Finding Joy Through Hardship

Hi,

I was reading this article, and today especially it hits close to home because we all go through hardships and difficulties, we all go through trials and tribulations; what is always hard is finding the Joy through it all.

Finding Joy Through Hardship

Courtnaye Richard

 

www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org

I’ll be the first to admit that maintaining your joy is not easy when life’s disappointments, tests and trials beat up against you. A part of you wants to go into isolation, be angry, depressed, and sad, but God doesn’t want us to go into those dark emotions. Instead, He wants us to renew our focus and trust Him for the overall outcome when we face hardships in life.

Most of us know that “joy” is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and it’s defined as a very glad feeling, a shout, triumph, cheerful, and a calm delight. I like that last definition – a calm delight. Because that’s what we need when we’re going through difficult and trying times. Now, what it doesn’t mean is that you’ll be smiling ear-to-ear or laughing when you hit a hard place in your life. Not at all. It just means that your mindset has to shift into a new gear.

In other words, a gear of having a better attitude and being thankful that no matter what, God is still faithful, sovereign, and loving. He is working things out for our good. It’s also about keeping our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

I would say endurance is a highlighting factor, here. Think about it. Without it, Jesus could have jumped off the cross and said, “I can’t do this. It hurts too bad! Father, I don’t know where you are. I’m done.” But instead, He endured the hardship. He didn’t give up. He didn’t allow the trial of His life to sidestep God’s plan for salvation. He focused on the purpose and the joy that awaited Him. He endured it and then it was finished. And thank God He pressed through the pain – for us.

I want to take a minute to share with you a few practical things that you can do to find joy in the midst of hardship…

  • Pray (cry, talk to God about what you’re going through – He’s listening)
  • Renew your mind (change your attitude – try to think about good things and what God could be doing through it)
  • Put on a pot of coffee or tea and read on joy, getting through trials, let God minister to you through His Word regarding your particular situation, and journal what’s happening (pen your thoughts, prayers, and verses)
  • Call a friend to talk to and help you carry the heavy burden and then pray together
  • Do something that you enjoy to help take your mind off of the hardship as you wait on God to move in the situation
  • Look around and find something to be grateful for in the midst of it (1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus.”)
  • Be intentional about finding joy
  • Trust Him

Listen sis, Scripture tells us to count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations (meaning various trials). That’s what the King James Version of James 1:2-4 says. Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to go around faking happiness. Because when hard things hit, it does hurt and sometimes you do have to cry, and sometimes you do wonder where is God in all of it. We are human. But what God is saying through this verse is that He wants us to see the bigger picture. He’s doing something greater – even though we can’t see it. And that is where the joy comes from.

He’s building character. He’s making you stronger. He’s increasing your faith. He’s maturing you. He’s building endurance for your good and for a later testimony.

So when things go wrong in your life or when your day just isn’t the best, choose to kick into another gear and say, “Lord, I need help down here. I need supernatural joy. I need help shifting my mindset.” Like I said earlier, I know it’s not easy. But don’t allow the situation to make you go crazy, act out of character, or cause you to lose faith, sis.

With that being said, I want to give you the verse in full from James 1:2-4. It states, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

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Now that you too have read this article, don’t you feel that this hits close to home?

Always remember that we are tested in our faith.

Everything that we face is meant for us to grow in our faith and trust in GOd more.

Trouble will always come our way, as mentioned in the book of James, but this should be an opportunity for us to still find that glimmer of joy within the problems.

 

Thank you Lord for all that you do. Thank you for the challenges that I face, the hardships, because they bring me closer to you.  I thank you for the good days, for I can appreciate all that  I have lived and experienced to be where I am today.  AMEN.

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Faith, in the midst of fear.

I came across this verse and quickly was thankful for the events which unfolded Sunday evening, as well as reminded of a similar event that took place over 20 years ago. I selected this image of a road with this verse to symbolize and give an illustration to a story I am about to share.


Let’s start with Sunday then we will travel even farther back in time. This past Sunday was amazing, we slept in, still went to church, the start of the service with the praise and worship songs were moving, we had a fundraiser I was assisting in, and we listened to the sermon. Everything ran smoothly. We sold everything for our fundraiser. We looked forward to getting one step closer towards our goal.


After church was an evening spent at a family birthday gathering where my children got to meet some of their cousins. A blessed day over all despite some personal reservations. I was happy with the outcome and blessings of the day and was extremely thankful. Your probably wondering where does fear strike in all of this. As my family and I were getting ready to leave, we turn on our car and this message pops up:


We were like oh my God tomorrows school, we have work, what is going on???

We had just shared a story an hour prior about the engine we had to replace for our German car. So I go on the website / blog for the cars manufacturer to see if there’s anything we need / can do while we get a hold of the mechanic. I Read the blogs and though my face did not show my anxiety, had you taken my pulse you would’ve felt it. I casually go over to my spouse and share what I have researched. Our brother in law who is into cars comes by to take a look, gives a few suggestions and then poof, the message goes away. We decided let’s carefully drive home to get the kids to bed and see about getting the car over to the mechanic, we have an upcoming road trip and we don’t need any glitches. So we begin our commute.

As we begin driving along kings highway in Brooklyn NY our car jerked then suddenly our speedometer went from 25mph to 5mph. We couldn’t shift gears, nothing worked. This road we take is usually packed. By the grace of God and only God that evening it was empty. We crawled to a side road and were unable to move. The way the car jerked we all got scared, but in the midst of that I knew I needed to keep calm for my kids who asked “mommy are we going to die?” They understood the potential danger, they understood at any given moment a car could have clipped us.

As I reassured them we were fine I kept asking God please just lead us to safety, protect my family. Once we called AAA to assist in getting a flatbed over so we can lug our car to the mechanic, I reached out to my mom let her know what happened. Let her know we were fine. The kids and I walked home in that late hour while my husband waited for AAA. I packed our bags, and went by my mothers.

God is the only reason I know we were safe. God is the only reason I know we were not clipped by another vehicle traveling 45mph or more. God is the only reason we got home safely from where we got stuck .

Despite my dread & my fear I kept faith in not only knowing that God would get us to our destination safely but that he would resolve this for us.


Now let’s travel back to over 20 years ago.

This story that I shared is not the first scary vehicular incident I have experienced.

While all this was happening I had a flashback to 1996. I remember sitting in the back seat of our family Oldsmobile. I remember my siblings sitting next to me. My mom driving across the Brooklyn Bridge headed towards Manhattan so we can pick up my dad who was working late. As kids we used to play games, sing along, talk, or sometimes enjoy the view of our iconic NYC Skyline. Then I hear my mom calmly say, guys make sure your seatbelts are secure, because I don’t know what’s going on. All she kept saying was Jesus take the wheel.

Her brakes failed her while crossing the bridge, the car jerked and her speed was reducing on its own. She couldn’t shift any gears, everything was locked somehow. I remember being in the back seat holding on to my siblings as I realized we were swerving between cars from one lane to another. My mom looked focused, despite her fears and desperation seeing her 4 kids in the rear view mirror filled with fear. All she kept saying was Jesus take the wheel, get my kids out of here safely. Jesus take the wheel.

