For years, I prayed that God would reveal His calling for me. I wanted to be given a clear task that I could pursue come what may.
And because God is faithful, He gave me two! Two massive pursuits that I could never complete without super natural power.
Working a plan for a goal that seems to grow in size every day, can be overwhelming; especially when my conventional job requires so much concentration.
My prayer now is for more faith and discipline. I must rely less on my abilities and more on God power. I must stay on the path no matter how I'm tempted to wander.
We are called to OBEY, not seeing, just believing.
And, so I will use today to fortify myself for the week ahead. Never attempting to do more than the day's allotted task.
This is no easy feat for a butterfly.
Everyone Seeks God. But Most Don't Know that HE is who they seek.
This desire to seek God for answers, solace, and rest is universal. Unfortunately, many do not yet know that God is the only one that can fill the void that we all feel. Over the years, I have discovered that the world cannot solve spiritual problems. The world cannot cure loneliness, despondency, spiritual depression. In other words, no matter how hard we try, we cannot manufacture friends or create truth. Money and power may grease the wheels but will never bring peace or modify your countenance.
If we know that God is the answer, why don't we seek HIM?
The world teaches us that once you discover your fundamental purpose in life, then you will have wealth, happiness, purpose. But in fact, this is not true. God has already told us that there is but one purpose in this life: to build a relationship with God and to strive to learn so much about Him that you begin to act, think and comport yourself like HIM. That is it!
To many this simple truth does not hold enough gravitas. So most of us opt to chase after the shiny things of this world: success, wealth, power, status, love, beauty.
It is only when we achieve these things that we realize how hollow and inconsequential they are.
God's way is so much better because when we seek after HIM, we seek after the one thing that will make us happy. God in return rewards us with gifts to make the quest bearable. God gives us special talents, personal pursuits, travel, family, great heights, - all curated just for our unique personalities to motivate and cheer us as we navigate through this earthly condition.
When we live for God, he will give us the tools to navigate this life. He will provide resources, a profession, respites, success - all to help propel us forward.
But these gifts, motivations and tools are never the goals of life.
God is the goal, darling.
I believe in the power of good and evil. I believe in the existence of a benevolent Christ and a malevolent Anti Christ.
The Anti Christ (AC) is a thief, always seeking to entice us away from a SPIRIT filled life. The AC consistently attempts to shift our focus away from God and into:
Even now, I still battle these moods. It is interesting to note that when I discovered the Christ, my fundamental personality did not change. Rather, I just learned how to manage my feelings in a different way. Now, I try my best to rely on the Spirit to alter any sad feelings in real time.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5
You may not feel happy today. But whether you feel happy or not, recite and believe the truths of God as chronicled in the Scriptures.
1 Timothy 6:12, NIV: "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
Say to yourself: I believe God's word is true and I will stay my soul on it, I will believe in it come what may! Never the LESS, I will believe. I will trust.
Then sit with God quietly, asking HIM to fill you with His Spirit. Don't move until you feel your countenance shift.
When you do these things, you will be on your way to escaping the mean reds and you will be able to continue Onward and Upward.
[PLEASE NOTE THAT It is important to pay attention to both your physical and mental health. It is always a good idea to contact a professional if you are feeling BLUE. But, as you seek out the perfect counselor, be sure to ask God to assist you in discerning the right advisor for you.]
When I began working remotely from home, I thought I would finally be in a position to take care of all of those “honey do” action items memorialized on my refrigerator door. Nope! Even now, I still don’t seem to have enough time to do the things I ought to be doing.
Peter likewise complained about the lack of time to get things right despite his best efforts. And, he offers some advice on how to be successful anyway. In a nutshell, Peter admonishes us to strive to lead an ordered and disciplined life.
2 Peter 1:5-7
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control [d]perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
Like all great leaders, our ability to organize ourselves despite the chaos of life enables us to obtain success. Peter advises us to add virtue and diligence to our faith in order to ensure a specific perfect outcome.
