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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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.

Bleed The Same

I’m reading the @YouVersion plan ‘Mandisa – Out Of The Dark Devotional’. Today’s devotional is entitled Bleed The Same.  I have recently posted 2 of the 7 day devotions from this plan.  the next few days i will post the remaining 5 Devotionals.

This third Devotional is really deep. I want you to read Mandisa’s words, and I will follow up with a recap at the end.

 

But first the scriptures:

““Now, our God, hear your servant’s prayer. Listen to my prayer for mercy. For your own sake, do good things for your holy place. My God, listen to me! Open your eyes and see all the terrible things that have happened to us. See what has happened to the city that is called by your name. I am not saying we are good people. That is not why I am asking these things. I am asking these things because I know you are kind. Lord, listen to me! Forgive us! Lord, pay attention, and then do something! Don’t wait! Do something now! Do it for your own good! My God, do something now, for your city and your people who are called by your name.””

Daniel 9:17-19 ERV

 

 

““I pray not only for these followers but also for those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that all who believe in me can be one. You are in me and I am in you. I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me. I gave them this glory so that they can be one, just as you and I are one. I will be in them, and you will be in me. So they will be completely one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you loved them just as you loved me.”

John 17:20-23 ERV

 

 

“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.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 ERV

 

 

Bleed The Same

Devotional by Mandisa

I’ll never forget July 4-7, 2016. July 4th was Independence Day in America. I recall that because the events that transpired the rest of that week made me question just how free we truly were. There was a fatal shooting of a Black man by police officers in Louisiana on July 5th. There was a fatal shooting of another Black man by police officers in Minnesota on July 6th. Finally, there was a fatal shooting of five police officers by a Black man in Texas on July 7th.

Can I be honest with you? As a follower of Jesus, and a woman with Black nephews, as well as a brother who is a police officer, I’m a little scared to speak freely here. I remember the fear that hovered over our country then. I remember the hate being spewed on social media that week. I remember wanting to say something, and knowing I would offend someone either way. I didn’t say much on social media that week. I did, however, say a lot to God.

I’m a big believer in praying scripture. Here’s how I turned a very familiar verse into a prayer that week:

“Father, I come to you now on behalf of my beloved country, and pray according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. There are many people in the USA who call ourselves by Your name. So on behalf of Your children here in America, I pray that we would humble ourselves before You, and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Holy Spirit, give us a burden to turn our arguments into prayers, and rather than seeking our agendas, help us to seek Your face. We have turned away from your ways, God. Would You forgive us, and supernaturally empower us to turn from our wicked ways? Then, I stand on Your promise that You will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and restore our land. I ask this in Jesus’ Name…Amen.”

Shortly after the events of that week in July, my songwriters and I wrote “Bleed the Same.” My brothers, Toby-Mac and Kirk Franklin, share a similar heart for unity and love in the Body of Christ. Our prayer is that God would use our song to truly make us an undivided, holy nation, under God.

 

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God bless Mandisa with these moving words. I too know all to well of the scrutiny social media has when one is impacted by a movement, by an incident, by a crisis, by a tragedy and when we speak our hearts and soul on said subject, someone has someone to say, or you accidentally offended someone. I grew up in a Christian home, I also grew up in a politically active home. Politics and the love For God runs deep in these veins. A servant and an activist. I can vocalize and fight for those by circumstance are unable to or do not have the knowledge on how they can fight for themselves. I also pray…. for those the spirit calls on me to pray, for those who ask me to pray for them.

It’s hard to be passionate about something when no matter what someone will be offended. We are living in times where black lives matter, Brown lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter.

Society needs to be prayed for more and more so we shouldn’t have to pick a side per say. I too am a woman of color. I too have family in law enforcement. I too have family whom have served this country on every platform imaginable from civic service, law enforcement, military and government. I feel Mandisa pain. In my shoes the ones I may be offending are my own blood, forget about the rest of social media.