I don’t know how many of you have been on the Brooklyn Bridge pre 9/11. But Prior to 9/11 the exit that passes by one police plaza which is currently closed did like this whole wrap around infinity like loop that brings you to the other side of city’ hall park. My mom knew if she would’ve gone straight, we probably would’ve crashed in to pedestrians trying to walk across the bridge, if we would’ve taken the far exit we would’ve been setting up to a collision with those trying to get on the bridge towards the entrance on the other side. So she navigated towards the infinite loop as I called it, knowing many drivers didn’t opt to that exit back then, unless they were heading south in the city. As we completed the loop and swerved between cars, the Oldsmobile finally stopped in front of city hall park and didn’t move. Not one scratch on the vehicle, not one scratch on either of us, not one scratch on any pedestrian. God was good. He saved us, he saved those around us.

Jesus literally took the wheel. Jesus literally guided us with strength with our faith in him. He guides us to safety.


Both incidents were quite an adventure.

Both incidents were quite scary.

Both incidents tested our faith.

Both incidents despite our concerns we took comfort in God.

Both incidents we came out unscathed.

Both incidents Jesus took the wheel.

Both incidents God immediately answered our prayers.

I told my mom that I had experienced a flashback to that evening. My younger brother who was about 8 at the time said he remembers that night, it was one of the most scariest he ever experienced.

I think as a mom this was scarier than my first time. Yet I have an even more newfound respect for my mom experiencing what I did, knowing full well what she must’ve been going through that evening 20+ years ago.

God has given me strength beyond words could ever describe. God has helped us run like a dear. God has lead us to safety. He is the music director to my stringed instruments. I will follow God’s lead, follow his guidance, because time and time again God has said “I got you son” “I got you my daughter” “I got your back”. We just need to listen, trust and always keep faith.


Father God I thank you for your love, mercy and forgiveness which endures forever.  God I thank you for your protection and guidance.  Father I thank you for helping us run like a dear, I thank you for leading us to safety.  You are the music director and I am your stringed instrument.  Thank you for always taking the wheel, for always guiding us to the right path, for always keeping us out of harms way, for always keeping innocent bystanders out of harms way as well. Amen

The Purpose of Our Faith

I was reading this article and I felt the need to share.  Sometimes we come across things that impact us to the core.  Sometimes we come across things and instantly we know we have to share the wealth and share the knowledge to all.  Sometimes we come across something and we know someone who desperately needs these words in their lives.  This is one of those articles.

The Purpose of Our Faith

Nylse Esahc

#christian living

When we relocated to California, I joined the gym. This might have been because I was bored, homesick or going crazy with all of the adjustments. My husband came home with this offer from one of his co-workers and thought it would be good for me. Also, it was an excellent deal, monetarily speaking, so I bit the bullet and joined. I don’t believe in wasting money (paying for something and never using it), so once I joined the gym, I created time in my schedule to go to the gym.

There are many participants at the gym, but two types stand out. There’s a fellow that has been a member as long as I have – he is on the larger side; after all these years he remains on the larger side. Recently within the past six months, there was a lady who was also on the larger side who worked out with an intensity I rarely saw.

She got on the treadmill, set it to 6.0 which is a 10-minute mile and ran for an hour. She would stop if she needed to and then start again. She ran hard, and sweat flew. Every time I went to the gym, she was working out with this intensity. Within a month or so I started to notice a change in her body, she was getting leaner. Her stomach shrank, her arms became more defined, and her legs got smaller. It was as if her body was changing right before my eyes. Within a six month time-frame, she transformed from being on the larger side to the lean side. I wasn’t the only one that noticed; other members of the gym started to stop and talk to her, ask her questions, compliment and encourage her. It was amazing. But isn’t this the point of working out?

Our Christian experience can mirror our gym membership -when we’re focused and have our eyes on the prize we put in the time and effort. It’s hard work, but it’s the hard work we all need. We’re using every muscle in our bodies, we’re digging deeper into the Word, we’re spending significant time praying and meditating, and as a result of this there’s a change that first happens on the inside, but others notice it. We are questioned, complimented and encouraged, but we do the same for others – we share what made the difference, and we encourage. Isn’t this the point?

I don’t know what the man’s story is but there might be a degree of frustration since he has not seen the change he has desired all these years. He may be scratching his head trying to figure out what to do next, or he may know and is just unwilling to make the change (genetics and body composition aside). Some of us know what we should be doing but refuse to exercise the self-control and discipline to see growth, so we remain babies never being able to digest solid food. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

When I’m consistent in my exercise routine, I feel better, and others notice something different about me. Similarly, when I’m consistent in the disciplines of the Christian journey, there’s a noticeable change on the inside and the outside, and I can’t keep it to myself. I am compelled to share and motivated to live in a Godly way because this way of living is not in vain. It brings hope, it spreads love, and it has an eternal perspective. Isn’t this the point?

…Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. 1 Timothy 4:8-10

What’s the point for you?

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Is this not a deep article. We are all there, we can relate to joining a membership to something, and not seeing results.  Or joining something and not doing one’s due diligence.  WE have all been there before.

 

Here are the verses she references in the article:

 

Hebrews 5:12-14 New International Version (NIV)

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

 

1 Timothy 4:8-10 New International Version (NIV)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

 

We have to put our work in.

If you want to see results,, we need to get our hands dirty (figuratively speaking).

We need to open up our Bibles and study guides more.

We need to pay attention and jot down notes during sermons.

We need to open up our ears, eyes, hearts and minds.

We need to do our part so we can see the results that God knows we can achieve.

 

Father God I ask you to open up my eyes, my heart and my soul.  I want to thank you for all that you have done for me, but I know I have work to do.  I know I have to do my cut.  I know that if I get up, dust my shoulders off and get to work, that the greatness you see that I can achieve can be done.  Help me Lord in  guiding me in the path to continue to work harder for you so I too can see and get results. Amen.

Our Fully Present God

I recently read a few articles written by buy christian moms.  These articles were exactly what I needed to read.  Sometimes we lead busy lives; Work, Kids, life, Bills, Church & Adulting responsibilities make it hard for us.  It is nice knowing that others have similar stories to share; not only in the day to day things of Adulting, but in the day to day walks in our own walks.

I am going to introduce the first article; i do how this a blessing for you as it has been for me.

As a parent, I am often in high demand. Most days, as I work with one of the kids on an assignment, my other child is calling for me to come and help him with his. I have to tell him to wait until I finish with his brother. I can only focus on one task at a time.

Sometimes, my kids need me and I’m in another part of the house. They call and call my name but I don’t answer because I can’t hear them. Eventually they track me down and say something like, “Mom, I was calling for you! Why didn’t you answer?”

There is much in my life as a parent that points me to a truth about God. Sometimes, it’s a parallel truth, like the fact that I discipline my children for their good, as God does in my own life (though my discipline is far from perfect!). Other times, my life as a parent points to a stark contrast between myself and God, as in the examples above. While I can’t be available to both my kids at the same time, God is always present for us.

