Wow!! 2016 swept by so quickly with all of its ups and downs. The good and the bad 2016 have left us and now we are embracing the start of the New Year. I have heard the saying usually at the beginning of the year, mostly in weight loss commercials “New Year, a new you.” That sounds really good right a new year, a new you, after we have eaten all through the holidays from candy, cakes to turkey and gravy, yams and, momma’s cheesy baked macaroni and cheese (delicious) and now that all of the goodness is over it is time to shed away the fat to become a new you. Is it just that simple at the change of the calendar you become a new person? Is it really a new year and a new you or is it really the same you but a different day?
So many times I have made resolutions at the beginning of the year to only fail. The year begins with such high momentum but to only find by February or March I am deflated. The air has left me so that I do not even scratch the surface of change. How many of us do that? We have good intentions but no action behind those intentions. I believe that I never reached my goals or resolutions because there was no real, sincere action taken. It was almost like wishing on a star hoping for a miracle to suddenly happen that would change my life. Now I do believe in miracles but I also know that nothing will change in me until I actually do something. I have learned that if I want a new me then there must be a change within. I cannot expect my life to be better when I continue to do the things that are not healthy for me. If I want to loose weight then I have to make healthy choices and exercise. I cannot expect the weight to just fall off without doing something about it. If I want a better relationship with God then I have to spend time with him. Change happens when you do something. In this blog series I will hope to help you and myself really become a NEW YOU, to shed away the bad habits and mind sets that kept us stagnant in 2016. 2017 we will set attainable, measurable goals and complete what God has purposed in our hearts to do. So come with me on this journey to becoming a better YOU, the YOU that your heavenly Father has destined you to be.
So what does this look like? The first step in change is making up your mind that you want change. You must become resolved or committed to change. Let me just say when you are use to do something one way for 20 plus years you have built habits that will not change overnight. I am not asking for perfection you may go back and eat that donut at 12 in the morning and that is okay just do not stop but stick with the process. Make up in your mind that you really want change and make the necessary steps to achieve your goals. Remember to always commit your plans to God and He will direct you every step of the way. So this week I want you to become resolved to change, pray and seek God for an attainable plan and execute it. It is not too late to start becoming a better YOU!!!! Okay Grace family lets do it.
God has graced us to make it to a new year. We are thankful that our families are intact, thankful that God has blessed us with good health. We are thankful for God’s hand of mercy. I must say that we are a blessed people. But I must ask this one question now that you made it NOW WHAT? What are you going to do with the gift of life that God has so graciously given to you? What is your NEXT?
Many times we become satisfied because we survived a thing that we become content with just surviving. God does not want you to just fight for survival. He wants you to thrive!!!
Survive: to remain alive after the death of someone, the cessation of something, or the occurrence of some event; continue to live. To thrive means: to make steady progress; prosper. To grow vigorously; flourish.
I do believe that in order for us to tap into the good thing that God has plan for our lives that we must move from survival to thriving. So how do you begin to thrive you may ask. First stop making excuses to move forward. So many times we allow our limitations to stop us from thriving. The truth is that we serve a limitless God and He is well capable to use what we think is a limitation to produce greatness. Do not allow past mistakes or limitations to hold you back from THRIVING. Secondly you have to stay connected to the source, which is God. How do you stay connected? Stay in the Word of God, the Word gives direction. It is God speaking to His people. The Word gives light and understanding and this is how you will know what is next. Pray to the Father. Develop a consistent prayer life. Prayer is our way of communicating with God. Remember that in prayer God hears you and you hear God. Lastly let your life be one of worship. In this New Year I hope that you will flourish, I hope that you will prosper in every thing that you set your hand to do. God has blessed you to survive now prosper, now THRIVE.
Ezekiel 16:6-7 6 “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.
Lately I have been trying to find a balance in my life. Between work, being a wife, mother, working in the ministry and now seminary I have found that my life can be very hectic. So I am learning to make God my priority and everything else will line up.
So many time we do things backwards we put everything ahead of God and then we wonder why our lives are spinning out if control and it’s not that activities are bad they are just out of place. But Jesus gave us a way out of the madness he said come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and He will give us rest. Then He tells us to seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all other things shall be added to you.
You see the missing principle is putting God first. God wants to the center of attention in our lives not obligations. I am not saying not to have things to do but I am saying that if we learn to put God first He will give us the grace to handle everything else.
So if your spinning out of control with all of your activities and obligations make God your priority, make time for Him and everything else will fall into place.
I guess I need to share with you what has been happening the last 2 months. I started seminary in August, this has been something that I wanted to do for some time. I put it off when I started school because I wanted to do something to advance my career but now that is done I have embarked on this journey of seminary. Mainly I wanted to do this because I always wanted to know more about the Bible. You know those things that go deeper than just the surface of the scripture. I know that the Holy Spirit shows us the deep things of God but I wanted to have that formal education and just experience a new way of learning God’s Word. So I applied to Liberty University and got accepted. God is good. I started with two classes the last semester and let me tell you, it was not what I expected. Don’t get me wrong the classes were great but it was a lot of work. Even though I had taken a fast paced curriculum at Mount Olive this was different. I remember when I was at Mount Olive and I tool Old Testament and New Testament those were two of the hardest classes that I had taken because it was so in depth. The structure of seminary is so different but anyway it has been a learning experience I must say. I learned a lot about God and myself. I did decide that 2 classes at a time might be a little too much for me. So I am only going to take one class at a time just so that I can learn all that I need to learn and not put so much unneeded stress on myself.