According to the great theologian D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones virtue is defined as vigor or energy/strength. In order for us to be happy here on earth, we must not only be vigorous in our earthly pursuits, but we must be vigorous in our Christian pursuits. In fact, if we want to be happy, we must actually pursue God with even more energy and fervor than we use to pursue our careers and material gains. We must believe (faith) and we must seek God with energy and power.
When we make every effort to exercise self control, to be just and kind, and charitable to all, we will be rewarded.
2 Peter 1:8-11
8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither [e]barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God knows that we are not perfect and that we make mistakes even as we strive to serve Him. God asks that we simply strive to be diligent and disciplined. If we “make every effort” He will reward us. It is our effort plus His grace that ensures victory.
-Be encouraged in 2021,
When I get angry, I cannot breathe. When I am angry, I lose my connection with the Spirit and simply react without a thought of the consequences. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged the power of anger- and he advised that when confronted with hate, “you must be willing to suffer the anger of the opponent, and yet not return anger.”
It is important to note that anger is not evil in and of itself. While anger can beget terrible violence. It can also be a catalyst for positive constructive action that can result in a seismic shift.
In 1963, Clarence Jones, an attorney and speechwriter for Dr. King went to see King in a jail in Birmingham. Jones recalls that King was angry because he had seen a full page ad in a local newspaper written by a white clergyman. The Clergy’s letter stated that Dr. King should leave the city without mentioning the injustice that drew him there. King’s response was to write the famous Letter from a Birmingham jail where he discussed the justifiable anger of Blacks.
Throughout his life, King demonstrated how to use anger productively. When asked how to avoid lashing out at loved ones when one is angry, he said, “You expel a lower vice by concentrating on a higher virtue. “ In other words, “a destructive passion is harnessed by directing that same passion into constructive channels.”
It is constructive to Protest, to Demonstrate, to Write, to March, to Speak, to Set an Example, to VOTE and yes, even to agitate. Recall that when Jesus was confronted with people of power who defiled the temple of God, he reacted by turning over tables and driving them out of the temple.
We know that the bodies of the people of God, like the temple of God, are vessels for the Holy Spirit. Therefore, no one has the right to defile our bodies through hundreds of years of unspeakable terror. I stand in solidarity with the protesters on the front lines agitating for change throughout the US. Our anger is justified and it is time to drive out of power all those who will not enforce the laws of this land justly.
I am in prayer now to determine how to channel my anger into constructive action. In my experience, it takes Spirit Power to exercise restraint while simultaneously working to enact change for the the better. It's a promise, darlings.
15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
to drive out those who would defame the temple of God (the bodies of God’s people).
Running too hot or too cold or lukewarm is never a favored position in the Christian Life. Instead, a balanced life directed by an all knowing God is best. Consider a vine: vines need never ask fret over which way to go or how they will be fortified because of their close connection to their life source. The result: they go where they are directed energized by the sap from their maker. Jesus likewise benefited from a perfect relationship with God. Every step He took was guided by the Spirit. He worked when directed. He rested when directed. He preached when directed. He celebrated when directed. His life was perfect because his life was a perfect balance of intellect, physicality, emotion- mind, body, spirit. The effort is ours. But, happiness comes when we trust God with the directions. Any other approach including taking matters into our own hands, will leave us weary and disillusioned. There is no joy apart from God. This is the truth, darlings.
“Yes, I do believe Jesus is the Son of God.”
I also believe that Jesus is a perfect example of what man can do when he commits himself to learning about God and following His precepts.
Imagine the possibilities if we would get in sync with God and the Holy Spirit. If we worked to become like Jesus, we would become super spirit filled heroes. We would be transformed from frail humans to miracle working paragons of faith. We would be able to face death without fear. We would be full of knowledge of God. We would even die and be resurrected again.
Today, thanks to Jesus’s sacrifice, we can approach God whenever we desire to do so - even when we have made a mistake. Jesus’ sacrifice makes this possible!
I am ever grateful to Jesus for His selfless act.
Yes, Jesus is real. He is the Son of God. He is the Holy Lamb of God.