One of God’s attributes is his omnipresence. This means he is present everywhere in creation. There is no where we could go that God is not also there because he fills all of creation. He is not confined to space or time. There are no limits or boundaries that restrict him. And no one can hide from his presence. “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” (Psalm 139:7-8).

This is hard for our finite minds to grasp—with bodies that can only occupy one space at a time. It’s hard for me to imagine—as a mom who is daily tugged and pulled in different directions. We often try to think of God’s omnipresence in terms we understand, but because God is a spirit, he doesn’t take up space the way an object or person takes up space. He is everywhere all the time. “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).

Not only is God always present, he is always fully present. Theologians sometimes call this the immensity of God. This means he is completely accessible to us. He doesn’t partially listen to our prayers because he is focused on another person’s prayers at the same time. He doesn’t get busy in one part of the world and neglect the other part. He is never distracted, stretched, overwhelmed, burdened, pulled, or pressured by the demands of others. He is fully engaged and attentive to his children.

God always gives us his full attention. Unlike my children calling and searching for me, we don’t have to do that with God; he is right there with us. Unlike my children having to wait their turn to receive my attention, we don’t have to wait for our turn with God. We never have to schedule an appointment. God is always with us.

Sometimes, we talk about how we sense God’s presence more in certain circumstances or in specific locations. Some may say they sense God’s presence when they sit on the beach or hike on a mountain trail. The truth is, God is not more present in those places than in others. It may be that he allows us to “feel” his presence more in some situations. It’s also likely that when we are less distracted by our daily responsibilities and cares, we are able to focus our thoughts on God. When we spend time in his creation—rather than stuck behind a cubicle or with our face glued to a screen—we are reminded of who he is and respond in wonder and awe. With that said, there are times where we are promised his presence in a unique way: when we take the Lord’s Supper and when we are gathered with the people of God in worship. In addition, there may also be times when God makes us “feel” his presence less, perhaps as a form of discipline or for some other divine reason (Psalm 89:46). It doesn’t mean that he is any less present. He is always with us, even when we don’t “feel” like he is.

The doctrine of God’s omnipresence is comforting and reassuring. We are never left alone. We are always—at all times and in all places—in the presence of God. We can cry out to him and know that he hears us. We can trust that he is always with us. This truth should make us respond in praise and worship,  “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3).

What does it mean to you that God is fully present?

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How many parents read this article and like me said wow I can relate to what she said?

I know I do.

 

We spend much of our time focused on everything but God.

As a mother of two, I am focused on their spiritual growth as well as their academic advancement.  I am on top of them on Homework, writing, reading, learning, etc.

Then there are the extra curricular activities: soccer, boxing, gymnastics, art, dance etc.

 

then there are our church responsibilities, the kids to learn and understand the lesson and now I as their teacher, provide the lesson plans for the class with my co teacher.

 

Aside from that there’s my wife duties, my duties at home….

 

It is important that in all that we do that we acknowledge that God is ever present in every thing we do.

As the author of this article posted, God is Omnipresent.  We should let that sink in.

While we are being the soccer moms….the house wife, the home-schooling mom, or even the bible studies instructor mom, we need always thank God for always being with us.

 

Thank you Father for your strength, words of encouragement, wisdom, love faith and trust. Thank you for being there with me every where I go, every turn I take, and with every breath that I take. Amen.

 

 

Motivate to Succeed

I love following Dean Grossman from NYU.  His commencement address to the graduating class year after year is something I look forward to reading.  His speeches are so eloquent. Each year he has something new to say. Each year he not only motivates these professionals of tomorrow, but he motivates me.

 

The following is an excerpt from Deans Grossman’s address to the graduating class of 2018. I hope it becomes useful to your life as I know i will apply many aspects in my life and in my children’s lives.

  • Have assurance, but not arrogance, in your abilities.

  • Be receptive to criticism, for that enables learning.

  • Believe in yourself. You have navigated a very difficult knowledge base. You have assimilated an amazing number of facts. You have performed at the highest level.

  • And if the house officer or attending assumes you know very little—so be it, don’t be offended—just quietly prove her wrong.

  • Appreciate how you feel when someone undervalues your knowledge, intelligence, or insights and try not to replicate that behavior as you ascend the career ladder. This will make you an empathetic leader and, I might add, a better person.

  • Lastly, remember others may underestimate you, but you should never underestimate yourself! AND NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!

For each point Dean Grossman stated, I found comfort in a scripture.

So today I may not be standing before a podium addressing the masses on their future Career.  I am actually finding comfort behind a screen typing away on my keyboard on how to maximize on these words using GOD’S WORD.

  • Proverbs 13:10 Pride causes arguments, but those who listen to others are wise.

 

  • Hebrews 5:8  Jesus was the Son of God, but he still suffered, and through his sufferings he learned to obey whatever God says.

 

  • Proverbs 31:25 She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence.
  • [ True Wisdom ] Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast.
  • Hebrews 10:34-36  Yes, you helped them in prison and shared in their suffering. And you were still happy when everything you owned was taken away from you. You continued to be happy, because you knew that you had something much better—something that would continue forever. So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what he promised you.

 

  • Proverbs 3:6 With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.

 

We as Christians can not only put to practice the word of God, but even inspiring words of leaders, educators and public speakers.  Always remember though to find comfort first in God’s word. You can make Parallels of God’s word and apply them in your lives.

There is proof that even the advice given in this commencement speech, has been given to us for many years in the bible.

  • So Do not have Pride, and listen.
  • Learn from everything that life throws at you, learn from what the scriptures tells you.
  • Be strong and confident.
  • Remain humble despite the knowledge and wisdom you gain.
  • Have courage.
  • Be Happy.
  • Be Patient.
  • Help others & ask for help along the way.

 

Though this is only a snippet of an amazing commencement speech.  We are able to use his advice, support it with the Lords word to show that the same advice we are getting in the flesh, is the same advice God tries to tell us.

We have to keep our eyes, ears , mind and heart open when we meditate in the word to be able to hear what he has been trying to tell us.

Back To Life

Back To Life is the 7th & final Devotional from the Mandisa devotional series.

Scripture.

