The Battle: Man v/s The Supernatural

Are you guilty of making excuses for your bad behavior? Surely you’ve been in a situation where you should’ve shared the light of Christ with others, but you threw shade instead. You had an opportunity to say I forgive you, but you hardened your heart. Perhaps you heard about an old friend who was in need of comfort, but you ignored the tug of the Spirit to visit her due to fear. Have you also uttered these words?

God knows my heart.

The devil made me do it.

God is not through with me yet.

I’m a work in progress.

If you have, please pay close attention and choose to make at least one change today based on the scriptures shared in this message. That is my challenge to you.

Me:  God knows my heart.

What God Says: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

My prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10)

Me:  The devil made me do it.

What God Says: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

My prayer:  May the God of peace soon crush Satan under my feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16:20)

Me:  God is not through with me yet.

What God Says: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

My prayer: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Me: I’m a work in progress.

What God Says: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

My prayer: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. (Ephesians 5:1)

You’re right when you say God knows my heart. He truly does. Thankfully, he won’t allow you to see it in its entirety. I think we’d all be shocked and saddened by what’s hidden there. That’s why it is imperative that you fill it with all good things — including the word of God. Remember that what’s stored in your heart will eventually pour out of your mouth.

Are you tired of making excuses for your bad behavior? I know I am! You’re a new creation, right? Some battles aren’t meant for you. Stay in your lane and on the right path. Your path is well-lit. All you have to do is walk it and stay out of God’s way. He doesn’t need your help to transform others. Only he knows what he has planned for them and for you. So, listen to God’s voice today and discover new ways to be transformed. The Potter wants to mold you, but if you’re like me (and I think you are), you won’t let anyone touch you that you don’t know. Amen? So, get to know him. I challenge you to start and end your day with the word of God. If you don’t know where to start, download a bible app and start a reading plan. We make time for everything else — reality shows, Netflix, and events, but we don’t set aside enough time for him. Remember, whatever we focus on becomes our God. Why not carve out some time for the lover of your soul? Your Battle Buddy is waiting on you, and victory is his. What will you change today?

Friends, please take a little time to enjoy my Music Monday selection for this week entitled “Victory Belongs to Jesus” by Todd Dulaney. I pray that it fills your head and heart with a message of hope and safety. May blessings abound! ❤

NOTE – Verses courtesy of biblegateway.com, Featured Image courtesy of Google Royalty-Free Images, Music Monday selection courtesy of youtube.com

The Battle: Man v/s Society

How difficult is it to be a God-fearing, bible-thumpin’, praising & worshiping, tithing & offering Jesus Freak in 2017? How about just defining where you are in your walk with the Lord — if you’re walking with him at all? If you were asked to take this survey anonymously, what would you check? What if you were asked to include your name, would you check the same box(es)? Think about it, and then join me in the comments before reading the rest of the post.

Got God

We’re asked to take surveys all the time.When businesses send them to you via e-mail after providing some type of service, they want you to tell them how well they’re doing. In order to grow as a company, they need your honest feedback. You have probably seen trucks driving around town with a sign on the back that reads How’s my driving? Whether you have done business with them or not, they want to hear from you. There’s also a number to call for drivers to give feedback. Think about how many times during the day that you’re asked to give feedback.

I know that I ask for feedback on these posts — directly and indirectly. Sometimes I just ask you to share them if they resonate with you. Other times I’m more bold with my requests by asking you to share and tag a friend. How comfortable are you about honoring my requests? Surely you struggle with that decision. If you share it, does that make you a Jesus Freak? If you don’t, does that mean you’re undecided? Not every person on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is a believer. Many of them knew you from years ago when you weren’t living this life, so I understand the struggle. Who in the world is going to believe that you turned your life around?

Guess who else is struggling. Me! It’s not easy for me to ask you to read — especially when the Holy Spirit prompts me to write longer posts like this one, but I know it’s necessary. By allowing readers to comment, I’m also asking for feedback indirectly. Why do I take the time to ask for your input each week? It’s not because I’m a bratty, only child who demands that you give me your attention. Well, I am a little bratty at times, and I am an only child, but that’s as far as the similarities go. It’s because I want to grow too. I even added a Contact page  a year ago so that you could help me discover and discuss topics that are relevant to you.  I just want to be obedient and do my part to serve others who want to grow.

