Hi guys!!! Sorry I missed you all last week. I was dealing with the third round of a cold that turned into a sinus infection. Let me tell you this has been a rough cold season. Thank God that I am feeling better and I am back on the grind. Last week while I was recovering I had a chance to catch up on some reading with my First5 community. For those who do not know First5 is an online community developed by Proverbs31 Ministries. It is a community of women who study the bible and are committed to giving God the first 5 minutes of the day. Okay I had gotten behind so while I was home doctoring myself I watched the last weekend wrap up. The lesson was “God is a covenant keeping God” ohhhh how I needed to hear that on last week. She began to teach how God made a covenant with Abraham and was now fulfilling that promise in the book of Joshua. The one teaching said something that sparked my attention, she said that Israel received the inheritance but they had to drive out the enemy who still occupied the land but some did not. They allowed the enemy to stay, so ultimately they surrender part of the inheritance. I thought about what was said and it dawn on me how often do we give or surrender our inheritance to the devil? How many times have we given away what God has given? We surrender to the pressures of the world instead of ridding ourselves of the enemy. I believe that is time out for the believers living below the promises of God. We have to hold on tight to what the savior has given to us.
Sometimes if we are honest we do not truly understand what we have. Our minds have not fully connected to the fact that God has given us prime real estate. So we do not understand the value of what we possess if we did we would not give it away so easily. This month I am going do something a little different. February will be a series called “prime real estate.” As children of God we possess something far more valuable than money, cars, fancy clothes and idols. We have prime real estate that must be held onto. In this season we cannot afford to surrender what God has so graciously given to those whom believe. So I hope that you follow with me on this journey to understand what we truly possess. Once God reveals these truths my prayer is that we never surrender our inheritance ever again.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Have you ever felt alone in the middle of a room full of a sea of people? The room is full to capacity with laughter and conversation. People are talking, catching up like old friends but no one is talking to you. You have a feeling of being out of place but yet you are called to be there. There are times in my life where I have been alone but people were around me. I felt that the people did not understand me or even like me but yet this is place that I have been called to serve. I have asked God how do I serve in a place when I feel so alone? How do you serve but yet you are in exile? This was hard for me I battled with my feelings of rejection, sadness and aloneness but yet I was called to serve and still held accountable to uphold the assignment.
The Bible tells us that to be a disciple that we have to take up our cross and follow after Jesus. In no way shape or form did Jesus say that following him would be easy. In fact He said that we would be persecuted for His sake and that tribulations would come but the good things is that Jesus has overcome the world. Meaning that everything that we face Jesus has overcome it for us. Jesus was exiled for a purpose when he went to the garden to pray the disciples went with him but yet he was alone because they could not even stay awake long enough to pray with him never mind pray for him. The cross was exiled the disciples left him during the hardest fight of his life but yet he endured because of the assignment he was called to. At His point of pain and despair He still had to serve. My friend just because you are in a place of exile right now the assignment does not stop. No my friend you have to push forward, wipe away the tears from your eyes and do the work.
What I learned during this time was that God was dealing with me about me. I had some problems it was not the place of serving it was I. I had to deal with old hurts and not infer my pain on those whom I served. I had to mature and realize that I am the vessel in which God has chosen to use for this time but if I didn’t get myself together I would miss out on the joy of serving with an grateful heart.
Beloved know that your purpose will always outweigh the trials. If you are feeling alone, maybe God has you in this place to work on you. Or he wants you to be in a place where it is just you and He alone in a room so that you can hear clear directions. There are some things in life that we may loose but know that God will always provide what is best for us and what is applicable to fulfill purpose. Sometimes we think we are loosing but we are actually gaining something beautiful. My friend please be encouraged and know that God has graced you to handle the exile. The time of exile is perfecting, establishing and making you better in order to fulfill purpose.
