professional help" to help me work through my issues, the Lord definitely led me to people that I could talk to, and were ordained by Him to assist me in tackling my demons.

By ALL means, pray and trust God. But, there is help beyond the pulpit; beyond the altar; beyond your prayer closet.  And if you find that the things that torment you are extremely overwhelming, and you struggle with thoughts of suicide, or abuse to yourself or others, it's perfectly okay to seek help. God is such a big God, and He's not limited in the ways He helps us.

Christians struggle.  Christians are self-harming.  Christians are abusing others.  Christians are commiting suicide.  But there's help, and there's hope.  Don't be ashamed or afraid to ask for it.

There are resources available.  If you can't find any at your local church, or in your area, I've listed a few below:
Suicide Prevention
Domestic Violence Hotline
Crisis Hotline (Drug & Alcohol)

If you need help, pray and ask the Lord to lead you to a Christian professional who will be beneficial in helping you to work through whatever your problem(s) may be.

I don't know who this is for, but the subject of suicide has been so pressed upon my heart lately.  I don't know who you are, where you are, or how tough your struggle is, but God does. Your life is so valuable to Him; you are valuable to Him.

Lord, today I pray for those struggling with harming themselves, or commiting suicide. I pray that you'd give them peace in their minds, and help them find healthy ways of coping with the demons that consume their thoughts.  Lord, help them to see their value in you, and assure them that there is no pain you are incapable of healing.  Comfort them, and wrap them in your loving arms.  I bind the spirit of death that hovers over them, and I declare that they shall live and not die. If they need help beyond their prayers and faith, I ask that you'd lead them to kind-hearted, compassionate, God-loving professionals that will act as your mouthpiece, and help to bring healing in their lives.  I thank you in advance for preserving their lives, and leading them along the path to victory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

~May you live in His love.~

Monday, November 7, 2011

It Won't Kill You

Lately, I’ve noticed that I’m crossing paths with a lot of women who remind me so much of the broken woman I used to be. On separate recent occasions, I offered a listening heart to three young ladies experiencing serious turbulence in their lives. Though their situations are different, their feelings towards the turmoil in their lives are the same. They are weary, and worn by fighting what seems to be a constant losing battle. As I conversed with them individually, there was one statement they each made that united them in my heart – “This will be the death of me.” Here were three women who sincerely love the Lord, and whose whole lives are still ahead of them, ready to throw in the towel and give up on life. 

But I couldn’t judge them. I empathized with them, and my heart ached each time I heard or read those words, because I once felt the same way. I knew exactly how they felt.

Read the rest over at my bi-weekly Inspiration Column in  EEW Magazine, and share your thoughts. While you're visiting EEW, be sure to check out all of the wonderful articles written with you in mind.

~May you live in His love.~

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Won't Go Back

I've been in church all of my life.  I gave my life to the Lord at the age of 14, but it wasn't until about two years ago that I really began to develop a real, personal relationship with the Lord.  And within the past year, I have experienced the presence of God like never before.  Since welcoming His presence into my life, I've changed tremendously.

I've experienced freedom.

I've experienced deliverance.

I've experienced healing.

I've found forgiveness.

I've found purpose.

I've found peace.

I've found joy.

I've found life.

The presence of the Lord has been life-changing for me, and I'll never, ever go back to the way I used to be. Seek His presence, bask in it, and watch how it changes your life.  And once you've experienced His presence, you'll never want to go back to life without it.

Enjoy the song posted below.

~May you live in His love.~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nothing Can Separate Us

Have you ever had a really close relationship with someone, but then over time found that you aren't as close as you used to be?  The phone calls and text messages aren't as frequent as they once were, and pretty soon they end altogether. The quality time you usually set aside for one another is now occupied by other things or people.  The laughs you used to share turn into awkward silence.  The person you once knew so well becomes a total stranger.

You wonder what happened?  Who changed?  What went wrong?  Sometimes you can't find those answers.  All you know is that the love that was once there is now gone.

