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Praise Break: Enjoying Singleness

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“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.” 1 Corinthians 7:34 NIV

My last relationship was eight years ago. I was engaged and getting ready to walk down the aisle when everything fell apart. The wedding was called off, and I sorrowfully and reluctantly began to pick up the pieces of my life. I can honestly say that this was one of the greatest things that could have ever happened to me, and I am a better woman because of it. Through all of the ups and downs of the emotional rollercoaster in the years that followed the split, I have learned more about myself and grown closer to Christ. I have received more joy than I have known what to do with. I have also found myself in great amounts of sorrow learning how to let go, move on and forgive them and me. I thank God for His love and His continual mercy that has been shown towards me, and all those that He has sent my way to encourage me in times of need.

“The unmarried woman or the virgin is concerned about the matters of the Lord, how to be holy and set apart both in body and in spirit;” 1 Corinthians 7:34 AMP.

In my earlier single years, finding that balance between being concerned with what mattered to God and what mattered to myself was hard, and sometimes it still can be. For so many years, I was devoted to people, places and things. I enjoyed doing my own thing, living my life by my own rules and I never thought twice about it. It wasn’t until I really began my walk with Christ that He began to reshape my thinking pertaining to single living. I am so grateful for God’s grace and mercy because my life was so out of whack, and some days it still is hahaha. He has been patient with me, and He desires that all single people come into an understanding of what it means to be single the Godly way.

These last eight years have not been all cupcakes and lollipops, but they have by far been some of the greatest sculpting tools to shape, mold, and chisel me into the woman I am today. And I would do them all again if it meant helping someone else.

I am grateful for the life I am living and all that I have learn and still am learning about who I am and who God is. If you are in a state of singleness, enjoy it and embrace. Don’t grieve it, but take in its beauty. This season has more value than you think. Look to God, lean on Him, learn from Him and learn more about yourself. In the mirror of Him, He will reflect all that you are. If you are single, God has a reason for it. Ask Him, really ask Him, and allow Him to pour into you new hope and fresh perspective.

Thank You, Jesus, for the gift and beauty of a season to be single. All of those who are in a season of singleness, help us to understand the beauty and worth that it has to give. Give us new hope, new understanding, and fresh perspective so we do not waste the blessing and time You have given us. In Jesus name, Amen.

All Bible verses have been retrieved from crosswalk.com and biblegateway.com. The photo image was retrieved from online.

 

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Firstfruits

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Growing up, I was in and out of church for most of my life, and the concept of tithing and giving seemed to be something that I’ve always known about. But recently, God has been expanding my understanding of what it means to offer our firstfruits to Him.

Every morning when we wake up, we have a plethora of options before us that we can choose to do. We can: go on Facebook, check how many hearts our last picture received on Instagram, we can check out emails, check YouTube for new and interesting videos, we can check our text messages, use the bathroom, walk the dog, feed the fish, eat some cereal and the list keeps stacking higher and higher. So, what should the start of our day really look like?

“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” Exodus 23:19

Let’s back up for a moment because I know many of you may be thinking, “What is a firstfruit and why is it important?” This term was largely used in biblical times when many of the people were farmers and received much of their wealth and income through agricultural living. At the time of harvest each year, before the Israelites did anything else, they were to take the firstfruits of their harvest, as an offering to the Lord, to the priest in the house of God as a sign of reverence and obedience to God. They gave the first of their increase back to God; they gave their best offering believing that in giving Him their best, He would supply the rest of what they needed for their households. According to ‘get.tithe.ly’,

“The Hebrew word for first fruit is bikkurim—literally translated to “promise to come.” The Israelites saw these first fruits as an investment into their future. God told them that if they brought their first fruits to Him, He would bless all that came afterword.”

So what does all of this have to do with how we begin our day? EVERYTHING!

I feel like I have had a love/hate relationship with early mornings for a long time; even more so now that I have not had a drop of coffee since the end of 2018. So early mornings minus hot, flavorful coffee equals no es bueno. But nevertheless, Christ seems to be pressing the wake-up button of my internal alarm clock more and more. It has been a fight, a struggle, and a wrestling match to say the least. It hasn’t been easy, I have rolled over many times, and have missed opportunities to spend the early hours of the day with the Lord without disturbance. But I am so grateful for His relentlessness because He seems to always be patiently awaiting my rise from slumber an hour later when the alarm clock on my desk begins to beep.

Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and new mercies daily!!!!

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, “How does the start of my day have anything to do with a first fruit?”

