Tag Archives: Christian Life
Time for some more things I am grateful for. Feel free to join our gratitude community! We’d love to have you over @ Ann Voskamp’s site.
#26 – It’s been 30 days since my 30th Birthday
#27 – I survived by first semester of theology school
#28 – My Hot water heater was fixed last week (we can stop boiling water now)
#29 – A great dinner date with some cool friends and family
#30 – Daily Inspiration from the Word of God
What are you grateful for? Do share!
Saturday morning I had an interesting talk with one of my best girlfriends, Stephanie, about the Praise factor. We are living in an age where Praise is no longer a sacrifice offering but an art. It almost appears that there are the dos and donts of Praise. You will lift up your hands (though you don’t know why), you will say Hallelujah (though you are texting while saying it), you will recite the same “talk” that every one else says (because it shows that you have the gift of tongues when you actually don’t ). Praise has become an art show and not a personal gift to God for his goodness.
I have had the privilege to attend services at numerous churches across many denominations. I have seen Praise in all formats. Yet, there is one thing that I realize that we, the people of God, have not yet perfected or even understand. WORSHIP. As a special breed of people set aside by God, we have failed to give Him the worship He deserves.
Our fast-paced, I-need-everything-to-happen-now attitude has filtered into our Worship. Everything else gets our very close attention, but God gets what’s left over. Some of us may set time apart in the morning as we should, but how rushed is it? When we meet someone that we truly want to befriend, we take the time to get to know everything about them (well, as much as we can..). Why is this not the same with God?
As our Father and friend, we should devote the time necessary to get to know Him. We CAN’T truly WORSHIP God if we don’t KNOW who he is. We all have an idea who he is but KNOWING him is a whole other ball game. It is when we know Him that we will be able to worship him. It is when we worship him in spirit and in truth that we will be able to offer him a true sacrifice of praise.
True worship doesn’t wait till Sunday/Saturday, it goes on all week. If you worship him daily, the praise team won’t have to coax you into worshipping him in service. If you have set apart time for him on a daily basis, you won’t have to be ramped up to bring forth your praise. As children of God who have been created in his image and redeemed from sin through Jesus Christ, we have a lot to worship him for. When I think about where I would have been if not for God’s grace, I can’t help but to bow down and worship him.
God is a good God. As a matter of fact, he is the ONLY God and he knows every grain of hair on your head. He watches over you and gives us the air we breathe. Let us worship him! Not only for what He has done, is doing or will do, but because of WHO HE IS. Remember, anyone can praise, but can you WORSHIP?
Think about it!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his [a] ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. -Psalm 100
Thank you for being who you are which is everything to me. I apologize for my form of Godliness. Teach me to worship you in spirit and in truth….
Have you ever seen a child who gets caught doing what they’re not suppose to be doing? If they have some form of consciousness, they will shiver in their boots and start crying right away without you ever having to say one word. My niece is notorious for this. The minute you say “Kailah”, she starts pouting and is one step away from tears. Most of the time, I end up hugging and playing with her to show her that I still love her.
As I ponder on this, I am the same way when it comes to God. I am my harshest critic when I do something wrong. I will beat myself up about it all day. I can’t believe I did that. What is wrong with me? Sorry God. Please don’t turn away from me. See what I mean? By the time I am done with myself, God is still standing there waiting for me to shut up so He can hug me and say you’re forgiven.
I get so caught up scolding myself that I end up having a pity party all by my lonesome. Pity parties are notorious amongst women especially. Everyone has a man but me. I am not pretty enough. I can’t believe I am turning 30 and not yet married (that last one there is me.)
Many of you can relate to this. Self-guilt and pity parties can cripple you and they are exactly what the enemy uses to keep us from seeking God. He tricks you into thinking that God is this villain that pounces on you the minute you fail and doesnt give you what you want because you don’t deserve it. THIS IS SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH. God is a merciful Father who loves us greatly and forgives us when we come to Him with a sincere heart. He is not an angry villain waiting to destroy you the minute you fall. He doesn’t hold back your blessing because you are a sinner. If this were true, humanity would be extinct and no one would ever get any blessings.