I've experienced quite a bit of separation in 2011, and I must admit that it hasn't been the best feeling.  When you love people, and for whatever reason, you end up parting ways, it kinda hurts your heart.  Though I may not totally understand why the Lord chose to remove those people from my life, I do know that He knows what and who are best for me.  I have learned to accept the fact that sometimes separating from people is necessary.

But you know what?  I am thankful that, no matter how many people have been removed from my life, there is absolutely nothing that can separate me from the love of God.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

The Message Bible says it like this - "I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."

Isn't that awesome?

No matter what, God says He's not going anywhere.  His love will always remain, and nothing or no one will come between us.  We never have to wonder how long He's going to stick around, or if His love will wax cold.

"...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20

How great is that?

~May you live in His love.~

Friday, October 28, 2011

Discipline Is A Good Thing

This morning my husband Jeremy and I gave our oldest son a surprise visit at school.  He was so happy to see us with his two little brothers in tote.  He flashed the biggest smile, until we revealed the reason behind our unexpected visit.

You see, our 3rd grader, Joseph, has become quite the talker this school year.  During a routine parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago, his teacher revealed that Mr. Joseph likes to converse with his table-mates, or tell the occasional joke to make the class erupt in laughter, during times when he should be quietly focusing on the lesson being taught.  His dad and I were shocked, not to learn that he likes to talk and be silly (We already know that!), but that he was doing it during school when he clearly knows better.   Now we aren't naive to believe that our son is the perfect little angel who does everything right all the time; however, we send him to school to "get his lesson" and we expect him to display the characteristics of respect and obedience that we instill into him.  Those same characteristics that he prays for every single night.

Jeremy and I firmly believe in Proverbs 22:6, which tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  As parents, we understand that discipline is a part of that training ground.

As much as I believe in disciplining my children, I have to admit that I'm much softer on them than my husband.  I tend to be a bit more lenient in punishing them.  It just breaks my heart when I have to go hard  on them, and sometimes I'll give them a few fair warnings before I really let them have it.  Although Jeremy was ready to harshly punish him after strike one, I stepped in and pleaded his case.

"Give him another chance, babe. This isn't like him. Maybe he was just having a bad day."  I reasoned with my husband. He obliged, and had a little mercy on our son.  He got away with a stern warning.

Apparently, Mr. Joseph didn't get the point of his warning, because his teacher has contacted me twice since then.  He continues to talk and be Mr. Funny Man, completely disregarding his warnings and mild punishments from before.  He chose to continue in his unpleasant behavior, knowing that it goes against his better judgment.  So today, our little talker has been silenced.  His laughs quickly became tears when his father and I began to explain the repercussions of his actions.  Though a huge part of me wanted to renige on the whole plan of his punishment for the next week, wipe his tears, and hold him in my arms, I stood firmly.  I know that this is good for him, because it will force him to see the error of his ways, and think twice before continuing in that way.  While I don't take pleasure in punishing any of my children, I know that discipline is necessary in order to drive out ill behavior and push goodness out of them.  As Proverbs 22:15 states, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."  It helps to keep them in line with the values, morals, and principles their father and I teach them.

He is so not a happy kid right now, but he'll thank us in the long run.  When he's older, he'll look back and see that discipline was good for him.

As adults we can also have foolishness bound in our hearts, can't we?  And because we sometimes allow that folly to cause us to act outside of the character of what our Father teaches us in His word, He has to discipline us.  Indeed He is merciful towards us, giving us chance after chance to line up with His principles, and He is ever faithful and just to forgive us, but sometimes He just has to do what He has to do in order to whip us back in shape. He has had to discipline me MANY times, and though it did not feel good at the time, I am so thankful that He did.  I am grateful that He loved me enough to chastise me.  And I'm even more grateful that His chastisement does not come from a place of anger, but of love.  He does it because He wants see the best in us. 

Here's what Hebrews 12:4-11 has to say about God disciplining His children:

"In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

See?  Discipline is a good thing.  So don't get angry or upset with God if you find yourself It's just that He loves you, and wants you to live righteous before Him.  He's simply trying to bring out the good in you.