“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.” Deuteronomy 26:1-2

It is the first increase we receive each day, and it is the new land that He has brought us into. Sleep gives us renewed energy, it helps our brain cells function and get refreshed, it recharges to hold information, and a new day means new life, a new opportunity. God deserves the first portion of our day because He gave us another day to live, breathe, and move about in the world. He deserves our first portion because He is Lord!

It is in giving the first portion of our day, that we are able to fellowship with the Father, receive wisdom for the day, revelations of hidden things, be loved on and filled with love to give to others; we are set in order, given a new perceptive, receive new hope to continue, given wisdom to navigate life and the list goes on and on.

‘‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’’ Jeremiah 33:3

George Washington Carver credits his morning prayer walks with God to the multiple ways in which he learned how to utilize the peanut. He would ask God to reveal His mysteries to him, and God revealed to him over 300 ways to use the peanut. Years after the peanut mysteries were revealed to him, he asked God again, and God shared with him over 115 ways to utilize a sweet potato. How amazing is that?! This all came from offering to the Lord the firstfruits of his day.

It’s not easy to get up early, especially when you’re tired, studying for finals, have to go to work, tend to children, tend to your spouse, run errands, have late nights, feel exhausted, and the list goes on and on. But this is not something we have to create a habit with by ourselves, but do it with the Holy Spirit, our Helper. I have heard that one of the greatest prayers we can pray is, “Help me”. And the more we consistently lean on Him and not on ourselves,  the more it will become a habit and the easier it will become. And the more we do it, the more it becomes apart of our lifestyle, and then the desire for it will take root and grow more and more. To the point where we cannot see our lives without it.

There is such a beautiful closeness that is built during our time with the Lord. I am learning that if I am not willing to get up when He nudges me in those early hours of the morning, which I am fighting like ever to heed His voice when He calls, that even when the external alarm sounds in the atmosphere, I must still offer Him the first portion of my day through thanks and praise, and be still to listen as He speaks. And even after learning the story of the mysteries revealed to George Washington Carver, it charges my faith to seek the mysteries of God even more.

There is such a peace and joy in having the privilege, as we do, of being spoken to by our Creator. He never neglects us, even when we neglect Him. His faithfulness is unending.  

Thank You, Father!

To not give Him this portion of our day, sets us up to be out of order with the heart and desires of God. He is the Creator of our timelines and the Orchestrator of our days. So why would we not want to spend time with Him, learn from Him, learn about Him and fellowship with Him?

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:4

We are His representation in the earth, and He desires to lead us and teach us in His ways so that we will be polished images of Him in the earth. And when we are, it opens the door to share Christ with others. Slowing down, and changing the routines of our lives can be difficult, but it is worth it when it means drawing closer to Him and being led in the way of righteousness. This causes us to be pleasing to the Lord. He is worth more than the last few moments of our day or the car ride to work. He deserves the best part of our day, not just any ol’ portion of it.

Each day, God meets me in the morning; I have been late to the meetings many times, but I am thankful that He waits for me to catch up. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right away, He honors our efforts and patiently waits for us to catch up. We have to be honest with Him in our struggles, and let Him help us. He wants us to lean on Him more than ourselves. He is always speaking, but are we always willing to slow down and listen? No, and that has to change. He is always desiring to pour out His mysteries into willing vessels, but we have to be still in our hearts and minds and allow what He is pouring out to land within us. Because what He is pouring out is not just for us, but for the whole world to be directed back to Him

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:10

God Bless!

Excerpts in this blog were retrieved from get.tithe.ly and I do not own any copyrights to them. Information given on George Washington Carver was retrieved from http://www.truenorthquest.com and I do not own any copyrights to it. The bible verses were retrieved from bible.com and I do not own any copyrights to them.
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Lift Up Your Head in Hope

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 13:12 NIV

We become weary with worry, sorrow, and despair when the fruition of our hopes and dreams become delayed according to our own timelines. Proverbs 13:12 has become one of my favorite passages to reflect on. It reveals to me the root of my despair when the wait seems long, but it also gives me great comfort. Comfort in knowing that as God fulfills my longings and leads me on the path He has ordered for my life, new strength of life will begin to spring up within me. It gives me an even greater reason not to throw in the towel, but to instead seek the Lord for strength to hold on as I wait patiently to see different hopes fulfilled.

In God’s word and in His presence we regain our joy in knowing that our hope has a purpose and we are refreshed in knowing that one day our hopes will be fulfilled. Not in our own timing, but in His alone because His timing is perfect and without blemish or delay.

As I read my bible yesterday, God’s Word fed my hope and brightened the eyes of my heart with joy. As I dug deep into the riches of His Truth, the whispers of the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share scriptures that are a constant rekindling of my joy and hope in the promises the Lord has placed in my heart.  So, down below are some scriptures that I have written down in my journal for my own personal meditation and reflection in times of despair. I pray they bless you as they have me. I hope your head is lifted, and your heart smiles at the hope that the Lord has promised. God Bless.

Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.”

Nahum 1:7 “ The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”

Psalm 139:9-10 “If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  

John 14:27 “ Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Colossians 3:14-15 “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Jeremiah 17:7  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

2 Chronicles 15:7 “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”

Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”

Psalm 103:1-5 “A Psalm of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Isaiah 40:27-31 “ Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

Romans 8:37-39 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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Lord, You Are Welcome

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“I may be broken, But You are welcome, I may need your healing and I say You’re welcome, I know You’re able, In spite how I feel, And I am depending on Your Word reveal, You are welcome” – ‘You Are Welcome’ by Psalmist Raine

We have to let God into our brokenness. From my own experience with this, I know it’s not an easy thing to do because it can cause us to feel open and exposed (like an open cut). But Who better to be open and exposed to than the One who created us?

Years ago, at a women’s conference, I wrote a letter to God. (I wish I still had it, and I may actually go on a hunt for it.) I don’t remember what I wrote to Him, but I do remember the response to it after it was read to those around me. Someone said, “You trust God with your fragility”. I couldn’t fully grasp it then, but it is now a peace that I am continually learning to stand in. God knows how fragile I am. He is hypersensitive to the cracks and missing pieces of my vessel and He is even more aware of how the cracks came about. And I trust Him, in my fragile state, to love me, to cover me, to fill my empty spaces and to still use me as a vessel for His glory.

Our brokenness is not a deterrent for He to come and reside in us. Our brokenness is not a hindrance for He to use us, but instead, our cracked vessel is the perfect place for a full and illuminating God to reside. The image above reflects exactly what I picture in my mind when it comes to the Spirit of God dwelling within our broken vessel. Let me share a secret with you that Christ shared with me, lean in close: it’s in our brokenness that His grace and mercy is able to shine through and light the way for people to come to Him. It’s our brokenness that shows the world that God accepts broken and tattered people. That perfection and wholeness is not the prerequisite for us to be able to come to Him, but instead, it’s a surrendered heart that He desires. And it’s in our brokenness that the Spirit of God is able to shine through and show as the glue that holds us together.

Brokenness doesn’t cause God to push us away, but when we give our broken selves to Him it causes Him to pull us closer. It causes our vulnerabilities to be fully exposed to Him in ways we aren’t aware of and causes Him to spread His blanket of love over us. It opens us up to be able to experience Him as Daddy, as Abba, Father.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalms 51:17 NKJV

Confess your sins before Him. Confess your brokenness to Him and experience His love in ways that are unfathomable. Today, take some time, some real time, to really lay your brokenness down before Him. Pour out your heart withholding nothing from Him, and watch what happens. You are His beautiful broken vessel, pieced together by Him alone.

The song below is one of surrender to God. I pray it becomes your personal confession to God! Lord, You are welcome, have Your way!!!!! 

‘You Are Welcome’ by Psalmist Raine 

I may be broken
But You are welcome
I may need Your healing and I say You’re welcome
(And) I know You’re able
In spite how I feel
And I am depending on Your Word reveal

You are welcome
You are welcome
You are welcome
(Lord) have your way

You are welcome
You are welcome
You are welcome
Have your way

You are welcome
Welcomed in this place God
You are welcome
Welcome into this broken vessel
You are welcome
Now God I give You permission to have Your way
Have your way
(Ayyyyyyy)

You are welcome
Welcomed into my situation Oh God
You are Welcome
Welcomed into my every being
You are welcome
Now I give You permission to please
You are welcome

Video link to the song: Psalmist Raine and The Refresh Live DVD “You Are Welcome” feat. Erick David Townsend

The image and the lyrics above were retrieved from online and I do not own any copyrights to them. The video was retrieved from YouTube and I do not own any copyrights to it. 
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Press

IMG_1317 (1)‘Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” ‘

Luke 8:43-48 NKJV

As we come face to face with the start of a new year, which will bring its own share of mountain tops and valleys, let’s make it our commitment to go after the Lord this year with the desperate urgency of the women above. With everything that life had brought her thus far in her life, she was broken, empty and completely depleted. But this low place was the perfect place for her to have the encounter of a lifetime.

In spite of everything you have come up against this year, just know that it is a setup to have an encounter of a lifetime with Christ. She could have lost all hope. She was afflicted with a disease for 12 years that no one could rescue her from. It was so bad that it caused her to not be able to see her family, live a full life, or fulfill her purpose in life. But with just one encounter with Jesus, her desperate thought and action to touch Him set her free!