“The tongue can speak words that bring life or death. Those who love to talk must be ready to accept what it brings.” Proverbs 18:21 ERV

 

“The Lord ’S power came on me. The Spirit of the Lord carried me out of the city and put me down in the middle of the valley. The valley was full of dead men’s bones. There were many bones lying on the ground in the valley. The Lord made me walk all around among the bones. I saw the bones were very dry. Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, can these bones come to life?” I answered, “Lord GOD, only you know the answer to that question.” Then he said to me, “Speak to these bones for me. Tell them, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord GOD says to you: I will cause breath to come into you, and you will come to life! I will put sinew and muscles on you, and I will cover you with skin. Then I will put breath in you, and you will come back to life! Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I spoke to the bones for the Lord, as he said. I was still speaking, when I heard the loud noise. The bones began to rattle, and bone joined together with bone! There before my eyes, I saw sinew and muscles begin to cover the bones. Skin began to cover them, but there was no breath in them. Then the Lord said to me, “Speak to the wind for me. Son of man, speak to the wind for me. Tell the wind that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘Wind, come from every direction and breathe air into these dead bodies! Breathe into them and they will come to life again!’” So I spoke to the wind for the Lord, as he said, and the breath came into the dead bodies. They came to life and stood up. There were many men—a very large army!” Ezekiel 37:1-10 ERV

 

Back To Life

Devotional by Mandisa

I have read, meditated on, and heard messages on Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones, for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those passages that I’ve heard so many times, I wasn’t sure what else I could possibly get out of it! But after experiencing my own valley of dry bones, and inhabiting a pit of despair for several years, God has illuminated this familiar passage for me.

God very easily could have spoken to the dry bones Himself and seen them come to life. Instead, He commanded Ezekiel to listen to His words, then repeat them to the bones. It was only when Ezekiel obeyed and spoke life that the bones responded.

Similarly, I find that this is how God lifted me out of the dark. Rather than experiencing immediate deliverance, God lifted me out bit by bit, allowing me to learn valuable lessons in the process. He taught me how to prophesy His words over myself:

• I breathed out shame, and breathed in grace

• I breathed out fear, and breathed in peace

• I breathed out weakness, and breathed in strength

This is not to say that I felt these things immediately. But in the beginning of this process, I knew I needed to do what Ezekiel did—prophesy God’s truth over what felt dead. As my friend TobyMac says, I needed to speak life!

I ended the deluxe edition of my ‘Out of the Dark’ album with a worship song that illustrates this process perfectly.

“Shame and depression And all anxieties They have no power over me Addiction and strongholds And every disease They have no power over me”

Even as I recorded those words, I felt shame. But as I repeated those words over and over, the shame lifted. Sometimes our behavior follows our acts of faith. For reasons we may not fully understand, there is great power in God’s Word, and in worship. When I least feel like opening my mouth to praise or proclaim Truth is when it is most important for me to do so. By magnifying Jesus, our circumstances grow smaller in comparison. In those moments when we feel like all signs of life are gone, proclaim the breath of heaven into that situation, and watch God bring those dry bones back to life.

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This series touched my life to the core. I know it can and will touch you reading this. We all go through different experiences in our lives, these experiences and how we handle them tells us alot about our faith, where we are and how much we have grown with each encounter.

Father God today I ask you to help us speak things into life.  Teach us to rebuke negative energy and in the midst of our storms to always count on you.  Amen.

 

Prove Me Wrong

The 5th devotional in Mandisa’s series is called Prove Me Wrong.

Scripture:

“The apostles did not stop teaching the people. They continued to tell the Good News—that Jesus is the Messiah. They did this every day in the Temple area and in people’s homes.” Acts 5:42 ERV

 

“How long will you forget me, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you refuse to accept me? How long must I wonder if you have forgotten me? How long must I feel this sadness in my heart? How long will my enemy win against me? Lord my God, look at me and give me an answer. Make me feel strong again, or I will die. If that happens, my enemy will say, “I beat him!” He will be so happy that he won. But I trust in your faithful love, Lord. I will be happy when you save me. Then I will sing to the Lord because he was so good to me.” Psalms 13:1-6 ERV

 

“Lord, don’t criticize me when you are angry. Don’t discipline me in anger. You have hurt me. You punished me and hurt me deeply. You punished me severely, so my whole body is sore. I sinned, and now all my bones hurt. My guilt is like a heavy burden. I am sinking beneath its weight. I did a foolish thing, and now I have infected sores that stink. I am bent and bowed down. I am depressed all day long. I am burning with fever, and my whole body hurts. I hurt so much I cannot feel anything. My pounding heart makes me scream! My Lord, you heard my groaning. You can hear my sighs. My heart is pounding. My strength is gone, and I am going blind. Because of my sickness, my friends and neighbors will not visit me; my family will not come near me. My enemies say bad things about me. They are spreading lies and rumors. They talk about me all the time. But I am like a deaf man and cannot hear. I am like someone who cannot speak. I am like those who cannot hear what people are saying about them. I cannot answer to prove my enemies wrong. Lord, you must defend me. Lord my God, you must speak for me. That’s why I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies smile at my pain. Full of pride, they will laugh if I stumble and fall.” I know I am guilty of doing wrong. I cannot forget my pain. Lord, I told you about the evil I have done. I am sorry for my sin. But my enemies are alive and healthy, and they have told many lies. I did nothing but good, and they paid me back with evil. I try to do what is right, but that only makes them turn against me. Lord, don’t leave me. My God, stay close to me. Come quickly and help me. My Lord, you are the one who saves me.” Psalms 38:1-22 ERV

 

Prove Me Wrong

Devotional by Mandisa

“..for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart. The LORD has already appointed him to be the leader of his people…” 1 Samuel 13:14b NLT

Do you ever wonder what made David “a man after God’s own heart”? I realize that Jesus is only one perfect Man who ever walked the earth, but come on! David? The same man who used his authority to have an affair on a woman, got her pregnant, and then had her husband (who was fighting in his army) murdered? That David was the one God says was a man after His own heart?

Admittedly, while I can think of many things that would cause God to bestow this incredibly honoring title on David, I suspect that one of those reasons is that David walked in close relationship with God. I believe that the best relationships are those of complete honesty and common sharing of feelings. If David did nothing else, he was certainly honest with God.

After watching my friend Lakisha die, my hope was deferred, my heart was sick, and I was anything but honest with my feelings toward God. I shut down and ignored Him. I can learn a lot from David. Maybe you can too.

1 Be honest with emotions—David was regularly grumbling to the Lord about things he felt God and other people did to him. I’m not suggesting we make a habit of complaining, but if we’re going to do it, it seems to me that it is better to voice it to God than anyone else.

2 Be quick to repent—David made a lot of mistakes in his life, but when he was confronted with it, he was very quick to admit his wrong, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness without wallowing in shame.

3 Be joyful in praise—David was a worshipper! It seems that he was always dancing, singing, and loudly proclaiming the goodness of God. I imagine that he’ll be a blast to hang out with in heaven!

I was still very much in the dark when I wrote “Prove Me Wrong,” a song that expresses my heartbreak at Kisha’s passing. Interestingly, months later, when I was out of the dark and listened again, I felt as if the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Mandisa, you challenged me to prove you wrong. I just did.” I can’t help but wonder if finally bringing my broken heart to God allowed Him to heal it and usher in the grace He longed for me to have. I think David was onto something!

Do you carry any anger, resentment, or disappointment towards God? I encourage you to take some time as you read these scriptures to honestly express your heart to Him. He can handle it. He might even delight in it and see those who do it as men and women after His own heart.