The Bible says ALL have sinned. Not some, ALL. When we fall short of God’s will, we need to ask for forgiveness, get up, dust ourselves off and get back on track. King David was a prime example of someone who knew how to keep on keeping on with God. Though David committed some of the gravest sins – murder, adultery, envy, etc. – he knew how to win God’s heart. David had a repentant spirit and sought God every time he fell short. David asked for forgiveness and then went on to praise God.
He didn’t have a pity party, he didn’t spend excessive time beating himself up. He went straight to God, asked for forgiveness, made his petitions known and went on keeping on. As Christians we too need to develop a spirit of repentance, learn how to forgive ourselves and make our petitions known to the Lord and trust Him to fulfill them. God loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. Therefore, we should not let the enemy condemn us or keep us from His throne.
I am turning 30 on February 22nd and I AM PROUD! The enemy kept me from seeing the blessings I have received by having me focus on one thing that I do not yet have. Don’t let that scoundrel keep you from counting your blessings. Today, I am counting my blessings and I am celebrating 30 years of life in advance. As a matter of fact, I bought myself my first birthday gift today. (Isn’t it pretty?)
When the enemy tries to throw you a pity party, turn around and COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! I guarantee before you get to number 7, you will be dancing and shouting Hallelujah.
I don’t know what you did this week or this morning that the enemy has you beating yourself up for. I dont know what accomplishment you haven’t yet completed that he is throwing you a pity party for. I have come to let you know that God has already paid the price for your sins and He is working on your blessings. All you have to do is confess, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself, accept yourself, make your petitions known to Him and keep on keeping on. Remember, a saint is not one who has never fallen, but one who has fallen and gets back up again.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:1
I’m sorry for falling short of your will. I am sorry for focusing more on what I don’t have than on what you have blessed me with. Please forgive me and help me to forgive myself. I know I am not perfect but I know if I keep on keeping on, you will help me to come out victorious….
Last night as I tried to think of a topic for this morning’s devotion, the statement Don’t you let go came to mind. I thought about it for a minute and was brought to the story of Jacob and the Angel. You see Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and now was in need of the Lord’s protection and intervention. Esau was on his way and we all know it wasn’t going to be pretty when he got there. Jacob began to pray real hard then something miraculous happened.
Genesis 32: 24-28
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Boy do I want to be like Jacob. Jacob wasn’t having it. He fought with the Angel and would not let go. They fought all night till dawn. The angel told Jacob to let go and Jacob said I WON’T LET GO UNTIL YOU BLESS ME! Now that is what I am talking about. When you come before the Lord and make your petitions known, you need to hold on until you get your blessing. Don’t give up because things are rough, keep holding on. Don’t give up because your back is against the wall, keep holding on. Don’t give up because the enemy said you are losing, keep holding on. Hold on until you receive your blessing. Keep praying until you see your breakthrough. As a matter of fact, P.U.S.H – PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS.
If you have to spend all night wrestling with the Lord until the break of dawn, WRESTLE ON IN PRAYER! Hold on to the Maker until He blesses you. All too often, we give up when things get rough. God wants us to be like Jacob and hold on until we see our breakthrough. Don’t let go of the Lord.
I pray that this devotion will inspire you to keep pressing on and wrestling in prayer. Deliverance is on the way so DON’T YOU LET GO!
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD – Psalm 27:14
Thank you for teaching me to hold on. Strengthen me Lord and help me to wait patiently for my blessing. Like Jacob, I won’t let go of you until you BLESS me and even when you do bless me, I still won’t let go of your hand. I place my life in your hand and I know that my deliverance is on the way….