What do you do when life happens, when the unexpected pain and disappointment comes knocking at your door? The pain has invaded your space like an unwelcomed guest. What do you do when you try to get rid of the pain of disappointment but the ache lingers? How does one cope when life deals you a bad hand? Do you play the hand that you are dealt or throw in the towel? These are the questions that people face everyday so what do you do when life happens to you?
Last year my dad was diagnosed with cancer again. The cancer that we thought was in remission came back and this time he had to have surgery to remove it. We were told it would be a long surgery and recovery would take time. Needless to say I was nervous for my dad and our family began to pray. The day of the surgery came; it took 10 hours for the doctor to complete the surgery. The surgeon was ready to speak with mom, he stated the surgery went well and that he had removed the cancer that was awesome news. We waited to see my dad with anxious hearts it would take some time to get him in a room. Finally he was ready and settled in a room, when I walked in I put on a bold face but my heart sunk in my stomach. My big strong daddy, the one I always counted on, the one that in my eyes was stronger than life was hooked to machines, with a trach in his throat, he couldn’t talk. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away because I did not want to see my dad like that but this is when he needed me the most. My dad needed me to be strong so I walked outside the room to get myself together. My cousin let me cry for a moment but only a moment because at the time I had to make a decision was I going to wallow in self-pity or trust God to heal my daddy. I chose the latter.
You see life can be difficult but you have to make the choice to overcome and walk in victory. When hard times come I have to remember that God has been my constant guide. His truth has led me through life challenges. You see there will always be challenges; we just have to know whom to turn to during the trial. The mistake that people make is turning away from God instead of turning to him. He is the one who keeps us during the hard times and the good times. I had to learn that when I am overwhelmed by life I turn to the rock that is higher than me. I hide in the safety of his presence, because in His presence I find strength, direction, peace and answers for my situation.
My friends when life happens stay close to God. Allow the truth of God to guide your heart and lead you in what to do. Remember God will never leave you nor forsake you but He will hold you close in His arms and work everything out for your good. God has a good plan for your life. Beloved life happens to the best of us, how will you handle it? I pray you handle it with grace and the assurance that God loves you and live through it.
p.s. My dad is doing very well. He has some rough days but all in all God has given him the grace to make it.
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.
Recently an old insecurity showed it’s ugly head. I deal with this insecurity from time to time for the most part I handle it well but then there are those times when I fall prey and for a slight second or so it overtakes me. I have this insecurity of being rejected. Most people have this flaw because if we are honest no one likes being rejected. I experienced some things early in life that contributed to this insecurity. Those events caused me to build walls of protection, so that no one could get close to me. I did not allow people to become apart of my life in an intimate way because in my mind they would eventually reject me and leave. So I built these walls of defense around my heart. Slowly over the years God began to show me what I was doing and what I was dealing with. Soon I began to ask God to remove these barriers. I was flawed when it came to relationships and to a certain degree I still am. I am flawed in so many other ways but I have come to realize that even in my flaws God still loves me. He still wants to use me. God has a plan for my life flaws and all.
Many people deal with things but it does not negate God’s love for you. There is a scripture in Psalms that helps us to understand God’s love, it states. “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb” (Psalms 139:14-15). God understands the very essence of who we are because He made us. Every intricate detail God hand woven together while we were in the womb. He knows the very hair on our heads every detail that makes us who we are God knows about it. We are a complex people, we are not the same but we are unique and beautiful in our own way.
We are flawed people because of sin but that does not mean God cannot take what is flawed and use it for His glory. Every part of you is to be used for God’s glory. I know that society paints this picture of perfection but that is not realistic. We are not perfect people but we do serve a perfect God who is pleased with His creation. You are beautifully flawed and fit for the masters’ use. Remember you do not have to be anyone but you. You are good enough, you are more than enough and you are worth it all. Everyday we need God’s grace for our flaws, our imperfections and the great thing about God is that everyday He is waiting to give us the grace that we need to do what is needed in our lives. I want to encourage you to not focus on your flaws but focus on your potential. Concentrate on your strengths not your weakness God will take care of those. Remember when your weak God is strong.