 

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I wanted to add this:

 

 

Psalm 51 New King James Version (NKJV)

A Prayer of Repentance

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

51 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just [a]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Meditate on Davids words, just as he asked God to be forgiven of his transgressions, we should as well.
Now repeat:
Lord I repent of all the sins in my life. I repent of the sins that I know that I have committed, I repent of the sins that I don’t know of.  If there is any sin that I don’t know of, that I am unaware of, dear lord please bring it to my mind that I may repent of that sin as well.  Please forgive me Oh Lord of any pride, rebellion, vanity, jealousy, judging, distrust, prejudice, dishonesty, theft, greed, spiritual adultery or fornication, or any spiritual murder.In the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit Amen.

 

Here is the Salvation Poem from the show Superbook which I watch with my kids to help them learn certain themes in the Bible:

The Salvation Poem
©
Jesus, You died upon a cross
And rose again to save the lost
Forgive me now of all my sin
Come be my Savior, Lord, and Friend
Change my life and make it new
And help me, Lord, to live for You

Good News

Good News is the 4th devotional from Mandisa’s series.  As I stated yesterday I will post the remaining of her devotional series. some with a narrative some, as is.

 

the word:

 “The Lord is not being slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to change their ways and stop sinning.” 2 Peter 3:9 ERV

 

 

“We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say.” 1 John 5:14 ERV

 

 

“The apostles did not stop teaching the people. They continued to tell the Good News—that Jesus is the Messiah. They did this every day in the Temple area and in people’s homes.”Acts 5:42 ERV

 

Good News

 

Devotional by Mandisa

I prayed for my brother John’s salvation for decades. I even wrote a song about it on my ‘Overcomer’ album. The bridge of “Dear John” says,

“It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts
Not a record of your faults
He gave His life to pay it all
He loves you just the way you are
You are forgiven by His scars
Just open up your heart”

There were days when I would pray with boldness and authority concerning John. Then, there were days when I wondered if my prayers were falling on deaf ears. I knew that God desired for my brother to have hope for eternity even more than I longed for it. But at times, I wavered in unbelief. After my friend Lakisha died from cancer, I stopped praying for anything.

I figured that God had His own plans, so He could just leave me out of it. It was in that season of dark hopelessness that my brother called me up and essentially asked, “What must I do to be saved?” On July 13, 2016 I led my brother in the prayer of salvation, and in an instant, John became your brother too! I immediately recorded a video and posted it on all of my social media sites proclaiming the good news that he who was lost had been found!

That’s the thing about good news—we can’t wait to share it. And somehow, hearing it shouted from the rooftops encourages those of us walking a similar road. My prayer is that, by sharing John’s story, it will build the hope of many of you who are standing in the gap for your loved one whose salvation you are interceding for.

As your sister in Christ, I want to assure you that your heavenly Father hears your prayers and is working beyond what your human eyes can see. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. Keep loving. Keep sharing. Keep believing. And when that day comes where your faith becomes sight, tell the world all about your “Good News”!

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We all have those loved one’s we pray for their “Good News”.  I always share the good news of when my husband accepted Christ.  What I couldn’t do in 12 years being with him, God used a tragedy and our children to take care of that in 12 months.  During those 12 years I prayed for him, but I rejoiced and shared the good news when he did finally take that step.  When someone you love takes this path, its a blessing for that person, but also for the person who spent many moons praying over that person.  It is not easy, it is hard work.  sometimes we wonder what if….but when it happens boy oh boy do we celebrate and feel blessed as well.

 

Can I tell you something….In the bible we see this as well…. When Mary went to share her news to Elizabeth, Elizabeth also celebrated Mary’s good news.

Luke 1:42-44 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

42 In a loud voice she said to Mary, “God has blessed you more than any other woman. And God has blessed the baby you will have. 43 You are the mother of my Lord, and you have come to me! Why has something so good happened to me? 44 When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy.

Not only did she acknowledge how Mary has been blessed, her baby (John the Baptist) from the womb also rejoiced.

Sometimes when other people receive a blessing, we get happy and their blessing blesses us. Just like in this case where Mandisa’s brother salvation was a blessing to her, my husband’s seeking salvation was also a blessing to my self…. the very things you are praying for for someone else, or even when someone shares a blessing with you can be a blessing to you as well.

 

I enjoy the children’s services in our church, not because we (my co teacher and I)  are the ones in charge now, or because my kids (all of the students in the class ) are actively involved, but because we can see your joy, your passion in your worship and praise.  Every Sunday I watch from my seat the boys play the instruments alongside the musicians.  My heart fills me up with joy.  They are so moved, worshiping God with their instruments they make me feel blessed.  Not just the boys, every service I see some of the girls singing and dancing along, I see some of the students playing their percussion  instruments, singing along worshiping God.  That is a blessing to even want to praise and worship the lord.  Their blessings get me excited and become my blessings.  I can relate to Elizabeth’s reaction to Mary’s blessings.  Sometimes it’s not your own blessing that can bless you, it is someone else’s blessings that moves you.

 

Father today I thank you for my blessings.  I also thank you for the blessings you give others.  For those blessings also brings joy to my soul, even though those blessings are not my own, but the joy of knowing that you still answer, you still move, you still hear us, you still respond, you still bless us, blesses me.  Thank you. Amen.

Nehemiah Unit study

I have been pretty busy studying the word and preparing unit studies for my students, which has left me more focus on being prepared for them and not blogging as often as I had liked to….

So I will be posting some of my unit studies.

 

Kids Ministry: Nehemiah Study Guide

 

Subject: Working together for God’s purpose.

 

A few weeks ago we began our discussion on Nehemiah.  Within the next 2 weeks we will complete our discussion and finish rebuilding our Lego Model of Jerusalem and the walls. Last time we also learned that Nehemiah was concerned about God’s reputation. Jerusalem was God’s city where His people lived (Nehemiah 1:9). It was in ruins and Nehemiah wanted to do something about it so God’s name would be honored and exalted in the land.

 

Verse of the day:  Nehemiah 1:10 “They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.”

 

Nehemiah’s Story:

Nehemiah’s name means comforted by Jehovah…

 

  • His Character: He was a humble servant of the Lord whom God allowed to use to lead his people to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.  He was faithful to God. He overcame danger and those whom mocked him to complete a task for God. Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the king of Persia. Nehemiah asked the king for permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls. Nehemiah led and organized the people to complete the job in only fifty-two days with God’s help! Nehemiah was a fearless and caring leader who trusted God and always gave Him credit for his success.

 

  • His sorrow:  to see the city of Jerusalem in ruins.

 

  • His joy: To rebuild the walls and city of Jerusalem.

 

  • Key scriptures: Book of Nehemiah.

 

Nehemiah is a Jewish man still living in Susa working for the king. Susa is located in Persia.  Nehemiah lived in Persia because most Jewish people had been forced from their homes when Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C. Nehemiah’s brother Hanani and some other Jewish men came to visit Nehemiah, they told him: the temple was fine, but the Gates were burnt to ashes and walls were crumbled. Nehemiah shows us what we can do as believers when our hearts are broken. Nehemiah shows us that prayer enables believers to see that God answers by giving wisdom to know what to ask for and see His provision and His hand of blessing in our lives.

