Happiness

The world is looking for happiness, yet they are looking for happiness in all the wrong places (wealth fame etc).
This was from a piece of a recent sermon by Pastor Hagee.
I was listening to his service in my living room and this struck out.
He referenced Luke 12;15 [15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”]
We can easily get carried away with our possessions and our quest to happiness in life.
Trust me I know.
I tend to get so fixated on my “projects” that sometimes even though for those brief moments of joy, I get carried away and end up with a surplus of items.
I like to craft with my kids.
My kids have found an affinity to making things.
So what do I do, I buy a cricut.
I turn everything in to a project.
I want to make them everything.
home made cards, home made banners, home made party decors, home made holiday decor.
(I have spent and saved unequivocally the same amount lol).
My kids have found an affinity in painting.
So what do I do, I order canvases galore, paint, stencils and paint brushes
So what do I have? An Art gallery in their bedroom preserving those few minutes of happiness in self reflection and creativity.
I like to read.
I like to read thematically.
So what do I Have? A mountain pile of books to read, and a kindle/nook devices filled with books at my disposal to read.
I get lost in my books, I get transfixed in my books, I get happy reading.
Yet I have enough books to donate to a few libraries.
Many of us experience this, we try to fill a void with anything.
Books, toys, gaming devices, virtual worlds, alcohol, substances, fame, wealth and money.
These are the wrong places to seek happiness. The happiness we find are only temporary and short lived.
Stop using these fillers to fill the places in your heart that doesn’t belong to them.
Your happiness can be filled by the Alpha and The Omega, I AM, Yahweh, Yeshuah, Lord Almighty.
Be careful of these possessions filling your time.
They can hinder your growth, your walk and your relationship with Christ and your loved ones.
Father God I thank you today for your love. I thank you for your Mercy. I thank you for filling the voids in my heart with your words, wisdom kindness and love. Everything I have, every ounce of Joy I receive is all because you made it possible and for that I am eternally grateful. I do not want to be filled with an abundance of possessions which will only provide temporary joy. Instead I want the water that gives everlasting life and joy which only comes from you. Father I ask you to keep me grounded, keep me focused, despite the distractions. Amen
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By My Spirit

“…Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”
(Zechariah 4:6, NIV)
I grew up watching wrestling.
Die Hard WWE (formally WWF) fan.
I always liked the strong powerful, tactful wrestlers.
Those whom were proficient and strong submission skills.
Those whom were bigger, stronger, muscular since all this in the wrestling world embodies not might, but power.
In baseball, fans follow the power hitters of the teams.
They give their all, their might and their strength in the game.
In basketball, we love the player who can shoot long range 3 point jump-shots and who’s offense skills are amazing on the court.
In football we rely on the speed, strength, endurance and power of the quarterback to lead our teams to the Superbowl.
In each of these instances what we fail to realize is that its not our might, our talent, our build, our strength nor our power for us to get things done.
It is by the Spirit of the Lord.
We need to put our trust in His spirit.
He can provide us with guidance in any thing we think of.
We need to realize that his spirit also resides in us.
It gave us our first breath when he breathed life in to Adam.
In Hebrew “ruach” means spirit.
I recently posted this from the Hebrew words series from one of the devotionals I was reading at the time.
In today’s verse it means breath.
When God breathes in our direction we can have amazing things unfold in our lives. Things won’t happen because of how talented we are, how are build is, how pretty we are or the people we are affiliated, it happens because God took a breath in your direction. God shifted things in to place.
With his every breath, promises are fulfilled, Healing comes, promotions, restoration they all come our way with his grace and love and just one deep breath.
We should stop depending on our might, our prowess, our physical abilities and carnal talents. What we should remember is by the Holy spirit, by the breath of God, by his will, is how things well get done. When we put all our trust and faith in God, the impossible suddenly becomes possible. When you remain faithful and trust in him, things will suddenly begin falling in to place. Your lives will begin to transform, healing will begin to take place, things that were broken, unfix able will suddenly become fixed.
The breath of God can fix and change things.
Father God thank you for breathing in my direction. Thank you for the restoration of my life. Thank you for peace. Thank you for healing. Thank you for the wholeness i feel within my body and mind. Today I receive you and your gifts. Today I will not rely on my own strength but in your breath, in your power in your might. Amen.