Wearing this Christian blogger/business owner hat is easy in cyberspace. Everyone here knows where I stand. It is my hope that every person I encounter also knows who I am and whose I am, but there’s a struggle attached to this journey. When people know you have a relationship with God, they’re watching you intently. Some are waiting for you to mess up; others are shocked and confused when you fall. There are even those who are praying that you get back up while others hope you stay there.

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

The truth of the matter is that we all fall short, and we all sin daily — even when we don’t intend to. Try not to focus on my human failings, fellow human. We ALL fall short. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t wake up each day with the intention of being argumentative or unaccommodating, but sometimes that’s exactly how my day plays out. When you’re working for God, you’re going to clash with the world. There’s no way around it. We can’t conform to the customs of the world because it’s just easier to fit in; we were set apart to stand out and stand firmly. No one said this life would be easy. We’re at war every day. For that reason, we must seek wise counsel and surround ourselves with other believers so that we may continually grow. More important than that is immersing ourselves in the word of God each day so that we’re armed for battle.

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. ~Psalms 119:105

You will meet with opposition every day, so remember to use some of the battle strategies I shared with you in Man v/s Man. There will be obstacles in your path, so figure out a way to get around them, get over them, or bust right through that thing. Boom! Sometimes you’ll win, and sometimes you’ll lose, but losing isn’t so bad. You see, what happens when you lose is that you go right back to your Battle Buddy — your Divine Strategist — the Man with the Plan, and he has already overcome the world. May blessings abound! ❤

P.S. Ready to read part four? Click here. Oh, and the song for Music Monday is awesome!

 

The Battle: Man v/s Man

Good morning, friends!  If you’re reading this post, that means that you have work to do, and I’m not talking about that awesome 9 to 5 you’re heading to in a few short hours; I’m talking about your purpose — the reason that you exist! Every day is an opportunity to serve those around you by using your talents, abilities, and gifts. Are you taking advantage of these opportunities? Just think of your purpose as a mission. As always, I’m mission-minded and singing a song.

Rolling down the street praising Jesus, sippin’ on iced green tea

Laid-back, with my mind on my mission and my mission on my mind.

~Allusion to Snoop Dogg’s Gin & Juice

Sometimes a song will enter your head, and you have to switch up the lyrics a little (or in this case, a lot) to get you in the right space for doing what God wants you to do each day. That’s part of the battle within that I wrote about yesterday. The internal conflict that we face sometimes just needs to be resolved. A timely brain break and a subsequent peace treaty with yourself is the best solution so that you’re not fighting too many battles at once. What might that look like? A brisk walk outside, yoga, or a quiet prayer may be all you need to achieve equilibrium.

Once you’re at peace in your mind, just know that you can’t remain at peace. Be prepared to battle others. You know you’ll encounter opposition at home, on the road, at your fave breakfast stop, or at work, but we get so comfortable at times of peace that we fail to acknowledge that not everyone you encounter will also be at peace within. Just know that you already have the Victory in Christ Jesus, now act like you know him!

Strategies for Facing Opposition

  1. Breath – Breathing is a life saver. Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. A quick response is rarely the right response when faced with opposition. Take the time to inhale and exhale — again if necessary.
  2. Assess – As you’re breathing, assess the situation. Is this person angry with you, or are you just in the line of fire? Not all battles are yours to fight.
  3. Temper – Take the time to temper your fleshly response. As you’re breathing and assessing the situation, keep in mind who you represent. You’re a child of the Most High God. Act like it.
  4. Teach – Use your actions to teach others how to treat you. Respond in a dignified way even when you feel the situation warrants something different. Prove that you are who you say you are — a child of the Most High God.
  5. Listen & Look – Use those two ears to listen. You might hear a cry for help wrapped in a bad attitude. Look past the attitude and into the heart of the matter. You’re equipped to see beyond what’s in front of you merely by using your senses.
  6. Expect – As you’re facing opposition, expect God to be right there in the midst of it. He’s coaching you and cheering you on as you use the tools he gave you. Can you imagine God cheering you on — saying “That’s my child!”

If you find yourself in a battle today, remember to use these strategies. You’re guaranteed a win if you do!  May blessings abound! ❤

Before you leave today, check out my Music Monday selection by Tye Tribbett entitled “Victory.” Also, if you missed Part I of this four-part series, read it here. Ready for part three? Read it here.