Lesson Q& A

 

  1. Who gave God’s people in Persia permission to return to their homeland? Cyrus
  2. What was their first task [Ezra 1:1-5]? , rebuild the House of God [the temple]
  3. What problems did God’s people face in the rebuilding process? [Ezra 4:4-5] Their enemies mocked them, frightened them, and discouraged them.
  4. Who was Ezra? What was his job?   [Ezra 7:1-10] a priest, teacher of the law.
  5. Where did Nehemiah live?   [Nehemiah 1:1 ]   Susa,
  6. How did Nehemiah respond to the news that Jerusalem was in ruins? (He wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed)
  7. What are things that Nehemiah prays? (Reminded God of His promises, confessed his/the peoples’ sins, asked God to give him success as he asked the king for help)
  8. What was Nehemiah’s job? He was a cup bearer.
  9. How many chapters in the book of Nehemiah? 13
  10. What news made Nehemiah sad? [Nehemiah 1:3-4] Jerusalem’s walls were in ruins, the people had given up on the rebuilding the wall.
  11. What did Nehemiah ask the king? Nehemiah asked the king:  To return to Jerusalem to rebuild it. (2:5) for letters that would provide him safety as he travelled to Jerusalem. (2:7) A letter for Asaph asking for wood from the king’s forest to build the walls and gates and for a place for him to stay while doing the work. (2:8)
  12. What did king Artaxerxes give Nehemiah permission to do? [Nehemiah 2:1-9] Appoint new leaders, organize the rebuilding and teach the people God’s Laws.
  13. Who were the enemies of God’s people? Nehemiah 2:10 these men [Sanballat and Tobiah] were enemies of God’s people.
  14. Did the Leaders of Jerusalem agree to help Nehemiah? When Nehemiah told the leaders why he was in Jerusalem they agreed to begin the great work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:18)
  15. What danger threatened the rebuilding process? [Nehemiah 4:7-9] Their enemies were planning to attack them; they were weary and discouraged.
  16. What was governor Nehemiah’s solution? Nehemiah 4:16-23 Guards were posted and workers were armed with weapons
  17. How long did it take to rebuild the walls? Nehemiah 6:15 – 52 days.
  18. How did God help Nehemiah? (The king gave him permission to return to rebuild, provided for him and protected him)
  19. Who helped rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem? Nehemiah 3 Eliashib the High priests and his fellow priests (Sheep Gate), The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them. The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs   (FAMILIES WORKED TOGETHER TO FIX THE WALLS AND GATES) The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa,. The Jeshanah[b] Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah—Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth—places under the authority of the governor of Trans-Euphrates the Broad wall was fixed by Goldsmiths and perfume makers with the help of Shallum with the help of his daughters. (Yes even girls helped).  The Levites & priests helped.
  20. Who didn’t work? Neh. 3:5:  (Nobles of Tekoa)
  21. How was the work done? Orderly (Laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place-) Zealously 3:20
  22. What promise does God give His people if they humbly pray and confess their sins? Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. “and if my people who are called by my name become humble and pray, and look for me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
  23. What did Nehemiah do when his enemies mocked him and plotted to hurt him? Read Nehemiah 4:1-4; 6:9. Nehemiah Prayed.
  24. What did Nehemiah tell the people would be their strength? Read Nehemiah 8:10 “the joy of the Lord will make you strong.”
  25. Does everything always go smoothly when we obey God? Read John 16:33. “I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”
  26. What should we remember if things seem to go wrong? Read Matthew 14:27. But Jesus quickly spoke to them. He said, “Don’t worry! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.”
  27. Many years after Nehemiah lived, another man in the Bible was cruelly mocked. Can you guess His name? Read John 19:1-3  and Matthew 27:37-44. [Jesus]

Recap:

Nehemiah was concerned about God’s reputation. Jerusalem was God’s city where His people lived (Nehemiah 1:9). It was in ruins and Nehemiah wanted to do something about it so God’s name would be honored and exalted in the land.

 

Nehemiah shows us that we can pray and talk to God about the problem and ask for His help. Nehemiah 2:1-3 which is what Nehemiah did, he prayed then asked the king for help, once God guided him with the specific things to ask the king for. Because Nehemiah had prayed and asked God for help, God gave him wisdom to know what to ask for and he was able to see God’s gracious hand on his life through the King’s response to help him, Not only did the king allow him to have letters for the governors throughout the land who would protect him as he traveled the king sent army officers and cavalry along with him.

When Nehemiah told the leaders why he was in Jerusalem they agreed to begin the great work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:18)  Together they rebuilt the walls, the Gates and the City of Jerusalem.  It took them 52 days, they faced obstacles, they faced challenges, they were threatened, but they prayed.  They had faith in God to provide for them and answer their prayers despite any obstacle that came up.  In 52 days they completed this task, because they put God first in all they did, they trusted in each other, they worked together and most importantly because this was God’s will for them to do.

Locations of the Gates:

  • Sheep gate: Located in the northeast corner of the city, called the sheep gate because it was where the sheep which were to be sacrificed in the temple courts were kept.
  • Fish gate: The Fisherman of Galilee and the coast brought their fish into the city through this gate.
  • Jeshanah gate: In Hebrew means the Old Gate; located in the northwest corner this gate represents the old ways of truth.
  • Valley Gate: Located in the Southwestern corner of Jerusalem.
  • Dung Gate: In this gate is where all the garbage and corrupt things of the city were brought to the garbage dump in the Hinnom Valley outside of Jerusalem.
  • Fountain Gate: Located at the end of the pool of Siloam, low in the valley in the south.
  • East gate: It is on the eastern side, opposite the temple area and facing the rising sun. The gate that speaks of hope and expectation, the gate through which the return of the e messiah will enter the city of Jerusalem.
  • Inspection gate: In Hebrew means the appointed place.  Where Things would get inspected before entering.
  • Horse gate: located in the easternmost point in the city wall; a gate through which one could reach the Kidron Valley
  • Water Gate: led to the main source of Jerusalem’s water, the Gihon spring.

Nehemiah’s Legacy:

Praise God: that nothing is impossible with him.

Offer thanks: When working together for God’s Glory all things will work itself out despite any obstacles faced

Confess: Any sins directly to God that interferes with his will

Ask God: To Guide us like he did with Nehemiah, like Nehemiah ask for forgiveness, for direction, for understanding and even for words to be used at any given situation.

