Monthly Archives: August 2017

Your Growth May Confuse and Anger Some…

In the last few months, I’ve gone through major changes: spiritually and naturally.

On the surface, the incidents appeared to be bad and confusing. Some were random and out of no where and others were festering like sores under the surface.

It was if God was saying now is time to bring the parasites to the surface. These pesky issues that were hidden away but draining you of your vitality and strength.

It felt as if God was performing an operation. There were moments of fear and confusion, yet I had this great peace and joy…as if I were resting under anesthesia.

My eyes had opened to who and what I was putting my focus and trust in. My trust should be in God alone, no one else.

This was the question that was asked in my heart: I know they have told you who you are supposed to be but what does God say?

There were times I was afraid to rock the boat, to embrace everything I wanted in life because I didn’t want to cause trouble or offend anyone. I didn’t want to be noticed. I didn’t want to face any kind of opposition. I was too tired. I was fine with that. That was the season I was in at that time.

But slowly I was emerging. I had found my strength in Christ, not myself. Some people had preconceived notions on who I am as a person and my fears became reality. Instead of celebrating my growth ( I didn’t expect that though), I was met with fierce opposition.

I want to warn you that if you are growing in Christ, you will face with opposition. The way you walk, talk and carry yourself will offend someone. The way you praise God will offend someone. Sometimes,  being silent when they expect you to be hostile will be offensive. Speaking the truth will offend someone.

Never ever reduce who you are to make anyone comfortable. We are all called to let our light shine! How can we shine when we are always trying to please people? You will know when and how it should be done because God will show you and mold you in a way that is pleasing to HIM.

You are being formed and fashioned into what God has called you to be. Not everyone is called to the same thing and even if it may be similar, it will still look different.

Jesus was a Nazarene. He was the son of Mary and Joseph, the carpenter. He lived 30 years quietly, learning the ways of God in the temple and being a good son. Then one day his ministry began. Jesus was not accepted or recognized by the Spiritual leaders of the Temple. It was even said of Him “Can anything good come out of Nazareth”?

 

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” John 1:44-47(NIV)

The Son of God had humble beginnings and was discredited by many. This serves as an encouragement to me. That if God had to go through it, what makes me anything special? Don’t be discouraged, fearful or sad. Don’t even be angry. Praise God and thank Him for drawing you closer to Him each day. Thank Him for where you are now. Don’t allow your past or anyone stop you from being who you are.

If you are an introvert, an extrovert, artistic, logical, or both; If you have a learning disability, a physical disability, a chronic illness, etc, don’t allow anyone to tell you that these things are a hindrance to your growth. God can use the introvert and the extrovert in different ways. He can use the artist to declare His glory through writing or ministry of song. He can use the logical and the intelligent to proclaim His goodness through teaching.

If you are quiet, acts of service and mercy might be your focus.

Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1Peter 4:11 (NLT)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Painful beginnings are to be expected when you are truly growing into maturity.

My Religion is Love

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

I was introduced to the Christian faith from since I was born. I heard about Jesus and He was a very big part of my life growing up. I knew of Him, admired Him and believed He was real. However, I never really saw what love truly looked like. All around me I saw hate, anger, bitterness and fear. I knew I wanted no part of these things but I had no clue what I was actually looking for as a replacement. My idea of God was a powerful being that held our spiritual future in His hands. We were to obey His rules and thus, escape judgement.

In the two major churches in my life, I didn’t see love either. I was force-fed their idea of what love was but it was just a mask. Everyone hid behind “perfection”, looking the part. You had to say the right things. You had to fit into the culture. Something hit me when I left this second time around.

Looking back at my own personal experience with God, I found true redemption. God stripped me of the legalistic mindset of good works as a means of winning His love, to finding His love as a free gift given through faith in Jesus. God was with me in my darkest moments, talking to me and comforting me, but I was too blind to see. He protected me from my poor choices and spoke to me in my dreams.