‘For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” ‘ Matthew 9:21 

As we leave one year and enter into another, let’s decide to make this our heart’s cry. And to be made well can mean different things to different people. Maybe your ‘well’ is having a healthier mindset. For another, it may mean to finally let go of fear and walk in confidence. For someone else, it may be finally grabbing ahold of your purpose or your identity. And for another, it may be literally seeking Christ to heal you of a sickness or an ailment that is plaguing your body. Whatever this ‘well’ is for you, it can only be gotten in the presence of God.

Grinding to the top won’t get you what you need or long for and neither will getting a certain job, or finally getting into a relationship. These are not the remedies that will fix the wounds that have been opened in your life. It is only the presence of God that satisfies and fulfills. It is only spending time with Him that will produce the promises you are looking to manifest in your life. Everything you desire is connected to Him. He will provide the wisdom you are in need of to know what to do, how to do it, what to pray, and who to connect to. He will also be the One to provide the strength to let go, say yes, yes no, move on, stand up, and press forward. This new year, choose Him!

So, cheers to a new year with new adventures, manifested prayers, promises fulfilled, broken ties, nights of prayer and incredible encounters with the Spirit of God that will shake the earth to its core!

‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ‘ Matthew 6:33 

Enjoy this lyric video of ‘Give Me You’ by Shana Wilson below. God Bless!

 “Give Me YOU” SHANA WILSON lyrics

All Bible verses have been retrieved from bible.com. Shana Wilson’s ‘Give Me You’ video was retrieved from Youtube. The photo image was retrieved from online. 
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Be Humble

The devotional that follows is not one that I have written. Repeat, THIS DEVOTIONAL WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ME!

I was reading on the YouVersion Bible App this morning, catching up on a devotional I’m doing with a good friend of mine (sshhhhh, I’m a few days behind…lol). And while on my stroll through, I walked into the arms of a devo beauty talking about humility. It was such an awesome reading, I thought I’d share it with you all. Humility is not always an easy thing to walk in. Pride can slide in really quick, and knock the humility right out of us if we aren’t careful. I was really blessed by this reminder this morning and it is something I will be meditating on.

As you read it, allow it to challenge your thinking and sink into your heart. When you’re finished, whisper a prayer to God. We could all use some help in this area😊. I hope you enjoy. God bless☺️🤗

“Our church has a lot of influence, and with that comes a stewardship of influence. I feel responsible to leverage the influence—the platform—we’ve been given. Additionally, we live in a culture that applies constant pressure through social media to “build a platform.” It seems so natural to want to be insta-famous. And that’s not all bad.

Many people use their platforms for good. However, that pressure can become dangerous very quickly. It’s actually quite easy to justify self-promotion. I find in myself a growing obligation to clarify when an idea was mine or to make sure others know that I created the thing others are applauding. It’s sad, but it’s true . . . and it’s so dangerous.

1 Peter 5:6 says: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

This is so clear. My role is to humble myself under God’s leadership and sovereignty. God’s role is to do the lifting. When my heart is healthiest, God is doing the lifting. When my heart is nastiest, I’m jockeying for position and fighting for credit and applause.

Today, focus on humbling yourself under God’s leadership and sovereignty. Let what God says about you be what defines you. Take the role of a servant and embrace it, whether anyone notices you or not. Take advantage of every opportunity to lift someone else up, even if it means you might not get the credit or the applause for something you initiated.

Your job: to humble yourself.
God’s job: to lift you up.

Clay Scroggins
North Point Community Church”

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

“This devotional content was retrieved from YouVersion Bible App. I do not own its contents.”

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December Writing Prompt

Happy Friday Everyone!

As a writer, I am often searching for things to help get my creative juices flowing, and when I find the right something, it’s always such a blessing to me. In my efforts to be a place of encouragement and inspiration for all those who read my blog, I would like to offer you my own ‘something’. Below, I have attached a writing prompt for the month of December, with its link underneath it. I pray it will not only encourage you but that it will uplift you, motivate you and draw you closer into who God is. Enjoy and God Bless!

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December Writing Prompt

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The Lord Is In This Place Too

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“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”          Psalm 23:4 NKJV

Elevation Worship has a song called, “Here Again”. The first time I heard it, I honestly did not understand what it was fully saying. But as I listened to it over and over again in the stillness of my room, its lyrics began to pierce my heart.

Have you ever gone through a time in your life that made you feel like you were in the deepest pit you’ve ever been in? Have you ever had your heart broken? Lost a loved one? Got let go from a job? Felt like you were walking around aimlessly or directionless? Received an expected bill with no money to pay it? Gotten a terrible test score? Have you gotten some unexpected, painful news? It’s in times like these that life can seem hopeless. As if it was caving in and there is no way out; tears seem to sit tirelessly on the porch of your eyelids. I know this place all too well. Maybe you’re sitting in this place right now, and you don’t know where to turn to.