Sunrise Sermon: Man v/s Himself

Bending, stretching, learning, growing.

Teaching, preaching, resting, growing.

Feeding, thinking, searching, growing.

Reflecting, connecting, expecting, knowing.

That’s the life cycle of anyone who is journeying toward Well Done — using their inherent gifts in myriad ways to complete the long-term project assigned by God known as purpose. Along the way you encounter obstacles though: doubt, lethargy, opposition, and fear, and the greatest of these is fear.

As you draw closer to your next growth spurt, fear becomes more pronounced. After a season of bending, stretching, and learning, it perches high and waits to prey on the solutions to your worries.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Worrying about what might happen does little in aiding us on our journey to purpose. Trusting in God and the tools he gave us, helps to push fear further away. You’ll notice that it fades into the background during the season of teaching, preaching, and resting, but doubt may just make a cameo appearance at this stage, so rise up, and prepare to move mountains.

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. ~Mark 11:23

Both fear and doubt tend to fade away during seasons of reflecting, connecting, and expecting.  This is the most powerful phase that you’ll go through. If only you could camp here for a lifetime. But cycles are meant to repeat, and the purpose snatchers — fear and doubt will soon darken your door again. When they arrive this time, your wisdom, gained from years of experience, will surface to fight and win the battle in your mind against these evil twins.

Never underestimate these worthy opponents. It is presumptive of you to think that you’ll always win. Spouting random verses that you Googled to face them won’t do much to protect you if you don’t yet know the Protector. The battle raging within can only be tempered by the Creator of all things. His perfect blend of love, compassion, and revelation will yield a consistency that your troubled mind can adhere to and find peace. Getting to know the Prince of Peace is the only strategy you need to win the battle within.

Is there a battle raging inside of you? What will you do to win? Join me in the comments, and share your battle strategy. May blessings abound! ❤

P.S. This post is part of a four-part series. Read Part II here.

Loyal From the Start

Falling in love with Jesus was the best thing I’ve ever done. Jonathon Butler, a South African singer, songwriter, and guitarist, sang those words to me a few years ago, and I came to this realization while listening to him sing. Because of my relationship with God, I am able to have strong, positive relationships with others. That hasn’t always been the case though. As I began to take my walk with the Lord more seriously and make him number one in my life, my world began to change instantly.

I viewed friendships differently and was able to discern things that I hadn’t been able to reconcile before. Some of my friends moved on, and I distanced myself from others. God was refining me — even then. He used a serious illness to show me who my friends were. He used the loss of my beloved cousin to show me who I needed to excise from our family, and he equipped me to do it in a dignified way. It was during those times that he began teaching me about loyalty, forgiveness, and his ability to right wrongs.

I used to wish for do overs — a second chance to relive certain situations with fresh eyes– 47 year old eyes. I know that sounds like an oxymoron to have fresh eyes at 47, but I see clearer now than I did at 17, 27 or 37. Sure, I wear bifocals in order to drive, and I have prescription readers for writing these posts and reading things at work, but these old eyes have a clarity that human hands and modern medicine could not perfect. Only time, experience, and the Teacher’s daily lessons can give one that type of clarity and understanding. He’s been so good to me — a friend indeed.

A friend loves at all times. ~ Proverbs 17:17

He has proven his loyalty time and again. Holding me through the tough times, smiling with me during joyful times, comforting me through incredible losses, and pushing me to be all that he created me to be. Everything that I’ve asked for, he has given it to me in time. Those gifts never come in the beautiful white boxes with red bows I wrote about in yesterday’s post, but they do come.

I asked him to heal my body so that I could better serve him, and he pulled me from the deepest, darkest pit imaginable, and healed me just enough to do all that he has assigned me to do. Though I grappled with how he addressed my request versus how I wanted to serve him, his decision was final. He even reminded me that I could write about  him if I truly wanted to serve him. This was just another of his divine revelations that he had already equipped me to do his will. So, I did what he instructed me to do.

I asked him to give me a good husband and many children. Growing up as an only child, I relied on my first cousins and kids from my neighborhood for the kinship you expect from siblings. Not only did he surround me with the best childhood friends ever, he also urged me to teach and gave me a zeal for working with kids. He answered both prayers in his own time. Through teaching, I’ve experienced the joy of mothering thousands of kids.

