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.
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​ 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.

HESED

So I recently started reading this devotional plan from one of my Bible apps using the @YouVersion plan.  As I went through the 7 day plan I decided to make note so that I could share here when I finish this plan.  We should all share in this journey towards growth.
The devotional series is entitled: Seven Hebrew words every believer should know.
Capture

Day 1

HESED: Which means LOVE

When I photograph mountains like these in north Georgia, a verse in the Book of Isaiah comes to mind that says: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken”. The Hebrew word translated as ‘love’ here is hesed which is a hard word to define. Theologian John Oswalt says hesed is “… a completely undeserved kindness and generosity …”.
Hesed is not just a feeling, it’s an action. It “… intervenes on behalf of loved ones and comes to their rescue” according to Lois Tverberg.
Hesed is not romantic love. It’s faithful. It’s reliable. It’s a wife praying for years for her husband to know God. It’s a dad once again bailing out his drug-addicted son. It’s parents who lovingly care daily for their autistic child.
Today, you can rely on God’s ‘Hesed’ for you no matter what you face.

 Associated reading:   Isaiah 54:10American Standard Version (ASV)

10 For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on thee.

My commentary:

What a detailed and amazing explanation to the word HESED. Many of us read the Bible and do not look up words we do not understand. Many of us don’t look up the meaning or relations to the text. What many of us do (and yes I include myself here) is we read the text as is, we see a word we may not be familiar with the context and we just keep moving on. Doing so could put a damper on how we translate the passages we are reading. Doing so can intercept a message god is trying to relay to you. Let’s all take the time when reading a passage to look up meanings to words or phrases we may not understand present day.
Father God thank you for this devotional. Lord thank you for allowing me to learn a these Hebrew words through this lesson. Thank you for the HESED you give me. Lord I Hesed you too. May this mini series provide useful information to everyone reading this. Amen.

​Undivided Heart.

​Undivided Heart.

“You must always act in the fear of the Lord, with faithfulness and an undivided heart.” – (2 Chronicles 19:9)
In 2 chronicles Jehoshaphat appoints Judges for the people.
Why?
There was a divided Israel. He was building alliances between Israel and Judah, he was building alliances to improve the circumstances he faced, he built alliances to help in trade to sustain his people, he built alliances to end idolatry and the practices of pagan rituals, he was also teaching the people about the laws of the land and to observe the sabbath and the laws of God. Judges were appointed to ensure the laws were being followed. Judges were appointed to ensure the teachings of God were not being misconstrued.
It’s election time in NYC and legislators are running for offices throughout. Each legislator is responsible for the well being of their constituency, that the rights of their constituency are protected and that laws are created to help/ protect and improve quality of life for their constituency. Judges are appointed by we the people when we go to the ballots.
Right now we are a nation that’ is more divided than ever. In theory we were once known as a nation of being indivisible yet here we are. Divided by politics, still divided by race and class, divided by religion, divided by philosophy and even divided by the law and politics. To think during Jehoshaphat’s rein his goal was to end idolatry and pagan practices. Today’s problems in America are a bit different. A nation where we are all supposed to be equal despite our differences, are living a complete opposite to the reason the founding fathers came together.
This saddens God. Having a divided nation breaks his heart. What hurts him even more so than this is when our own hearts are divided. Torn between social constructs and social norms and our beliefs.
I am from NYC. I lived all of my life in the city. I am used to the hustle, the bustle and that fast paced lifestyle. It’s just something that’s synonymous to being a New Yorker. With that being said there are times where this lifestyle makes it difficult to practice our faith.
There is so much to do, so much to see, so little time. It’s difficult in our fast paced world to cultivate an undivided heart but the benefits are phenomenal.
When your heart is torn between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Lord, we are placed in a predicament where we have to choose. We can’t want nor have both. A heart divided is easily weaken, can easily be misguided, can easily turn to one side or the other fully.
A heart that is undivided is powerful. A heart that is undivided focuses on purpose. An undivided heart desires just that one item it desires. The desires of an undivided heart has such a conviction, perseverance will prevail no matter the difficulty faced.
My pastor has a saying that those with one foot in their faith and one foot in the world is lukewarm. A church will not strive if their members are lukewarm. He would rather a house full of those with undivided hearts who are filled with passion than a house filled with lukewarm individuals.
The individuals with the undivided hearts as mentioned are passionate, dedicated and loyal to their beliefs, faith and practices. It is this loyalty that leads you to grow spiritually with God. It is this loyalty that allows the impossible to happen . It is this loyalty that can break down the chains holding you down. It’s this loyalty that can move mountains. It’s this loyalty leads to a complete happiness words could never compare to.
Move past the trivialities of life. Turn that heart into and undivided heart with reverence for the Lord with fear and exercise faithfulness.
Right now it does not matter the state of your heart. If your heart is divided I ask you to pray. Pray to build with Christ. Pray for a spiritual alliance so that you can grow and flourish spiritually. I ask you to pray for the cultivation of an undivided heart that will transform your life. Mend your heart whole reject world in singleness of purpose and align yourself with the word of God.
Pray with me:
Father, I come into your presence now, and I ask you to surround me. I ask for you to align my heart with your will. I come under your authority and your claim upon my heart, my soul and my life. I give myself to
you—body, soul, and spirit. I give my heart to you, in every
way—including the broken & divided places in me. I declare your authority over my heart, for you made my heart and you have redeemed my heart. I ask that you help me mend my heart so I can be whole in you. I want to but undivided having you as my primary focus in life. I want an undivided heart filled with your love and faith that is powerful in your works. Amen.