I was watching Joel Olsteen last night and he was talking about having a critical spirit. In his sermon he shared the story of a wife who would call her husband over to the window everyday and point to the neighbors laundry. “Look how dingy her clothes are. Doesn’t she know how to do laundry? I wouldn’t let my family wear those.” She said. One morning she woke up looked out the window and saw that all of the clothes were bright and clean. She called her husband over and said “Honey, she finally learned how to wash her clothes.” Her husband replied, “Honey, I woke up this morning and just cleaned our window.”
Like this lady, there are many of us who can only see the negatives in everyone and everything because we are looking through dirty windows. If everytime you speak to someone it’s about what you don’t like about them, you will eventually cause them to pull away. I have a fellow church member who has a masters degree in criticism and is working on her doctorate in fault-finding. No matter how well the program would go, she would be the person to point out that the microphone cord was on the left hand side and should have been on the right.
As Christians we need to put away the spirit of criticism and develop a spirit of praise. Stop sweating the small stuff and start praising the real stuff. Take the time to recognize the strengths of your children, recognize your husband’s efforts, your employee’s creativity and your friend’s talents. People naturally respond better to praise than criticism. Life is hard enough without having people throwing you under the bus.
It’s time to put away the spirit of criticism and burn it. If you have friends that do nothing BUT criticize everything, GET NEW FRIENDS. I am a strong believer that if “so-called” friends can trash someone when they are not around, they will trash you when you are not around. Joel Olsteen said it best when he said “Your ears are not garbage dispensers. Don’t allow people to fill it up with trash.” Don’t just sit there and take it all in, tell them you don’t want to know, tell them let’s pray for them instead or just simply excuse yourself. Whatever you chose to do, don’t chose to sit there and partake in it.
For the past few months, I have been walking out of gossip parties and avoiding criticism stations like it’s the plague. I do not want to partake in these discussions and I am better off knowing less than knowing everything. The Bible speaks against gossip and that is all I need to know to keep my mouth shut.
Here are some of the verses:
Leviticus 19:16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.
Psalm 101:5 Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure.
Proverbs 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
Matthew 12:36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
The Lord speaks about this throughout the scriptures and it is in our best interest to rebuke this spirit and use our tongues for the right purpose. My mouth was created to praise the Lord. I cannot use it on the praise team, bible class, pulpit and in witnessing, then turn around and trash, bash and destroy someone’s reputation with the very same mouth.
Let us commit to changing our critical spirits. Like momma would say, if you don’t have anything good to say, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.
Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 1 Peter 3:10
Help me to rid myself of this critical spirit. Show me how to see others through your clear windows and lift their spirits by praising their gifts. Teach me to tame my tongue and guard my ears from gossip and let your praises be the only thing that comes from my lips and….
Last night two of my girlfriends and I linked up for some relaxation time. The guys were off to their Superbowl party, so the ladies had some girl time. We watched the movie “Precious” which is a definite must see. After the movie, we shared some of our experiences and how faithful God has been to us.
As they were talking, I thought about my current challenges and how bleak the road ahead seems to be. I know that God is working it out, but not knowing WHEN He will open the door is a difficult place to be in. The enemy has surrounded me and he is throwing his best attacks my way. Where’s God? I ask myself. Does he not see this? What did I do to deserve this? Then I hear him answer, YOU DID NOTHING TO DESERVE THIS! The enemy is just showing off, but I GOT THIS!
This takes me back to the garden at Gethsemane. I imagined how Jesus must have felt to see the pain that was in store for Him. The agony He must have endured. But like Jesus, I know what is happening now is for a greater purpose. However, right this minute, I want to ask God to “take this cup away from me”. It seems like too much to bear and I just wish God would just come down and rescue me NOW. However, I know I must get to the point where I can say Not my will, but thy will be done.
It’s not about how I feel, its about Jesus. It’s not about when I want it, but it’s about His perfect will. Sometimes, you will feel like your back is against the wall and enemy has mounted an attack on you. You look to the left and see no way out. You look to the right and see more attacks. This is the time where you need to look up and turn it over to God. This is the time you hand everything over and stand still.