 

I too have opted out of vocalizing my political views and have instead gone on m knees to pray.  To pray for my family. To pray for the victims, to pray for the nation, to pray for respect, to pray for love, to pray that people killing people regardless of ones status is no longer a norm.  To pray like Martin Luther King Jr for a day where people of color and people not of color could all get along, living side by side in peace and harmony.

I love listening to Christian songs about empowerment, breaking chains, growth, unity. I love the words by Kirk Franklin especially in his latest album, we see this in his song “My World Needs You”. We need a revolution in our hearts, we need peace, we need love.  Most importantly we need God.

“Every heart in the world, God, needs you to rescue
Storms have come and torn our hearts in two
We need you

Show me your face
Fill up this space
My world needs you right now
My world needs you right now”

 

If the above lyric quote doesn’t remind you; maybe this one will.

 

Storms may come but when we call your name all things change
Kingdoms fall, one thing
Forever reigns is your name
Oh how sweet to know that your great name
Will never change
It’s stays the same

Show me your face
Come fill this space
My world needs you right now
My world needs you right now

 

As is the title of this devotion, we all bleed the same.  We all are made in the image of God.  Our exterior may differ, but our interior are one in the same.

Thank you Lord, for all that you do in our lives.  Thank you lord for showing us that we need to support one another.  Thank you Lord for reminding us that Getting down on our knees to pray can still be a impact as physically standing up for someone. Amen.

 

 

Unfinished

Philippians 1:6 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until he completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again.

 

 

Luke 4:4-12 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say,

‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive.’”

Then the devil took Jesus and in a moment of time showed him all the kingdoms of the world. The devil said to him, “I will make you king over all these places. You will have power over them, and you will get all the glory. It has all been given to me. I can give it to anyone I want. I will give it all to you, if you will only worship me.”

Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God.
    Serve only him.’”

Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and put him on a high place at the edge of the Temple area. He said to him, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 The Scriptures say,

‘God will command his angels
    to take care of you.’

11 It is also written,

‘Their hands will catch you
    so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.’”

12 Jesus answered, “But the Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”[a]

 

Satan tries to deter you from what GOd has planned for you.  You cannot let him get to you.  In this second part of the series Mandisa elaborates even further.  Her testimony and illustration is below:.

Here is the 2nd devotional from Mandisa.

Unfinished
Devotional by Mandisa
I beat myself up…a lot. I would never talk to anyone the way I speak to myself sometimes. Ask me what my best qualities are and it would take me a long time to compile a list. But ask me what I don’t like about myself and buckle up, because I can rattle off that list in 3.5 seconds flat! I know I’m not alone in that harmful habit. I believe it is time for the children of God to stop wallowing in shame and regret, and start living lives of freedom, power, and authority. We do that by taking those destructive thoughts captive, and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In Luke 4, Jesus was hounded by the devil in the wilderness. Rather than getting in a philosophical debate with Satan, each time Jesus was tempted, He simply spoke the Word of God and kept it moving.
“But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’ ” Luke 4:4 NLT
“Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’ ” Luke 4:8 NLT
“Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’ ” Luke 4:12 NLT
If it worked for Jesus, it works for me! Now when I hear those negative thoughts in my head, I am learning to respond with the truth of God’s Word.
When I sin and want to pull away from God in shame, after I repent, I’ll proclaim that, “I confess my sin and know that God is faithful to forgive and cleanse me. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those that belong to Christ Jesus, like me. I am more than a conqueror, and nothing can separate me from the love of God!” (1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1, 37-39)
When I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, I’ll declare that, “Because I look to God, I am radiant, and not covered in shame. I have a true beauty that goes beyond outward appearance, and shines from the inside out. My heart displays an unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (Psalm 34:5, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Peter 3:3-4)
When I feel anxious and hopeless that I’ll ever overcome the struggles that I always seem to face, I’ll speak life by saying, “I celebrate the truth that God began a good work in me, and will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. I am not a mess. I am not a failure. I am not a mistake. I’m just unfinished.” (Philippians 1:6)