May you live in His love.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Erase The Doubt

This morning I woke up with some things on my mind.  I was thinking about some of the promises the Lord has spoken over my life, and how it seems like I've been waiting forever for a few of them to manifest.  Before my feet hit the floor, I could feel a huge cloud of doubt beginning to hover over me.  And just that quick, I was beginning to feel a little down in my spirit. For a minute I thought that maybe God had changed His mind about doing what He said He'd do, and that cloud of doubt became heavier and heavier by the second. 

I needed to hear from the Lord.  As I stilled myself in His presence, and cried out to Him from my heart, the Holy Spirit led me to Numbers 23:19 which says, "God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"

God's voice spoke loud and clear to me from the pages of His word.  Though I thought I'd feel immediate comfort by what I'd read, instead I felt convicted.  It was as if I could see God shaking His head at me, saying "Oh ye of little faith."   I had to repent.  I doubted Him when He's proven Himself time and time again to be faithful to me. 

Once I repented, His words soothed my doubts.  His embrace reminded me that He's got me, and He hasn't changed His mind about His promises concerning my life, and just as always, His faithfulness will prevail.  That made me smile.  I love my Father so much.  He's always reassuring me when He doesn't have to.

My Father's love and faithfulness shined through, and that cloud of doubt had no choice but to go away. His word erased it. I'm confident that, in His perfect and precious timing, He will fulfill every promise to me.

He does not lie.

He  cannot change His mind.

He shall not speak and not act.

He will not promise and not fulfill.

He is faithful.

You can believe that if He said it in His word, He is going to do it.  Be encouraged by Isaiah 40:8, "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” 

Thanks for reading. May you live in His love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Be True To You

I quit.

I give up.

I'm over caring.

I'm done with trying.

No longer will I put effort into fitting into another's mold of who they think I should be; how they think I should dress; the way they think I should raise my children; the kind of wife they believe I should be; the career they think I should have. I'm done.

I love me, I like me, and I rock just the way I am.  If  you can't accept me for who I am, then good riddance.

That's the stance we should take when we find ourselves constantly falling prey to other people's opinion of us.  I bet y'all thought I was going off on somebody! *SMH at messy saints* LOL!!

Over the years, I have spent my fair share of time conforming to what others have thought of me.  Because I wanted to fit in and be accepted, I had no problems altering my hair, clothes, or personality.  My lack of confidence in the fearfully and wonderfully made individual God created me to be caused me to become totally lost and confused when it came to knowing my true self.  I can't tell you how many times I marched around that mountain.

Those marching boots have become a bit worn, and the stilettos I now rock ain't made for marching. Those days are over.

I'm so thankful that as I've built a closer relationship with the Lord, He has shown me my true identity.  He has allowed me to see the beautifully crafted woman He destined me to be, and I absolutely love her. I'm not perfect, but God's perfect love covers me.

It used to break my little heart when people would shun me because they thought I was stuck up, mean, and unfriendly simply because I'm an introvert.  So I'd alter myself and go the extra mile to try to prove that I wasn't any of those things.  But that's just too exhausting. I'd rather just be me...quiet, goofy, dorky, silly, girly me.  I've learned that if you have to alter yourself just to gain the approval or acceptance of others, the moment you stray away from what they want you to be, they leave you hanging.  Who wants relationships built on false pretenses? 

If people can't accept you for who you truly are, the fearfully-and-wonderfully-made-beautifully-crafted-you, then they don't deserve to be a part of your life.  And that's not being mean; that's just being true to who you are. I've accepted that fact that some people simply don't get me, and that's quite alright, because the Lord will surround me with those who do.  I'm much happier being true to who I am.

You will go absolutely insane trying to please people whose tolerance, or acceptance, of you will only be temporal.  It's not worth the headache.

Forget about what people think of you and who they want you to be, and set your thoughts on what God knows about you and who He destined you to be long before you were ever formed in your mothers womb.

Know that you are amazing just the way you are.  And if you're going to alter yourself to please anybody, do it for the Lord.  At the end of the day, it's pleasing Him that matters most.

Friday, October 21, 2011

For My Sisters...