Lee Strobel’s the The Case for Christ

Lee Strobel’s the The Case for Christ.
When I received this book I was about to start a devotional series.
Something about this title caught my eye.
Something familiar about the author’s name caught my eye.
At the time I couldn’t pin point where I recognized the author, but as I delved it I realized aha, I have read some of his Articles in the past.
I have been raised in church my whole life.
I did have a few years where I ended up steering away.
My trials and tribulations were getting the best of me.
My trials and tribulations discouraged me.
I didn’t stop going because of gossip, or anything.
I stopped going because of life’s circumstances.
I moved away from the area I grew up.
Traveling back and forth without a car would have taken forever to get to my church.
I tried visiting other churches that were “near” but it would have still taken long to get to church.
I started streaming services to somewhat get the church feel, but that wasn’t enough.
Years later after having children, I returned home.
My circumstances, school, work obligations and lack of transportation and time kept me away.
now things are different.
My kids need this just as much as I do.
So I decided to read the Case for Christ.
I will not go into details, but in sum each chapter has a featured case study. The logistics of how that case either won or lost as far as evidence/approach and the specialists involved are concerned were applied to the Bible. The author wanted to know if you can prove specific events, if you can corroborate who Christ really is in a similar manner.
I found the reading to be rather interesting.
I found arguments and scientific evidences to be quite compelling and sound.
Historical evidences were contested as well as the credibility of the biblical texts.
At the end of this book I found myself more spiritually grounded.
I found my self academically happy since I find myself always researching articles and journals on several subjects of interest.
Questions that may have arisen in my life in the past, and even when i thought of circumstances in the past that I found were iffy, were contested, validated, and argued.
I was pleased.
I did exactly what the author asked me to do as a reader.
Have an Open Mind.
Look at the evidence.
Make your own private verdict.
The Verdict is in.
……
I feel a deeper, better understanding and have been inspired even more in my own personal walk with Christ.
Father God I thank you for allowing me to stumble literally upon this book. Your timing was perfect. This was not by chance that this book fell into my possession. I know I was meant to pick it up and delve deep and read. I thank you for this because I feel that this journey has given me profound understanding. This journey has allowed me to get closer to you. This journey has allowed me to think more. This journey is also allowing me to share this knowledge with others. Thank you. Amen.

​ Who is your master?

Who is your master?

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve
God and mammon.” – (Matthew 6:24)
When you walk your walk with Christ, you need to know one thing for sure, that is, you cannot walk in the ways of the past.
We cannot be lukewarm.
We cannot serve God yet still run back to the old worldly ways which are not christian like.
Jesus emphasizes faith in God rather than in possessions.
Have you been there?
The other day we were invited to a Baby Shower.
The invited guests to this venue were people, whom in another lifetime, we would have enjoyed our time with.
Instead, my husband and I felt out of place, awkward and not wanting to be there.
We felt bad beause this celebration was to celebrate the new life to come.
The problem though was that with this celebration came a crowd whom were focused more on drinking, smoking and not necessarily on the reason for the venue.
We were with our children at this venue.
The invited guests were focused on getting high, getting drunk and dancing the night away.
We were focused on our children.
The day of the shower we had just gotten out of church to then go to this venue.
Our focus our priorities were different.
We were focused on building relationships with family.
That did not happen at all.
We left before any of our relatives and the mama to be even showed up.
I decided to do what was in the best interest of our children and what they see.
We did not want them to actively engage in a lifestyle that we no longer participate in.
Had we known this was going to be the scene, we would have declined to go partake to begin with.
I cannot serve God yest subject my children to the atmosphere we were in.
That is living a double life, catering to two masters, when the only one I serve is Jesus.
I know the enemy thought he had us for a bit.
We showed victory when we walked out.
I confided in a friend about the chain of events.
Despite my inner frustrations, I did not let it show. I was thankful of the eye opener.
I was thankful of knowing this is not our place.
I was thankful for knowing we do not belong here.
I was even more thankful when my husband said lets go, our kids shouldn’t be here, we shouldn’t be here.
This isn’t us, this is not my life, this isn’t our lives. We need to go.
Thank you Jesus, my silent prayers were answered.
I do feel bad, we did not get to see the mother to be.
Two hours at this venue waiting, observing, and we didn’t even see not one relative.
Yet I was thankful.
My husband’s eyes were opened.
This is not us.
We do not have two masters.
I am sure that you have all been in similar circumstance of whether the place we are in is where we really need to be.
Sometimes our experiences are eye openers.
Sometimes its a learning experience.
Sometimes its when you have to choose your path towards your destiny.
Remember,
Father I thank you, despite the circumstances, I thank you. Despite being uncomfortable, I thank you. Despite being in a place where I did not belong. I thanked you. I thank you even more so when my husband decided that enough was enough. The call had to come from him for this was his family’s venue. I would have made the call sooner, I was tempted to. I am glad at the growth he has taken since he has began his walk with you. I am glad that he knew our children did not need to be there. Father I ask that you continue to guide my husband in his walk with you. Amen.