November 16 2015 I began a new chapter in my life. I opened my own business GraceDays Boutique. Grace is an online Christian gift store. I sell Christian t-shirts, books, jewelry and all kinds of gifts. I love the concept of the store. I visit stores like mine all the time to buy gifts for my family and friends. So when I was thinking of a business to open it made clear sense to combine the two things I loved Jesus and gifts. So I embarked on making this store a success. I learned all that I could, tax laws, marketing, how to set up the website and who to buy quality merchandise from. I learned how to ship the merchandise by trial and error. I have put in countless hours to make Grace successful. I also started blogging consistently every week. Needless to say I have been busy. Did you notice how many I’s are in this paragraph?
I have been praying to God to bless my business since the conception. He has been faithful to me in my request. Recently I had to realize that I was not going be able to do all that I do by myself nor do I want to any longer. I heard a message last week by Lysa Terkeurst called “God is Good.” In her message she talked about how good God is but there was one statement that she made that helped me with my situation. She said, “God is good at being God”!!!!!!!!!!! God is good at being God, He does not need me to be worried, overworked or stressed. He just needs me to rest in Him to do what He says He will do.
You see God is the one who will do the ultimate work not us. He uses us to be His messengers in the earth. We are just that messengers. In Exodus 6 God demonstrates that He is good at being God. God tells Moses I am God. He states He will be the one to deliver Israel from Pharaoh; Moses is the messenger not the deliverer. It is God that will perform the miracles; it is God that will take Israel to the promise land not Moses. So what I am saying? Anything that we do we have to trust God to handle His part. He is faithful, trustworthy and good at being God He does not need our help in being God. God just needs us to be the messenger.
When it comes to Grace I have to trust that God is working as I continue to be the messenger. That is my part to do what He tells me to do and trust Him for the outcome. I pray that you will be empowered to release your dreams, hopes, families, jobs, business and ministries to God and let Him be good at what He does in your life.
6 Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord
Recently I had to make some changes in my life. You see I work a full-time job Monday-Friday. I am also in seminary and I recently started a Christian online boutique. We updated our computers at work and merged with a bigger company within 3 months of each other. Because of all of the changes at work my stress level was high. School was demanding I was barely staying on top of my assignments. The store was new, exciting but I had to learn a lot. Needless to say, I was burnt out.
I was so tired that I did not want to do anything. My focus was off. I wasn’t spending time with God like I should. I came to realize something had to give. I had to make some changes in my life if I was going to sustain my sanity. I talked with my husband and began to pray I wanted to find some balance in my life. So I decided to take a break from seminary, focus on the store and work.
Even though I wanted to stay in school I knew I couldn’t continue at this rate. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions if you are going to be able to maintain your sanity. We have to realize that we cannot and should not overwhelm ourselves to the point where we are missing out on what is important in life. For me my relationship with God is vital. My relationship was not at the forefront so I had to make a hard decision to put school off for now and regain my focus. Learning when to say NO is important. We have to discern when we are off target and gain focus. In order for one to stay focus you have to be connected God. Whenever we detach ourselves from God we become unbalanced. Sometimes we do not realize that adding so much to your day will leave no room for time with God. One has to be purposeful in making everything in your life to revolve around your time with God. Remember you are in charge of your YES!!! You have the responsibility to say NO when YES becomes a stumbling block.
Now that I have eliminated some things from my schedule, I have time to pray, read my Bible and run my new business without being stressed out. I am a firm believer that God will direct you when you allow Him to. I began to ask God to guide me through my day and to realign my thoughts and spirit. I desperately needed to refocus on God. My Friends when life becomes so overwhelming you must reassess your life and make the appropriate changes. I had to seek God for what was best for me, now seek Him for what is best for you. Give HIM your best YES!!!
2cor 4:6 “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”