I am excited about this next chapter in my life. God is so good he knows how to show you GRACE even when you probably take on too much. I put a lot on me taking on seminary along with everything else that I have going on but God showed me that it is okay for me to say NO something and He will give the Grace to handle everything else. I am taking one day at a time on this journey and I plan to enjoy it. So the lesson learned in all of this is go after your dreams and know that God will give you the wisdom, the Grace to make it come to past. He will show you when you’re over loading yourself and show you how to lessen the load so that you can be productive but not stressed. We cannot do all that we do without God’s help so lean on Him and he will totally direct your every footstep. He wants to help us so ask Him He doesn’t mind.
Have you ever felt alone and rejected? Like no one gets you or even want to understand you. Sometimes I feel alone and rejected on this journey called life. I went through rejection, I feel all of my teenaged and adult life for reasons I cannot explain and because I have felt the sting of rejection I have built this huge wall of protection around me. I am like a fortified city within myself because rejection hurts and I refuse to set myself up for pain and relational failure. This morning during my devotion time I was reading Psalms 118 verse 22 and it prompted me to write this blog it reads “the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone., vs 23 this was the Lord’s doing it is marvelous in our eyes”. WOW I had a tadah moment when I read it the word REJECTION stuck out like a sore thumb because this verse is talking about JESUS being REJECTED, yes I said it JESUS felt the sting of rejection, he experienced the hurt of not being liked, or accepted. Jesus experienced being talked about, lied on and alienated by people who are suppose to love you.
But look at what is interesting in this scripture “THIS WAS THE LORD’S DOING” Jesus rejection was all apart of God’s master plan of salvation. Jesus had to be rejected in order for him to get to the cross, had they loved him, accepted him he would not had endured the cross. The cross had to take place in order for us to saved. The bible tells us that Jesus experienced everything that we would ever experience but he did not sin. Everything we would ever suffer Jesus suffered it first. Let’s look at Jesus example to learn how to handle rejection. Jesus healed the sick, clothed the poor, preached the gospel of love to a people who did not receive him fully, they looked at him simply as Joseph the carpenter son and nothing more. The sought to kill him but Jesus sought to love them unconditionally. Instead of building a wall of protection Jesus vowed to love those who hated and persecuted him even on the cross Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who had done this devilish deed because “they know not of what they do”. He blamed there deed on ignorance instead of hatred.
So what do we learn from Jesus? If Jesus was rejected do not expect any different in your own life. People will not always love or treat you right, but your response to their actions is critical to your happiness. Your response should be LOVE, yes you got it LOVE. Jesus loved this world even when the world did not love HIM, it was apart of the plan. So do not be surprised when someone rejects you, it is a part of the plan, everyone will not go with you and for where God is taking you they would probably be more of a hindrance than a help so bid them farewell and safe travels and thank God for shielding you from what could have been a disaster. The next lesson you need to learn from Jesus’ rejection was that he knew who he was and his purpose. When you know who you are in God and the purpose that he has for you rejection will not bother you. We are the children of the most high God, we are peculiar adopted kids into the kingdom, our daddy is God over the universe. When your father is the most powerful person in the world you can’t help but be secure in Him. Rest in who God has made you, he created you in His divine image, you are beautifully, wonderfully made. So do not allow the negativity of rejection to penetrate your mind to make you feel less than who you are. Be secure in the fact that you belong to God and he does not make mistakes. Trust that His plan for you is perfect. You cannot allow the naysayers to get you off track. Know your purpose and pursue it, Jesus knew his purpose on the earth and he did not allow the rejecters nor his closest friends to deter him from the destiny that was at hand.
Look at the scripture again vs23 “this is the Lord’s doing it is marvelous in our eyes” your rejection is for your good and what will come out of it will be marvelous in the eyes of others. Do not despise the process that it takes to get you where God is trying to take you. Become a fortified city of LOVE and pursue your destiny. Rejection is a hard thing for anyone to experience but the results will be marvelous once God turn it around in your favor.
Love yourself and beauty that God has made you to be. Rejection makes you stronger it will give you the motivation to pursue purpose with vigor. Receive the GRACE to heal from rejection.
So yesterday I went to my home church for the “Glory Encounter” it was a wonderful service. I always love going back home and worshipping with my family and friends at Mt Moriah. This Sunday a special guest minister was there to give the morning message, while he was preparing to begin his message he said something that sparked my attention it wasn’t the main point of the message but what I call a side bar (a little extra nugget not the main nugget but yet still important). Anyway he said “every morning that I get up I place my feet on Better Boulevard”. Oh my goodness yes that simple statement made me smile and think.
This statement made me think about how I approach my day. Do I get up expecting a great day? Do I expect a day better than the day before? I will be honest with you sometimes I don’t. Some days I take it for granted and not really think about my day I just get up, have my devotion time and get ready for work and go about my day as usual. That is not a good way to live life but sometimes we get so caught up in the monotony of life and we do not expect anything but the usual. This is not how Jesus would have us to live. You see Jesus came that we may have life and life more abundantly. This abundant life that Jesus died for should be a one of expectation. A life believing that every day you get up you place your feet on better boulevard and that no matter what you are going through it will get better. We should live a life always expecting God to meet our needs and to show up in our day.
Every day you get up is a chance to have a better life. Let’s look at Jeremiah’s statement in Lamentations 3:22-23“because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”. You see because of the great love that God has for us we can expect better. Every day he is faithful to love us and extends His compassion and mercy toward His people. So tomorrow when you wake have an expectation that today is better than yesterday. Today is full of new mercy, new opportunities and new grace for a better day. If you find yourself falling back to the norm shake yourself and remember your feet are place on better boulevard.