Swimming against the currents.

Swimming against the currents.

The Courage to Swim Against the Current – Jer. 38:1-13
What we see here in Jeremiah is how to swim against the currents in order to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
Where am I going with this?
Lets explore what happened here.
The prophet Jeremiah (38 v2-3) made a prophesy ” “So says the Lord,
‘He who remains in this city will die by the sword, by famine, and by
virulent disease (pestilence), but he who goes out to the Chaldean’s [of
Babylon] will live and have his [own] life as a reward and stay alive. Thus says the Lord,
‘This city will certainly be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and he will take it.’
When the Princes’ heard this prophesy by Jeremiah, they wanted to denounce it immediately, they wanted him killed.
They didn’t want to loose their land, they didn’t want to believe in this prophesy. So they begged the King Zedekiah to Kill Jeremiah.
The king didn’t order him to be killed, but instead told them to handle it themselves.
What did Jeremiah do?
he complied.
The princes’ lowered him into a cistern and left him there to die.
Jeremiah complied. He swam again the currents, metaphorically speaking since this cistern was dry and muddy, he said nothing, he did nothing, he did not fight, did not resist, he did not do anything. Nothing.
Had it not been for Ebed-melech the Ethiopian (Cushite), one of the eunuchs who was in the king’s palace, whom pleaded to free Jeremiah, he could have died. Ebed-Melech found some garments and went to the rope which brought Jeremiah down, and helped him out of the cistern.
Think for one second what Jeremiah was probably doing as he awaited his fate.
What would you have done?
Would you have fought back?
Screamed for help?
Try to escape?
Try to climb out of this cistern filled with mud?
Claw, and Climb and eventually slid back down for your futile attempts to save yourself?
I am sure many would have attempted.
Many would have fought back, Jeremiah I believe didn’t.
Jeremiah is known for being a man who had direct communion and reverence with God.
He prayed and cried a lot!
He prayed.
I believe in the bottom of the cistern He prayed.
He spoke to God.
God calmed him.
God said trust me kid, I am going to get you out of here, and when you come out you will deliver this message for me.
If you continue to read the rest of Chapter 38, you will find yourself reading that after he was taken out, the King asked to speak with Jeremiah.
He spoke to the king, he told him his prophesy, he even told him how he could be saved when the Chaldean come to take over.
Only God could have provided a dutiful prayer warrior with the calm, patience, and words in a time like that.
I believe, in the bottom of the cistern, He prayed.
Despite the temptation to panic.
Despite the unknown.
He put all his faith and trust in God.
God not only provided Ebed-Melech to get him out, but he also provided him the words he needed to speak to the King.

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone

understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24

Jeremiah understood that. He understood only the Lord could take him out of his situation.
Many of us waste away our lives in the fear of the unknown, in fear of the “inevitable” in fear of our circumstances.
We should be living in our faith, trusting in our faith.
That regardless of what happens.
Whether we are dumped in a muddy cistern or a cistern fill with water.
We need to have faith in Abba father.
We need to swim against the currents….. The currents might be pulling us to panic, to attempt to save one selves, but swimming against the current means to put it all in God’s hands. Trust in God, have faith in God.
Sometimes we need to do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
In trusting God, despite our circumstance, God can show you that 1) I am here 2) I will provide 3) keep trusting in me.
Ebed-Melech is a great example of how God used an ordinary person employed by the King with extra-ordinary courage. It took great courage to stand up before the King to plea for Jeremiah, when all the odds were heavily stacked against Jeremiah. All the odds were heavily stacked against him for even pleading for his prophet. Yet he did. He too swam against the currents. He was instructed by faith and courage to swim against the currents on behalf of a man of God. Ebed-Melech took a risk. He faced being criticized, being punished or even landing a spot next to Jeremiah. He risked it. He took a chance. He spoke against the evil deeds done by the prince’s accusations against Jeremiah.
Like Jeremiah, we all face criticism at one point or another. Just know that being criticized is not a problem, because it will always be there, now if you develop a positive way of dealing with it, then you know you are already swimming against the current.
“I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is
said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was
right won’t make a difference.” – Abraham Lincoln.
Though this article gives the life cycle and process of a salmon; if you can pur your self in place of the salmon in this story you can take light the message in swimming against the currents.
For instance, in the article it mentions the following questions to place things in perspective:
How do we cultivate enough presence to identify these ‘personal obstacles’ where we get caught in our own eddy’s?
As we continue to swim upstream can we learn not to overly identify with the obstacles as they arise?
What tools do we each find that supports us to stay afloat when the
intensity of illusion and suffering seem to take up the space of the
ocean inside of us?
How how do we take these questions from the article to help our spiritual growth and swim against the currents?
How do we cultivate enough presence to identify these ‘spiritual obstacles’ while swimming against the currents and not giving in to the flesh or social norms?
As we continue to swim upstream can we learn not to overly identify with the obstacles as they arise, can we put our trust and faith in God and let him provide the solution?
What tools do we each find that supports us to stay afloat when the
intensity of our circumstances and suffering seem to take up the space of the
ocean inside of us?
How can we rely on His word, faith, and trusting in him to continue to swim, despite the criticism, despite doing nothing and saying nothing regarding the situation?
Father God I thank you today, tomorrow and always for all that you do and continue to do for our families. We are facing a hurdle right now and we are trusting in you to guide us. Many expect us to swim with the currents, but swimming against the currents towards you is always a better option. Lord I ask for you to send an
Ebed-Melech our way to help is in this situation. Lord I will trust in you for guidance and to overcome. For I know in you victory shall be ours. Amen.