I’ve also prayed for a loved one to someday know the Lord. Because God has been so loyal, I know that my prayer will be answered in time. He has allowed me to see part of the transformation already, and that alone has been a miracle. I can hardly wait to see how he answers this prayer — knowing that it will manifest in ways far greater than anything I could imagine.

Father God, thank you for always keeping your promises. You hear our cries, you heal our hearts, and you provide our every need. Your love is sufficient to mend families splintered by loss and coarse words. Your hand is mighty to deflect all the fiery darts of the enemy. Your breath is sufficient to give new life to the spiritually dead. Your voice is sufficient to alert all whose hearts are hardened. Lord, I ask that you speak to everyone reading this prayer in a way that they understand. Show them that you’re not a man that you would lie. Show them that you are loyal.  Amen! ❤

Before you leave today, please take a few minutes to listen to my Music Monday selection entitled “Loyal.” by Lauren Daigle. May blessings abound! ❤

 

Sunrise Sermon: Trust Fund Babies

Imagine that today is your 21st birthday, and though you only asked for money from your parents to use as a down payment on a new car, you woke up to something far greater. There were literally hundreds of white boxes neatly stacked throughout your house with big, red bows atop each one. Each box had your name clearly printed on it along with a future date plainly written under your name. Each box also had a short message affixed to the top of the box beneath the bow.

As you made your way downstairs, there were even more boxes — some large and some small, neatly packed into closets, the basement, and even the garage. There was no mistaking who they belonged to. They were all labeled “To: (insert your name here) From: Me.” Your parents were still asleep, but you made so much noise opening your gifts that they were awakened. They quickly darted down the stairs and yelled “Stop!” in unison, but they were too late. The damage had already been done, and there was no way to retrieve what had already been lost.

You see, the 21 year old, in his excitement and haste, ran to the large packages first and pushed aside the small ones. As he opened a large one, the small ones disappeared. At first he didn’t notice and continued to another large box with a future date of January 1, 2047. When he opened this one, however, everything surrounding it in the basement disappeared. Even though he noticed the smaller boxes disappearing, it didn’t matter to him because he still had the contents of the larger ones. Little by little, the smaller parcels disappeared as he tore open the large ones. When he finally finished opening all of the large boxes, he was spent and also very sad. He was the proud owner of several lavish gifts but had no knowledge of how he might use them.

Gifts

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

The test in this scenario assessed one’s ability to be obedient and to wait. Instead of starting with today’s date, which was a tiny box, this young man ran to a future date — merely because the size of the box intrigued him. We make similar mistakes in our lives each day — conveting what isn’t meant for us and doing whatever it takes to get it. With God as the Grantor of your Trust, you as the Beneficiary, and the Holy Spirit as the Trustee, you’re unlikely to have the same fate as the 21 year old in this parable if you are obedient.

Oft times, we just don’t want to wait. We feel a sense of entitlement, or worse, we feel that we deserve what others seem to have achieved through little effort, when we have labored in vain for years. As a result, we make poor decisions and take short cuts — only to end up right where we started.

The lesson in this is that waiting is necessary. We must trust that Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, will supply all of our needs. We must trust that God knows the plans he has for our lives. We must also trust that he will command his angels to guard us. We must trust that God will never leave us nor forsake us and will stick closer than a brother. We must also trust that he is almighty, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is so generous with the blessings he shares with us, and we are meant to be good stewards of those gifts.

Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. ~Job 1:21
As generous as our good Father is with his blessings, he also takes away some of our creature comforts that may invariably lead to ruin. Can you imagine if he gave you all of your blessings at once? Would you be good stewards of your six-figure salary at 21? Could he trust you to give to the poor and to serve in your community? Could he trust you to love him with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength? Waiting refines us — giving us the knowledge, skills, abilities, and wisdom to be obedient to the will of our Father. I challenge you today to count your blessings as you wait for the bigger ones to appear. They, too, have future dates attached — all with your name on them.
May blessings abound! ❤
If this post touched you in some small way, scroll down to the comments and leave me a message. Also, share it with your friends. This message is meant to be shared. ❤
Note – Bible verses courtesy of Biblegateway.com, Featured images courtesy of Google Royalty-Free Images.