Happy Easter, darlings.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
When I first memorized Psalm 23, I did not understand the true meaning of the words. But over time, as I grew up and began to face my own challenges, the words began to take on new meaning. It was as if the words represents compressed layers of truth. The longer I studied them, the more sense they made to me.
About 2 years ago, I had a break through. Finally the words of Psalm 23 resonated and I began to more fully understand the relationship between a Good Shepherd and His sheep.
First of all, to be described as sheep is not a compliment.
Sheep are actually defenseless, stubborn, and quite frankly silly creatures. They are not graceful or strong.
David Murray at Head Heart Hand ministries wrote a wonderful description of sheep that lists their 12 characteristics.
Here are some of my fav excerpts from DAVID MURRAY:
If we are like SHEEP, then Jesus is the GOOD SHEPHERD who will give His life to protect us, to care for us, to love us.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Forerunner Commentary provides another fun fact about sheep.
Sheep are “excellent dry weather animals and they can go for months without taking a drink of water from a pool.” How do they do it? Sheep have a habit of getting up “early enough to eat the grass in the morning when the DEW is still on it.” If the sheep eat the DEW in the morning they will survive.
And so it is with us. Even if we are best described as dependent, defenseless, stubborn, silly creatures; we can still survive the harsh conditions that surround us; provided that we get up early to fortify ourselves with dew, or more precisely, the WORD OF GOD.
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
We know that we serve a powerful God who has devised a perfect plan for us: a plan to prosper us not to harm us. Yet, many times, we stray from the perfect path. Why?
God’s will can seem tiresome, too difficult or not flashy enough. Or else our own hearts tempt us to wander. During these times, it is best to ask for WISDOM.
Wisdom can be defined as knowing God’s Plan for your life and having the courage and the strength NOT TO STRAY from the Plan despite temptations, trials and fatigue.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1: 5-8 NLT
Is there anything more difficult than waiting patiently for God to reveal His wisdom?
Can you change your circumstances without sin and without crime? If you cannot, you are commanded to stay in the uncomfortable circumstance without allowing the circumstance to control your mood, your outlook, your actions. In other words, you are told to be CONTENT.
Contentment means living independent of circumstances and conditions. Even when your surroundings are miserable, you must remember that you are still in control of your response to these conditions.
Our lives are not dictated by our surroundings. Instead, our lives, our next steps are dictated by a loving God.
So how do we suffer being abused at home, at work, at school without complaint or bitterness or retaliation? How do we suffer from lack of food, clothing, shelter and not become depressed, angry, violent? How do we suffer physical illness, mental instability without becoming catatonic or suicidal? How do we live in a wealthy state without forgetting about God?
How can we live without allowing our good, bad or uncertain circumstances to affect our joy, peace, work ethic or ability to love?
Developing a Godly Perspective is Key.
Circumstances change. This is a fact. One season you are on top of the world and another season later you are under water. Dancers have learned that during a pirouette they must fix their gaze on an inanimate object to avoid dizziness or imbalance. It is the same for us. During a crisis, we must fix our gaze on the only inanimate object in our lives. This is not the time to recall your savings account balance, or your fabulous boyfriend, or your beautiful children or your great job. (these are blessings but they can change in an instant) Instead, this is the time to remember God’s promises to us. God does not change. His promises do not change. These are facts that we can count on.
Before you take matters into your owns hands at work, rob the Savings & Loan, or over indulge in an effort to manage a difficult situation, I invite you to remember God has not abandoned you. And He will step in to help.
As you wait on God, continue to take (fair and legitimate) steps to improve your situation and when things are at their worse, remind yourself of a few simple truths.
Our most difficult challenges cause us much turmoil.
But each time we overcome a bad habit, perfect a difficult relationship, confess a sin, forgive an enemy, humble ourselves and pray we become more and more like Christ. We move up a little higher.
Therefore it is up to us to constantly encourage ourselves and others through and over life’s circumstances. The result is NOT contentment WITH the world and its folly but instead contentment IN the world.
It is a process, darling. But the sooner we begin the journey, the happier we will be!