Thankful for His Grace.

Thankful for His Grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
(Ephesians 2:8)
Thank God for his grace.
Its by his grace, his mercy and our faith in him that we are able to be saved.
It is his gift to us, through our faith.
As the holidays are fast approaching the constant theme we will all be discussing are GIFTS. What should I get my kids and loved ones? What do they want? Oh how beautiful this gift I received etc. These gifts once given belong to the recipient. There are many ways to respond and react to such gifts. You can respond with gratitude either by giving thanks , sending a note or even reciprocating with a gift back. You could do nothing at all. You may not even like or want the gift. Maybe you already have received said gift by someone else. In short, once your receive that gift, before the gift can affect you in any way.
Spiritual gifts are kind of the same way. Once God gifts you with your spiritual gift, onces you are readily available to receive the gifts he has in store for your through his grace, favor, mercy via his forgiveness from our sins, his blessings, the joy and peace that could only come but through him, once that is available to you, once your receive it can his gifts affect you in any way. Its not a gift of monetary gains like the gifts you can give from one person to another but spiritual.
In order to receive these gifts from God you have to put some work in to. Its via your faith and trust in him which will allow you to receive his gifts. That’s when his gifts can affect you. It’s not simply just earned. Its not purchased, you can’t bribe your way towards his blessings. You have to receive it by your faith.
You have a chance today to take a leap of faith.
If you are ready to take this leap of faith to build a relationship with our creator and want to receive the spiritual gifts he has in store for you, repeat after me:
PRAYER OF SALVATION
Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. You said in Your Word that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) Father, I am calling on Jesus right now. I believe He died on the cross for my sins, that He was raised from the dead on the third day, and He’s alive right now. Lord Jesus, I am asking You now, come into my heart. Live Your life in me and through me. I repent of my sins and surrender myself totally and completely to You. Heavenly Father, by faith I now confess Jesus Christ as my new Lord and from this day forward, I dedicate my life to serving Him.
Father, Thank you for your grace, thank you for your mercy, thank you for your kindness. I pray for the individual reading this whom took the leap of faith to build a relationship with you. May this person seek the spiritual guidance needed to build a relationship with you and to receive your blessings and gifts. God I thank you for the gifts you have given me in my life and my family. No one could ever do what you do. No one could ever fill me up the way you can. No one can provide the way you provide. No one could ever bring peace and joy the way you can. Father thank you for being the alpha and the omega. Thank you for your love. I hope to continue to follow your path and seek your counsel in all that I do. In the name of the Father, the son and holy spirit. Amen.