When I had my conversion moment, it was the day I saw God for who He truly was. A loving God. I started to measure the love people were force feeding me to the love He demonstrated. None compared! People were not mindful of what came out of their mouths. They would yell “hallelujah” and “praise God” and yet, they were tearing down other people. Gossip, malice, jealousy and even being fake! Imagine someone encouraging people to put on a fake smile when they clearly know they have something in their heart against another. Who are we fooling? Do we really think unbelievers are dumb? They can see through the facade. It made me check myself as well. I never claimed to be loving or anything of the sort, but I wanted to badly to understand what true love was.

I was not content with my environment and empty words. I was not content with empty acts of charity. God revealed to me that love comes from the heart. But where does a heart full of love come from?

I truly believe human beings are not capable of producing sincere love on their own. Every act of love and charity is a gift from God. He moves us to produce that first fruit of the spirit.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

*Screams* LOOK! It’s right there! “Against such things there is no law.” Love is a spirit! it’s spiritual.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[ must be born again.’ The wind[blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-10 (ESV)

To break it down, laws are rigid. They are a check-list or a to-do list of what is wrong and if you do these wrong things, a judge pronounces judgement. However, those who are full of love or produce the spirit of love are free! This love is God’s spirit. It takes no shape or form. It cannot be manufactured. It cannot be conjured up. It comes from a transformed heart and flows out of it. This freedom comes from focusing on what or rather who. It comes from a place of grace: pointing us to God and Him covering our mistakes.

Love comes from a pure heart. Not one full of malice or hate. Before one can profess love, one must deal with their heart condition. Like David, one must fall before God and ask Him to clean their hearts. This is something we must do daily!

Instead of us worrying about specific isolated acts of love, we must focus on the well in which it springs from.

Our love must point to the perfect love of Christ. Our love doesn’t compare to the love Christ has for us but we are known by our love for others. It transforms the way we think about ourselves FIRST! Then, it bubbles over and spreads like a flood.

We focus so much on evangelism and preaching the word. Winning souls and conferences. Friday night bible studies and Church ministry when all it takes to be a disciple of Christ is to love him and acknowledge him in all our ways.

It’s simple. God is love. His love is real and tangible. His love is pure and true. His love changes things. We are simply the vessels His Spirit uses. We cannot boast in our imperfect love but we can brag all day about God’s love. We can share our testimony and our stories of God’s love with everyone we meet.

Love is not cussing out someone who makes you mad. It is also, apologizing if you do. It goes even further in understanding that our words can tear and break people. It is understanding that we must bless and not curse. It is embracing the fact that God fights for us. We have a God that loves us and we can pray for our enemies. When they hurt us, we pray and tell God how we feel. Then He will soothe and touch our hearts and help us to mend.

It is showing mercy. People are not living holy lives for your comfort or benefit. It for their own walk with God. So if you see a brother or sister stumbling, encourage them! If they fall, pick them up! Correction is also love. Don’t flatter and lie about sin to make people feel comfortable. In love, correct them. Love wants to see others succeed too.

Love is about someone else and not you. Love doesn’t keep track of all the good you have done. Love requires us to die. Love sometimes means we must walk away for the sake of peace and for good. Love also means not enabling others to sin.

Our love will never measure up but our love is simply an expression of the change God has done in us. Love lasts forever. Why? Because souls last forever. Chasing after material wealth and success, these things will fade. But human souls live forever. It gets passed down generation to generation. One act of kindness can change a life forever and their children’s, children’s, children.

My religion is love. It never fails.

God Validates Me

I was relaxing in my bed before falling asleep on a cool Sunday evening in July, when I thought to myself: God validates me. All of my feelings and the things I’ve gone through, I’ve always second guessed experiences but God validates me and I feel heard.

Let me break that down. Have you ever gone through a situation where something happens to you, but you can’t make sense of it or believe it ever happened? On the outside, it looks on way, but when you take closer look you see things that doesn’t look right. So , you go to other people to see if they too, see what you see, but they don’t.

I spent majority of my adult life like that in every area of life. If I didn’t truly , deep down, have inner conviction, I would start questioning everything. But while I won’t deny it, I would flip flop and second guess myself or rather be double-minded. I would know deep down the truth but could never stick to what will enforce the truth.