Pray: Heavenly Father, we praise You that we can come to You for all of our needs. Help us wait patiently for Your answers. Father God I thank you for all that you do in my life.  Father I ask for forgiveness for my sins, the sins of my family, the sins of my church, the sins of my friends and the sins o my community.  I ask dear lord that you guide us in all that we do, so that it can be done for your glory and your will.  Father I ask that you lead us, even when opposition comes before us.  I ask that you guide our thoughts and our words when facing people like Tobiah and Sanballat, for we know we will face many people like them who want to deter us from doing your will.  I humbly thank you for your love, your mercy and your forgiveness. God, help us trust in You whenever we face difficult times. Please fill us Your joy, which is our strength!  Praise be our Lord God, for no one is mightier than you. Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross and forgiving my sins. Help me share Your love and kindness with others In the name of the Father, In the Name of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Awareness – day 7

 

As I mentioned in the previous post I am currently reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled

Seeking Wisdom‘ If you want to read the full devotional click on the hyperlink. If not just wait daily and for the next  few days for the completion of the 7 day devotional. I will post their devotional with my own reflection piece.

These Past 6 days these devotionals touched on: Awareness, Assistance, Advice, Assumptions, Acceptance & Application. Today’s subject will be on Awareness.

Associated scripture with today’s devotional:

 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

 

Jeremiah is one of my favorite prophets. He prayed often. He is also known as the prophet who cried often. There is a song which I sing at church which speaks of that.

The song is in Spanish it goes like this

“Como Jeremías, oraba y lloraba

así quiero yo, orar y llorar.//

//Dios le contestaba la petición que hacia,

asi quiero yo que conteste la mía.//“

In English it roughly translates to:

Just like Jeremiah, prayed and cried

That is how I want to pray and cry.

God answered the petitions he made,

That is how I want god to answer mine.

His prayers were always answered. He lived knowing that God would answer his petitions. He had faith. He believed. He trusted. When he prayed he didn’t say I hope. He was determined he said God I know you can….

We should all pray like Jeremiah. With so much faith, trust, passion, fervor and belief in the one true and living God.

This passion, this trust, this much faith and belief leads me to today’s last devotional from the series.

Day 7 Mala Ministries:

Affirmation

Be reminded today that God knows, understands and even cherishes your diligent pursuit of wisdom.  As you seek, He is waiting to be found, and wishes to reveal to you “great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Our desperate search for answers can sometimes blind us to the ultimate answer – the source of all things. As we read earlier this week, King Solomon was wise to acknowledge the source of His blessings. If we believe whole-heartedly in the source, there is then no room for fear or doubt, for we know that “from Him and through Him and for Him are all things” (Romans 11:36).

With the pursuit of a goal comes obstacles, challenges, mistakes to be made and lessons to be learned. This journey is no different. We have learned over the last six days that the process of seeking wisdom entails being aware, asking for assistance, receiving advice, being cautious with assumptions, practicing acceptance, and perfecting application – all these actions must be performed deliberately and diligently, with focus and intention. That being the case, another “to-do” may not seem appealing; but you will be happy to know that when it comes to affirmation, the only action required is that we receive it with open hearts.

So to you, friend, God is speaking, loud and clear. He tells you that you can stand affirmed, assured and secure in the knowledge that though the answers to some questions remain uncertain, His supply of wisdom, strength and guidance is certain. It is vast and abundant, and knows no bounds. That promise, as stated in Jeremiah 33:3, is a clear picture of His limitless resource of wisdom, which is yours to claim.

My closing prayer.

Father God most high, only you are worthy of so much praise. You know created the heavens and the earth. You who created man and the animals. You who are the one true living God. Guide me in supplying wisdom, strength and guidance to those in need deer lord. Guide me to the be more like Jeremiah in my prayers dear lord. I will call to you with all my might so that just like you answered Jeremiah you can answer me. I will always keep my eyes, my ears, my mind and my heart open for you dear lord, willing and ready to receive your blessings and word. In the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Acceptance – day 5

 

 

As I mentioned in the previous post I am currently reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled: Seeking Wisdom‘ If you want to read the full devotional click on the hyperlink. If not just wait daily  for the next  few days for the completion of the 7 day devotional. I will post their devotional with my own reflection piece.

Associated scripture with today’s devotional:

 

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”

Ecclesiastes 7:14 ESV

 

One of my biggest problems is learning to accept when I can no longer do anything or seek answers to a specific question troubling me. Some battles are worth fighting, others you just need to learn to accept that it is what it is. The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept ones given circumstance.

This brings me to today’s devotional from this 7 day plan.

Day 5 Mala Ministries:

Acceptance

King Solomon came to be known as the wisest king who ever lived. Even with such a title and an abundance of wealth, he continually acknowledged the God of Israel as the source of all his blessings. But his acknowledgement of God didn’t stop there; in Ecclesiastes 7:14, we see that he also acknowledged the sovereignty of God when it came to the occurrence of unfavorable circumstances. Rain or shine, He acknowledged that God’s permission was extended to allow one as well as the other; so “no one [could] discover anything about their future.”

This concept of pure, humble acceptance was also evident in the life and character of Job. He was abundantly wealthy, and in the blink of an eye, it was all taken away from him. His response? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In this life, we may ride the waves of joy for one season, only to be hit with storms of despair and grief in the next. And while some situations call for drastic action, some others only call for godly acceptance. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon states that to be wise in one’s own eyes is foolishness. Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.”

To accept our lack of understanding and knowledge is to also accept the sovereign will and plan of God, which in most cases, is a mystery. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

Ask God today to help you reach this level of wisdom, which exemplifies godly acceptance. In the midst of struggle, may these lines by Reinhold Niebuhr be your prayer:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

My conclusion:

Holy father, god of mercy god of love, I lift my hands in praise to you. Thank you for the challenges I face, thank you for the love, thank you for the lessons. Thank you for teaching me when to accept certain circumstances and when to challenge them. Lord thank you for the guidance. Thank you. Amen.

 

 

Advice – day 3

 

As I mentioned in the previous post I am currently reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled:  Seeking Wisdom‘ If you want to read the full devotional click on the hyperlink. If not just wait daily for the next  few days for the completion of the 7 day devotional. I will post their devotional with my own reflection piece.

Associated scripture with today’s devotional:

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

Proverbs 12:15 ESV

 

Socrates once said “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”

Chinese Proverb Lao Tzu said “The wise man is one who, knows, what he does not know”

A Chinese proverb said “

“The wise man knows he knows nothing, the fool thinks he knows all.”

Plato once said “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

In other words we all think we know it all, but we don’t. It takes a wise man to realize that we do not know it all. We become fools when we speak just to speak. When one speak of certain subjects not knowing what one is talking about that is when we become the fool. Yet a wise man asks for Advice, and listens to the advice.

We have all been in situations where we needed advice, yet did not seek it. Not because we didn’t know where to turn, sometimes it’s pride, sometimes it’s you don’t want people in your affairs, sometimes the reasoning is pretty foolish.

It is important to ask for advice from time to time. With that said, This brings me to the devotional I read.

 

 

Day 3 Mala Ministries:

Advice

In a “hooray for me” and “heck with you” culture, we are always looking for self-fulfillment. Life seems to be filled with the pressure of academic requirements in our youth, societal acceptance when we are young adults, parental approval in life and career choices and peer recognition in our careers. The grade always seems to be a few notches higher than where we are. This keeps us in the endless pursuit of seeking and searching.