To the woman who has no self-esteem...

To the woman who is haunted by the guilt and pain of her past...

To the woman who still feels victim to her molester, or rapist...

To the woman who tries to find her value through men...

To the woman who struggles with promiscuity...

To the woman who is bound by pornography...

To the woman who feels lost and confused...

To the woman who has a broken heart...

To the woman who numbs her feelings with alcohol...

To the woman who feels unwanted and unloved...

To the woman who had no father...

To the woman who is searching for identity...

To the woman who battles depression...

To the woman who desires to be free...

To the woman who longs for love...

To the woman searching for direction...

To the woman who wants to be whole...

God is able...

To heal your hurt.

To ease your pain.

To erase your guilt.

To break your chains.

To wipe your slate clean.

To fill your void.

To lift your head.

To strengthen your heart.

To order your steps.

To destroy your strongholds.

To give you joy.

To restore your life.

To refresh your spirit.

To set you free.

To build you up.

To bring you out.

To awaken you to love.

To make you whole.

To show you purpose, and use you for His glory.

I know, because He's done it all for me. 

So look to Him, and be encouraged...your best days are ahead of you.  I'm praying for you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For A Special Friend...

Today I'd like to use the blog to show a little love to someone very special to me, Dianna Hobbs.

Back then, I had no idea who she was.  I had no idea that she'd become my covenant sister, and one of my dearest friends.  All I knew is that I was glad that I'd somehow stumbled upon her blog.  At the time, I wasn't even into reading blogs, but something about her words kept me coming back for more.  I was captivated by her words. Each time I read a blog post, I felt as if she knew she knew exactly what I was going through.  Her words pierced my heart, and spoke to my pain. They consoled me, and gave me hope.  Everytime I logged on to her site, I left with an overflowing cup of God's love.

The more I read her blog, the more I began to feel drawn to her...connected to her somehow. I had no idea who she was, yet I felt compelled to pour my heart out to her, and I never open up to people I don't know.  And all I knew about her was her name.  But everytime I reached out to her, she was always gentle, and genuine, in her response.  I appreciated that.

At that time, what I didn't know is that I felt so drawn to her because God had already destined her to play a vital role in my life.  He had spiritually connected us long before we ever knew one another existed.

Over the years, she has consistently inspired me. It takes more than just the average person to make any kind of impact in my life, and I can see why God chose her to be that person for me.  She's genuine, sweet, compassionate, and full of wisdom.  I can't even begin to tell you how much of a difference she's made in my life, but I will say that I am a better person because of her.

She laughs with me; cries with me; prays with me; rejoices with me...she's a light that shines so bright, and I am thankful that God divinely connected us.  And with all that God has used her to plant in my life, I'm even more thankful that I'm able to pay it forward.

Aren't divine connections the best?!  I just love how God orchestrates our lives. Don't you?

So, to my dear friend from across the miles, my sweet sister, this post is for you.  For all that you are...for all that you do...I love you to itty, bitty pieces!!  You're the best!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Protect Yourself from Becoming Infected

As I type this, I feel awful.  My 2 year old, Jaxon, woke up sneezing Saturday morning.  Since he and his older brother have allergies, I assumed a dose of allergy medicine would suit him just fine.  I even gave my oldest son Joey a just-in-case dose, because my husband and I had a day of outdoors fun planned for the kids, and I didn't want puffy eyes and itchy throats to put a damper on our family day.

As the day progressed, I noticed that a runny nose had accompanied his sneezing.  Then a little while after that, coughing joined in.  "Uh oh" I thought.  "He's got a cold."  I had misdiagnosed his symptoms earlier that morning, and treated the wrong problem.  Now the problem that he really had had been left untreated.  Because I assumed it was only allergies, I had no objections to him sharing kisses with me or his baby brother. I had no idea that with every sneeze, he was spreading germs that would plague half of my house.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a stuffy nose, body aches, and sneezing.  And worst of all, I noticed that my newborn had been affected by the kisses of his infected big brother.  My poor little pumpkin had gotten a stuffy nose. 

