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

Finding Confident Faith in the Face of Fear

We all have moments where we struggle with our faith in hardships, or when we are scared.
I read this article entitled: Finding Confident Faith in the Face of Fear (listed below).  The author spoke of her fears and finding confidence within her faith.  We have all had moments where we have felt we have failed.

Here is the Article:

#faith #failure

Author: Karly Grant

All of my life I’ve been a worrier. I still remember the prayer that I prayed every night before I went to sleep as a child, “Dear God, thank you for another day. Please help my family to sleep well and to stay safe. Please don’t let there be any fires, earthquakes, or anyone breaking into our house while we sleep. In Jesus name, Amen.”

As I’ve grown up, and grown in my faith, most of my fears have lessened and my prayers have become less rote (although I’m definitely not one to skimp on the “Help me, Jesus!” prayers that I often need). While most of these childish fears only return if I’m in real danger, there is one that has stuck with me from childhood—the fear of failure. God desires for his children to live in freedom, and as he guides me through my current struggles, I am taken back to my childhood where this fear rooted long ago.

Karly Grant FearI revealed the litany I ran through nightly as a child, but once a year, on New Year’s Eve, I would also ask God not to let Jesus return that year. One of my earliest memories is accepting Christ at four or five years old. While I fully believe that I was saved that day, I didn’t automatically have all the answers and that scared me. I cried to my mom one day when I was about six because I was terrified of Jesus returning. I didn’t have the Bible memorized, and in my mind, I was going to get to Heaven and there would be a test. I was afraid I would fail God. My mom lovingly explained the truth to me, but for many years, I thought God would find I failed, and if I could just postpone a little longer surely I would get there. I still haven’t found perfection, but I have found grace.

 

God was on his own level but this fear seeped down to my relationships with family as well. There was a time when I was about eight that my family was visiting friends overnight. I woke up the next morning and the lady we were staying with told me that my parents were at the hospital because my mom had been struck with a migraine. This was a semi-common occurrence during this stage of my life, but somehow, being in a different city made it seem different. I, being the oldest of three kids at that time, felt the pressure of telling my sisters and comforting them. What if something happened to my mom? Would I know what to do? I piled unnecessary pressure on myself as a child, and I was afraid I would fail them all as I reached for my self-imposed unrealistic expectations.

_On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate._ -Psalm 145_5

Now I fear failing at life in general. I took some huge steps of faith in a direction that I felt God calling me and it looks nothing like what I thought it would. I can’t help but wonder am I failing those who supported me? I am currently unemployed and still living in a place that I am prepared to say goodbye to. My timeline has failed me, and the enemy is quick to step into this area of my life and hiss lies.

Here in the waiting is where God and I are camping. I’ve been fighting against the enemy and speaking truth about who God is and who He says I am, going from fear of failure to confidence that can only be found through God. Scripture and music have been key to remaining saturated in truth. My times of musical worship at home are anything but pretty. I often cry, sing horribly, and pound on the keys of my keyboard. While I may look miserable to an onlooker, these are sweet times with my Savior and some of the strongest points of warfare against our enemy. Michael W. Smith has a song that I’ve been listening to often these days called Surrounded. Some of the lyrics are “This is how I fight my battles… It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

I’ve been doing a Bible study called Psalms for Prayer. While I read these Psalms that I’ve read many times before, they have been hitting me anew.

“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” -Psalm 145:5

I find that reading scripture out loud and declaring the goodness of God is life-changing. God is so good. I realize in these times that I can be confident in Him. I don’t have to fear failure. He has a plan. He is with me. He never fails.


Karly is a single 30-something who is striving to follow Jesus and trust Him in every situation. She can be found with a cup of tea or a good beer in hand while cozied up with a good book or enjoying a laugh with family or friends. God has her on a wild journey. In the last year, she has quit her job of 15+ years and gone back to school full-time to pursue a career/ministry in the realm of adoption. She is both terrified and excited to see how God moves and what opportunities He provides in this adventure.

 

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Praise God for our failures should not be feared.  Sometimes our failures are apart of his plan.  Praise God for his word, for we should always find comfort in them.  We should read articles such as these for they the offer testimonies of struggles individuals undergo and how they have over come them. Testimonies such as these help us put into perspective our struggles, our fears, out doubts, our experiences and gives us hope in to seeing how we too can overcome our tribulations.

 

As a mom I have plenty of fears, most of them involve my family and their well being.  I pray ever so often  for their safety, well being, health and lives.  I have to trust that God will always cover them and protect them from harm in this world we are living in.  We are living in times where their safe havens (schools, churches) are no longer safe havens.  A random person with a vendetta can easily walk into these safe havens and…well we have all been watching the news, we know what has been happening.  It is sad.  Yet despite all that his been going on in our schools in America, Despite all the fight for gun control, despite all the prayers, yes there are times I want to pull my kids out of school and home school.  Fear, does that to us.  We cannot make rash decisions based off our fears.  Fear means giving in to the enemy, fear means rescinding our faith, fear means doubting our prayers we proclaim heavily to God.  SO what do I do? I pray harder, I pray firmer, Like this author I pray aloud his words so that his holy words can be used to anoint my family and loved ones for protection.  Do not let fear overcome you.  Do not let your fear replenish your faith, let your faith overcome and overpower your fear.  Let your faith grow stronger.  Let your faith guide you in protecting your family.

 

Father I thank you today for this article.  I thank you for these words and the scripture you have provided via this vessel.  Thank you for the opportunity to have those reading be able to relate to these situations, to our please, our fears, so they too can find use in our testimonies and find guidance within these articles.  May these articles be of hope, blessings and a path for others to grow in their faith and in their individual walks with you. 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.