Let one of those dimensions of search today be for advice and counsel. Maybe it’s the old man at the corner bakery who serves you your morning tea. It could be a colleague who is three levels below you in the corporate hierarchy. It may be closer to home and in your inner-circle. The wisest thing you can do for yourself is to look around at the wisdom you may have ignored, because culture told you that it was in a far-off place, and tradition forced you to look at someone older.

Pray that God will allow you to be open to the counsel of the godly who are already in place. He equips the team before He selects them to play. Make a decision today to stop hearing the world and to start listening to the Word.

An older gentleman once asked Dr. Ravi Zacharias, considered one of the foremost voices of reason in the world, what he was doing. He responded with remarks regarding activity ahead and achievements behind. The older gentleman calmly replied, “No, you are making memories, so make them good ones.” That is advice that we should all be receiving and taking to heart.

Each day is a new day to seek and search, learn and leap. However, we need to pause every so often and ask ourselves what memories we are creating today so that tomorrow, we can look at yesterday and be grateful for the lessons hidden in those memories.  Time is indeed a canvas and the advice of others becomes the paint that can draw a clearer picture of what can be.

 

My closing:

Father God I love and thank you more than words could ever express. Today I glorify your name most high. I thank you for all that you do for me. Thank you for those you place in my path whom are willing and able to give advice. I find strength and comfort that these individuals whom you have provided knowledge and are of a blessing when I seek them for guidance and advice. Father may you bless them as well as provide us all with knowledge so we can be able to provide assistance and advice to one another since our knowledge comes from our experiences which we experience.

Amen.

 

Awareness – day 1

Currently I am reading another devotional series.

This is a 7 day devotional entitled: Seeking Wisdom‘.  If you want to read the full devotional click on the link. If not just wait daily for the next 7 days I will post their devotional with my own reflection pieces and prayers. I try my best to always include a prayer at the end of each post. I do so because prayer is just so important in ones walk. It is our direct line of connection to God.

Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.”

Proverbs 4:24-26 ESV

 

This scripture is associated with the devotional. Before we get in to the message from the devotional, let’s look at the scripture. What do you take from this verse? What do you see. We need to be mindful of what we say, what come out of our mouths and how we say certain things is what I get from the first part of this verse. Then in the second part where the proverb tells us to look forward and look straight, is a reminder to me that no matter what we have been through in our lives we need to keep moving forward. The last part of this verse to me speaks volumes of how we walk in our walk. Think about what your doing, where you are going, why you are going that way, all the while looking straight ahead and moving forward. It’s the only way to surely know where one is going.

Did I loose you? Have you ever said or done something you regretted? We all have. This verse is gentle reminder that we need to be mindful in what we say and do, and how to keep focused, aware and know our surroundings and where we plan on going. My mistakes of my past, well that’s where they are in my past. As I walk my walk I need to be diligent in my actions, my speech, my everything not because of who is watching but because of My desire and passion to join God when my time comes. My words, my actions and my heart need to my in sync with the same goal. Living a just and holy as possible life so I can be with my creator. I need to focus On my destination, while looking forward to arriving to my destination, all the while reminding my self of where i came from, what i have done, what i never want to repeat so I can stay focused on looking ahead, walking forward.

We need to be aware!

This brings me to the devotional I read.

 

Day 1 Mala Ministries:

 

Awareness

In the pursuit of fame and in the search for significance, the material world consumes our pursuits and fatigues our desires. Every morning, people wake up and evaluate their past hope and their present situation, creating a mortal comparison that leaves them feeling more empty than full. The question you may have this morning is why your own efforts leave you wanting more. The answer is in the word of God, before the world of God. He who created the heavens and the earth sought it wise to make Him the only end of all pursuit.

A. W. Tozer once said that God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. Today, as you plan for the week ahead, reflect on the word of God and cherish through prayer the search for His wisdom; this is the correct use of the knowledge He gave you. To be an agent of wisdom, you must not exhaust yourself by seeking a new definition of His will; rather, enjoy yourself by showing a new demonstration of His will.

Pablo Cassals was a world famous cello player, and at the height of his fame, was asked why he kept practicing. His response was that he thought he was making daily progress. Genius has been described as the ability to focus on the task at hand. Becoming aware of your strengths and limitations is only possible through a deep awareness of God and His purpose for your life. David, the shepherd king of Israel, said: “I am constantly aware of your unfailing love. Awareness of this unending love is the beginning of wisdom.”

To be aware requires focus, and to be focused requires awareness. As you meditate today, ask God to help you become aware of His majesty. Your mind will open to possibilities and probabilities that you never even dreamed about. May your eyes be closed to all that distracts and your heart open to the abundance of His provision, which will set you on a new course.

My closing:

What a beautiful devotional about awareness. Just as this proverb reminded us. We need to be aware and focused. We need to always ask God for assistance, open to the possibilities to come. Your eyes need to be focused to the final goal. Reject distractions and anyone or anything that is leading you to deter back. No matter what happened in your past, when you trust in God, he will set you on the path you need to go to receive his glory and blessings.

Stay focused, stay aware, keep looking forward, remember where you want to go, remember and be mindful to what can take you off course, don’t fall in to temptation nor distraction, keep your eyes looking forward, trust in God and stay on your path with God.

Father God I thank you for another day, another opportunity to glorify you. I thank you for the air I breathe, for my ears that can hear, my eyes which can see, and all my senses which allow me to be aware of your majestic glory. I know my lord I am. It perfect. I have sinned before, I will no longer live in my past. Help me lord to keep my past just there so I can focus on you my lord and my walk with you. Help me lord to be aware of my surroundings, actions and words. Help me remain focused on looking ahead dear Lord so that I do not stray from your Path. I pray for whoever is reading this who needs this guidance in their lives. Lord I am asking that allow me to intercede for them in prayer, may these words, this prayer touch their hearts, their eyes, their ears, their soul so they too can be aware, look ahead, and continue their walk with you. In the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit Amen.

 

Success

WINSTON CHURCHILL once said “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. ”

We all have pivotal moments in our lives where we felt weak, unable to complete a task, like we are failing.  Yet Churchill reminds us that our success does not necessarily come from the final product.  Success comes from our ability, to pretty much learn from our failures, regardless if we failed once or one thousand times.  The key thing is to remain faithful, trust in what you are doing, have hope, believe, and find strength and enthusiasm.  Our success is a a combination of our strengths and our weaknesses.  Our failures are the reasons we can appreciate our success.

As we read the scripture we know that God wants us to succeed in life.  We know that by spiritually growing and using our faith & trust in the Lord we are given the strength we need  to fulfill His will for our lives.  This is where our true success comes from.   Relying on God’s words in the midst of any storms in order to achieve one’s success.

This post will feature bible versus on Where do we see where God gives us strength to succeed, Enthusiasm,  faith, trust and success.

” data-hasqtip=”0″ aria-describedby=”qtip-0″>1 Peter 3:13

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?

” data-hasqtip=”1″>Ephesians 6:7

 

With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

” data-hasqtip=”2″>Romans 12:11

 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;