I doctored on them all day yesterday, and all throughout the night.  I am beat.  There was one important thing I failed to do before becoming mommy-nurse - I did not take any precautions to protect myself from getting my infected little guy's cold.

Now, the one who started the whole cold plague is feeling better, and my newborn and I are experiencing the worst of it.  Had I recognized Jaxon's sickness in the beginning, I could have protected the rest of us from becoming sick while helping him to get better.  He's running around the house all free and full of energy, going about his merry little way, while the baby and I are struggling to breathe. *rolling my eyes at him* LOL!!

I wonder how often does this happen in our daily lives.  We reach out and help someone who is sick...sin-sick, broken, hurting, struggling...and after we've helped them to get better, and prayed them through, we find ourselves feeling under the weather.  They are free, while you're feeling heavy.

Through personal experience, I have found that when I fail to protect myself through prayer before going into spiritual warfare for someone else, I become affected by the thing that infected them. Their headache literally becomes my headache, and I'm left trying to fight off something that wasn't even supposed to be my problem.  And then I have to fast, pray, and plead the blood so the spirit of heaviness will unattach itself from me.

Let me add that this is not to discourage you from helping or interceding for others...I encourage that.  Had it not been for others going to God on my behalf, I probably wouldn't be here today. And I believe in paying it forward.  I'm all about helping my sisters and brothers. Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another's burdens; however, I don't believe that was meant to be carried out literally.  I believe we should use wisdom in all things, and wisdom tells us that we should be prayed up so that when we help others, we don't become a victim.

This is why a consistent prayer life is so imperative.  Prayer protects us. 

So the next time you try to help someone get well, make sure you are dressed in your spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). While those you and I set out to help may not intentionally spread their germs, some sicknesses simply have the spirit of transfer.

 Protect yourself from becoming infected.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Peek Into My Journal...


It's a new season
It's a new day
A fresh anointing is flowing my way
It's a season of power and prosperity
It's a new season, coming to me.

I woke up with those words on my heart this morning, and they couldn't be more fitting for me. I am definitely in a new season in my life.  I can't really put into words exactly what God is doing; all I know is that something on the inside is changing, and my spirit is leaping within me.

God is pulling on, and pouring into me in a way I've never experienced.  I feel so drawn to Him, and my appetite for more of Him is almost insatiable.  It's a good way.

Whatever God is doing, I welcome it.  I'm not fighting against it, because I've vowed to allow Him to have His perfect way in my life.  I've sold my soul to Him, and I don't plan to make an exchange or request for a refund.  My soul is off the market.

I am His.

All His.

Called.  Chosen.  Surrendered.  Ready. Willing. Unrestrained.

In this new season, I am taking the limits off of God, and He is taking the limits that I placed upon myself off of me. 

I'm ready...

To step out on faith.

To conquer my fears.

To be all that God destined me to be.

To possess His promises for my life.

To walk totally in purpose.

So God, here I am.  I give myself to you.

My heart.

My mind.

My soul.

My will.

My thoughts.

My dreams.

My plans.

It's all Yours.  And I know it's in perfect hands.

Excited about my future with You,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rest Comes In Many Forms...

My eyes are heavy.

My body is tired.

I can't stop yawning.

All I want to do is climb into my bed, get snug under my comforter, crawl into the fetal position, and sleep.

I want to sleep for hours.

And hours.

But due to the demands of my 6-week old and my very active toddler, along with all of the other duties of the woman of the house, there's a slim to none chance that will happen.  A girl can dream though, right?

I don't know about you, but when I'm tired, my usually calm disposition is challenged.  Things that normally wouldn't bother me become a nuisance, and I become a bit snappy.  OK, well maybe more than a bit.  The claws come out, and anyone in my path, or in my house, gets scratched.

I don't like when I get that way.

Last night, I was feeling totally exhausted after a long day with the kids.  My oldest son Joey came into my room, and threw himself on me.  In that moment, all I wanted was 5 good minutes to myself, so I snapped at him. "Get off of me. Go to your room. Leave me alone."  He looked at me as if he saw horns coming out of my head.