This test is for a new testimony. Your sling is being stretched further back so you can go even further. God has a plan and He hears your cry. His delay is not to hurt you but for His glory. When He enters the midst, all will know that He is God. Cry if you must, yell if you must, but don’t give up. Don’t let the enemy win. Your General is mapping his attack and He will arrive right on time.
This battle my dear is not yours, it’s the Lords. Let Him fight for you. When He fights our battles, we come out victorious. He is not a loser, he doesn’t know how to fail. Therefore, we are guaranteed to prevail. Look up! Help is on the way. Look to the sky! Jesus is drawing nigh. There is no yoke to heavy for him to bear, just take it to Him and leave it there.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
I am standing here in need of your intervention. My knees are weakening and I can no longer stand. I need your help Lord. I need you to help me stand. Father, I know you can not fail. Please fight this battle for me. I can not fight it but I know if you do, we will conquer. Give me the strength Lord to wait on you. Take over this situation and make it a new testimony. I place my trust in you Lord and I thank you for my breakthrough even now…..
“Let go of me” she must have said as they dragged her out of the room and through the streets. “Stop it, your hurting me.” She said. They continued dragging her through the crowd and threw her on the ground. Right there in the center of the crowd laid Mary Magdalene.
I could just imagine the pain and shame she felt as the lawmen rallied to have her stoned. “What will become of me? I don’t want to die this way.” She must have thought. “He said he loved me, why is he now chanting with them.” She cried. Then the crowd grew silent.
“Jesus, what do you think of this case? This woman was caught in the very act of adultery. According to the mosaic laws, she must be stoned” said the lawmen. “STONED!?! Oh No!” she thought. She looks up and sees Jesus writing in the dirt. He then looks up and says, “You have judged rightly, she is guilty of sin. So, he amongst you who is WITHOUT sin, cast the first stone.” Mary shreeked, tightened her eyes shut and quickly covered her head. A few moments later, she opened one eye and glanced around. To her amazement, they were all moving back and dropping their stones.
She opened the other eye and looked around again and they were moving further and further back. Then, she looked up and saw Jesus’ outstretched hand and He said, “woman, where are thy accusers? No one accuses thee and neither do I, go and sin no more.”
Hallelujah for Jesus! Although Mary was the talk of the town, Jesus showed her compassion and forgave her of her sins. Christ saw beyond her sins and gave her a second chance. Despite her distasteful reputation, Jesus went to bat for her. He became her advocate, He stood up for her and then He set her free.
When Jesus forgives you of your sin and delivers you from the enemy’s stronghold, He doesn’t just leave you there to fend for yourself, He sets you free and restores you.
Are you the talk of the town? Is everyone pointing their finger at you? Have you been placed on the “don’t be like her” bulletin board? Mary Magdalene’s story has a message for all of us. The message is Jesus can restore us. Don’t be concerned about what others are saying, what they are thinking, etc. The only thing that matters is if you come to Jesus, He will go out to bat for you.
I remember when I was the talk of the town, “What’s wrong with that girl? Why can’t she ever keep a man? Is she ever gonna get married or is she planning to be an old maiden? ” People would go on and on and on about what they thought I was not doing right in my life. Sometimes it would get so discouraging that I actually started to internalize their words. Thankfully I would remember this story and be comforted knowing that I would rise again.
We must remember that Jesus was also the talk of the town. The lawmen called Him all sorts of names and tried repeatedly to entrap Him. They made all sorts of false accusations just to get rid of Him. Though they succeeded in getting Him crucified, He rose again on the third day. Hallelujah! The icing on the cake was that Mary Magdalene – the talk of the town – became Mary the Evangelist spreading the message of His ressurection to the people of the town. God restored Mary and He can restore you.
Just try Him!
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28
Thank you for showing me that you can restore me. I have not always made the best decisions and have fallen into sin so many times but, I know that if I come to you, you will be my advocate and forgive of my sins. Lord please help me to rise again and transform me into a mouthpiece for your Kingdom….