Comfort / Prayers

Jane Doe / John Doe,
I am praying for your son as he undergoes this procedure, and the two of you as well.
Know that I am with you in spirit.
I just want to reassure you both, even though you already know he is in great hands (God).
These scriptures touched my heart today and I want to share them with you.
  • The Lord your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. And you saw in the wilderness how the Lord your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place.
Deuteronomy 1:30-31
  • The Lord holds his hand.
Psalm 37:24
I have a special prayer just for you which I recited because of these verses.
Father God, today we are thankful of this day you have given us and the hope from your word which gives us the faith to handle any obstacles before us. Today I lift little John Doe Jr, his Mother Jane Doe and Father John Doe in prayers while your son John Doe Jr undergoes surgery. Lord You are the God who has always gone before us all, you have fought for your children, and Just like you fought for your children in Egypt, I know today you will fight for your children both in the OR and waiting room. You will provide for this family the emotional, spiritual and physical comfort they need. I have faith that you will guide the doctors, and you will be holding the instruments during the procedure. Lord I have faith that through it all, you will not only be holding John Doe Jr’s hand, but his parents as well. Today as I work through the day and meditate in your word, I pray , trust and have faith that you will bring forth healing for John Doe Jr and a speedy recovery. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
In light of the news, I was moved, I was inspired, and the word assisted me in uplifting this family in prayers.  We should rely more in the word, and use Gods word to lift someone up in prayers.  Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and we freeze not knowing what we can say to someone.  In those times, use the word, and with his word, God will provide words of strenght, encouragement and even a prayer.

ISRAEL

So here is day 7 of the devotional series is entitled: ‘7 More Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know’. 
Capture3

Day 7

ISRAEL: Which means WRESTLES WITH GOD

This is one of my all-time favorite photos of my daughters, Chelsea and Ella. We were in Washington DC on a gorgeous spring day, and they decided it was a good time to wrestle on the National Mall. To me, this is a picture of my relationship with God.
See, I used to carry a lot of guilt whenever I questioned a paradox in Scripture or disagreed with something I heard in church. But there’s a story in the Bible of a man named Jacob who one night literally wrestles with God. By morning, God walks away from the fight and changes Jacob’s name to Israel, which in Hebrew means “struggles” or “wrestles with God.” This name is prophetic, signifying that God’s people will always wrestle with Him. The ancient Jews believed God invites you into this wonderful wrestling match with Him. Author Athol Dickson says, “What if God placed these paradoxes within the Scriptures to cause me to struggle for the truth? What if it is the struggle he desires as much as the truth itself?” When you wrestle with God, He’s right there with you, just like my daughters are with each other in this picture.
So the next time you struggle with faith, that’s not a time for guilt, but celebration. God is inviting you to wrestle with Him so you can be connected with the Creator of the universe.

Additional scripture reference:

John 6:19

When therefore they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they
behold Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the boat: and
they were afraid.

Genesis 32: 28

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but [a]Israel: for thou hast [b]striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

My commentary/ prayer:

Father God I thank you for your love and compassion. Lord you are amazing and worthy of all praise. Lord I know there are times where we feel like we are wrestling with you have prepared for us. Doubt tends to set in and we question your instructions. Dear lord I do not want to ever wrestle with you. I want to follow your command not disobey you. God I ask to give me the knowledge and the ability to rebuke any doubt so that I can follow your path without wrestling with you. Amen