It not only confused me, but others as well. It made me seem unstable and unsure. In many ways, it projects insecurity but my outward behavior made it seem that way.

It was because, while I admit something that will seem contrary to popular belief, but I don’t trust myself. GASP! OH MY THE HORROR! She said she doesn’t trust herself. Everyone run to the hills for this woman is a lunatic.

No, wait, hold up. Chotto Matte! I have my reasons:

  1. What do I know? I do know but “feelings are obsolete in the world of faith.” That means…
  2. I have learned to put my complete trust in God alone. That means not myself! There are plenty of verses in the bible that tells us why we shouldn’t trust ourselves.
  3. People also don’t know anything! What do they know that God doesn’t know? So, stop asking people before you ask God! Easier said that done, but let me tell you a secret: when I find myself running to people and I’m aware of this, I go back and talk to God instead. The more you do something, the easier it gets.

But have you ever noticed that when you talk to people you never feel quite satisfied but after praying you feel a sense of peace? Maybe it’s just me.

In, conclusion, God knows best and He wins! When I pour out my heart to Him he validates me. He listens. He lets me know He cares. He comforts me. Then, He begins to show me the truth about my situation in ways that promote repentance, growth and healing.

I’ve learned to put away preconceived notions on how He will help me and let him do his job! He’s the Ancient Of Days, He has the best track record for these sort of things.

And so, when your feelings are validated you feel loved! You have a voice! You are heard! And someone takes notice of you and wants to help you! Everyone wants to feel validated and it’s not a bad thing at all!

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be strong on your own. That false sense of strength was my downfall! So, I am warning you from experience. I am not strong. I need love and care. I need to be comforted. I need to be validated and affirmed. I need these things to strive and I have learned to seek God for these things not humans and definitely not pretend I don’t need it.

 

 

Be About Your Father’s Business: Walking into Your Purpose

The best yet most painful decision I’ve made this year was to physically and emotionally distance myself from certain people.

I am not strong. In the past, I would always say I’m strong, a leader and someone that can overcome anything. At first, it was an amazing feeling, to feel invincible and untouchable. But as I grew older, I realized that I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. None of us are, in truth. Human beings are not strong. I’m sure someone will disagree with me and that’s fine. When I realized that I couldn’t depend on myself, that’s when I became liberated.

Another lie I was told was that I needed people. In essence, we are a community of people with talents and skills that are limited to a person. However, I do not believe we should be clinging to a specific person or skill.

My freedom came when I had nothing to prove. I admitted defeat. My admission to being weak led me to pick and choose the company I keep wisely. I saw people for who they were. There were people that were hyper critical of me, put me down and had impossible expectations. To others, I was never good enough. Everyone had an opinion on how I should live my life and who I should be. I would become very angry or defensive, it was draining. Something rose up in my heart, knowing that if I did not get these negative comments out of my ears, I would become an empty shell. When I sought help from people, I was told to BE STRONG or WHO CARES or YOU NEED TO LOVE THEM AND HELP THEM. These words were bondage. It put a burden on me to carry the weight of these people’s words and actions towards me, making me believe that I could control how they responded to me. I was made to fix everyone so that they would love and accept me or rather shut up. Laugh

One day, I had enough and I blocked and deleted everyone. Those that I couldn’t block or delete, I just stopped hanging around them. I was told being alone is of Satan. Laughs hysterically. I was told God didn’t want me to be isolated.  Some days I believed these words, but the more I am living with these conditions, the more I have a sense of freedom. A heavy boulder has been lifted off my shoulders. I am free to think for myself without noise. I am able to feel my own emotions without internalizing others. I am able to focus on things of substance and not always trying to guard myself.

Another thing happened that made me believe that I made the right decision. I had stopped believing that I needed certain people to help me and just moved by faith. Deep down, I knew that God was with me and would send help as needed. I went to Him first and He knew who to send. I’ve had someone bless me without me asking or begging for it.  Because It wasn’t a so called friend, I was not made to feel I owed this person. I was free to take this gift and praise God for it. Acts of kindness are best with no attachments.