"You don't have to be so mean. I just wanted to give you a hug" he said, as he walked away.  I bet he was thinking, that crazy lady!

I felt so bad.  I had to check myself. Quick. 

I whispered a Lord-help-me-give-me-strength-prayer, and went into my son's room to repent.  "Mama's just tired" I said. "Your little brothers have worn me out today."  He then said something to me that was so profound.  He said, "It's not my fault they made you tired. You shouldn't take it out on me. I was just trying to give you some love."

My young son had just taught his mom a lesson...and inspired today's blog post.

All too often, we punish good people for the bad things that others have done to us.  That's not right. 

Your previous boyfriends cheated on you and treated you like dirt, so when a good guy comes into your life you make him pay for what they did by hardening your heart towards him. You're tired of opening your heart.

Your previous friendships all ended in betrayal, so when a genuine friend enters your life, you push them away by not allowing yourself to trust them. You're tired of trusting people.

You experienced church hurt at your previous church, so when the Lord leads you to a new place, you won't allow yourself to get involved in ministry because you think that all of "them church folks" are the same.  You're tired of the church.

This is wrong, wrong, wrong.  You cannot make today pay the cost for yesterday.  Being exhausted from one situation does not give you the right to take your frustration out on the next.  One has nothing to do with the other.  In fact, that new relationship, friendship, church, business opportunity, or whatever the case, could be the very thing to finally give you a sense of rest.

God rejuvenates us in many ways, so resolve to no longer push people, or opportunities, away because you're physically, spiritually, or emotionally exhausted.  By the way, I realized that God was using my son to refresh me with his hug last night.  It caused my irritability to rest.

Rest comes in many forms; don't miss it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy your week-end!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In Spirit and Truth Pt. 1

This morning during my quiet time with th Lord, I opened my Bible, and my eyes immediately fell on John 4:23-24.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

When it comes to worship, the is the #1 scripture quoted in churches, or by Christians in general.

Well, the Lord would not allow me to move beyond verse 24, so I knew there had to be something He wanted to reveal to me through this familiar scripture.  So I stilled myself before the Lord, and asked Him to open my heart so that I could receive the understanding and wisdom of His word.

As I meditated on His word, the Lord began to speak to me. I will share with you what the Holy Spirit shared with me.

When it comes to worship, God is specific about what He wants.  He wants true worshippers to worship Him in spirit and truth.  He does want us to offer Him any old form of worship.  Jesus clearly states that we MUST worship in spirit and truth, and tells us that these are the worshippers His Father seeks.

So how do we worship Him in spirit and truth?

To worship God in spirit and truth simply means that we worship Him in honesty from our hearts, and we do so according to His holy word.  To worship Him from the heart, we must first love Him with all of our heart.  As a matter of fact, this is the first commandment, according to Mark 12:30,

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

If we do not love Him with every ounce of our being, it is impossible to truly worship Him.  God seeks for worship from our heart, because this is the part of us that connects us to His spirit. Beyond what we say or do, God knows our heart like no other.

Loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength provokes us to honor Him with our daily lives. When we purposely uphold His commandments, walk according to His statutes, and allow Christ to shine through us in all that we do, in order to glorify Him, and Him alone, we worship Him in spirit...because it comes from our heart.

A true worshipper lives a surrendered life; a life that is dedicated to the will of the Lord each and every day. A true worshipper does not only fall on their knees before the Lord when things are going bad in their lives, but they lay prostrate before the Lord simply to honor and reverence Him, out of their love for Him. 

You see, it's not the 15 minutes of worship on Sunday morning while the praise team is singing a slow song that defines the type of worship God seeks. Don't get me wrong, He loves it when we come together corporately to offer up our praise and worship. However, more than that, He loves it when we don't have to be prompted, pumped, or primed to offer worship to Him. He wraps Himself in our worship when it's authentic, and comes from the depths of our hearts.

I want God to dwell in my worship.

Our lives should be a constant form of worship to our spirit and truth.  Examine your worship. Is it the worship the Father seeks?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love you,