I am not alone or isolated like people tell me. The Holy Spirit of God is always with me. Even if the whole world lost it’s inhabitants besides me, I would still not be alone. God would create something and someone out of dirt to help me and vise versa. God is capable of doing anything and everything. I do not put my trust in human strength or wisdom. I do not put my trust in anyone above God.

In my time alone, I got to look into a mirror and see my flaws and shortcomings. I was able to identify them and present them to God. I was also made to see what made me beautiful. A lot of us walk around with shame and guilt but Christ already died for all of our sins! Please, do not feel condemned. Condemnation is for those outside of Christ by their own choice, but for those of us that believe, we are made free.

I’m also talking to those of you that have done horrible things in life. The outcasts and the misfits. Those that mistreated others. Those that have a dark, dark past. I am going out on a limb here to extend the mercy of God even to you. It doesn’t negate what you have done, there will always be consequences for your actions, but mercy and grace means that God will not give to you what you deserve. It is in true mercy and grace that the most despicable person can change. Jesus had mercy on the prostitute that was going to be stoned. In those days, it was considered punishable by death those who committed adultery. The funny part of it all was that none of the men that used her services were to be stoned, just her. Jesus did something that they did not understand. He showed her mercy and THEN told her to sin no more. We don’t show mercy and condone the sin, we show mercy and then point them to Christ so that they may be free from sin.

In my alone time, I am able to decide what I want to do with my life and how I want to serve others. I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t help others if I’m always guarding myself. I am best fit to serve if I stay true to who I am. No one knows me better than God. And I know myself better than anyone knows me. I know what I can and cannot do. I don’t want to be like anyone else but myself. God made each of us unique. We may share similar talents but even the way we use them is different. My advice is stop listening to other people and ask God for yourself. Better yet, live your life and He will order your steps. I spent a majority of my childhood asking God what’s my purpose, not realizing that you simply walk into it as you go.

YOU WALK INTO YOUR PURPOSE.”

Day by day, God places you in situations and circumstances to glorify Him. Did Shadrach Meshach and Abednego know that they were going to be thrown into a furnace that later was the catalyst for the King to acknowledge The Most High? And did Moses know that eventually he would become the one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and perform miracles? He was an old man when God called him. So don’t worry, If you are close to God’s heart, you are probably touching lives already. It doesn’t always have to be something grand. It could be as small as raising your children to fear God. Loving your spouse. Helping a sick relative. It could be as small as being honest and hard working at your job. It could be as simple and encouraging someone who is sad. Not everyone is called to a large platform. Are you okay with that? In everyday life we are to praise God. It’s not about a title or a large stadium full of people. It’s not about a large church or doing charity work oversees.

There are people in your life right now that could benefit from you being yourself. You don’t have to be a prayer warrior if you are not. Maybe you are best at acts of service. Maybe you’re not good at either of those but you are a good conversationalist. Maybe you are good at crafting and working with your hands, so you make baked goods and other little goodies that declare the goodness of God. Maybe you are good at comforting people.

I’m about to get up and twirl around because of how amazing that is. YOU ARE YOU FOR A REASON! Cultivate YOU and you will be able to help others authentically.

 

Remove yourself from drama, fighting and jealousy. Remove yourself from these petty things and embrace the breath God gave you. He gave you life not to waste but to invest. We are to invest our lives as treasures in heaven. You cannot change people so those that refuse to grow up, must be cut off, so you will not swim around in dirty water. Don’t get sucked into the crabs in a barrel syndrome. You do not need to hang around foolishness to change foolishness. You need to be about your father’s business so they may see the light in you. As you live your life, they will hear about you and they will know from what you do that God is real and true. More than anything else, guard your heart. It is right to have selective hearing and vision. Not everything is okay to listen to or watch. Don’t defile your spirit. You are not strong, so don’t give yourself up to be tempted. Honor the season of solitude and you will reap the benefits. In due season, from a healthy place, you will find and cultivate healthier and godly relationships!