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” Psalm 120:1 ESV

“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the Lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 ESV

My life has been a myriad of ups and downs, as has all of our lives. And it is in these times that we can easily forget God, and we feel forgotten; not only by those around but God Himself. The pain sets in, and we can begin to feel the pressures of life. And if you’re anything like me, you can shift into superhero mode really quick; grabbing a hold of the falsehood that we can handle it all by ourselves.

This is such an empty and burdensome mindset to have, yet as human beings, we dig our boots in and we let this mindset settle on our heads, like a hat wrapped around our chin in winter. Don’t get me wrong, enduring and pressing on in the face of adversity is a good thing. But without God, without His boost, without His direction, without His strength, it is all in vanity and can cause us to be like a hamster on its wheel. It is when we forget to seek God, or even just remember that He is with us in that place, that we begin to take wrong turns.

“Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

In this passage in Deuteronomy 31, Joshua was getting ready to take Moses’ place, and lead the Israelite’s, God’s chosen people, into the land God had promised them. They had been wander in the wilderness for 40 years, and it wasn’t because God left them. It was fear that kept them from moving forward. It was their inability to remember that God was with them no matter what they came up against, that caused them to suffer for so long.

This is the same thing that happens to us; we forget God in the face of adversity and we carry a burden we were never meant to. A burden I tend to carry around is that when life happens, I have to keep it all together and just to figure it out myself. But this is not what God desires at all!

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”     1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

And on the day I heard “Here Again”, playing it on repeat, I sat on my bed, in the late hours of the night, as tears streamed down my face, I heard these lyrics:

“Not for a minute, Was I forsaken, The Lord is in this place, The Lord is in this place, Come Holy Spirit, Dry bones awaken, The Lord is in this place, The Lord is in this place”

As I listened, I was reminded. As I listened, I was overwhelmed by the Lord’s presence. As I listened, my sorrow turned into joy. As I listened, I was reminded that Christ was with me in the past, right now and that He would still be with me all the days of my life. I was reminded that He is with us even in the times we’ve forgotten Him, that He has never forgotten us.

Below is the link to the song “Here Again” by Elevation Worship. I pray it revives your heart, and your sorrow is turned into joy.

Here Again

Here Again (Extended Version) | Live | Elevation Worship

And remember: YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. YOU ARE NOT FORSAKEN. YOU ARE THOUGHT OF. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LEFT TO FEND FOR YOURSELF. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LED TO THIS PLACE, ONLY TO BE LET DOWN BY GOD. HE IS ETERNALLY FAITHFUL EVEN IN THE MIDST OF OUR FAITHLESSNESS AND DOUBT. YOU ARE LOVED!

The video was retrieved from YouTube. Images were retrieved from google images. Bible scriptures were retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com. Lyrics were retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com.

 

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Leaning on the Beloved

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A few weeks ago, I was searching the word for scriptures on love, and I stumbled onto Song of Solomon 8. Looking for more understanding of the text, I began looking up different commentaries.  As I searched online, I found a commentary written by enduringword.com, and as I scrolled down the page, my eyes landed on verse 5,

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5a NKJV

As I read further, there was a quote given by the nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon. He beautifully paints an illustration of his understanding of this bible verse and how it compares to Christ and His church. 

She leaned because she was weak and needed strength. She leaned because the way was long. She leaned because the way was perilous. She leaned because the path was ascending, going higher and higher. She leaned because her progress took her more and more away from others and more and more to her beloved’s side. She leaned because she was sure her beloved was strong enough to bear her weight. She leaned because she loved him.”

“Beloved, there is no part of the pilgrimage of a saint in which he can afford to walk in any other way but in the way of leaning. He cometh up at the first, and he cometh up at the last, still leaning, still leaning upon Christ Jesus; ay, and leaning more and more heavily upon Christ the older he grows.” (Spurgeon)

The picture Spurgeon painted set a fire in my soul and has helped me understand more and more of what our life with Christ should look like. When I read the scripture for myself, I see the trust and reliance the woman placed in her beloved. She knew she needed him to make it to her destination and she loved the closeness her dependency brought. She knew that he could hold her weight (her baggage) and she willingly rested on him without fear. She was not frustrated with his help, but instead, she welcomed every ounce of it. She even trusted his navigation skills, without question, to get her to the place she needed to be. She did not fight against his hold, but instead, she sank into it allowing his body to be what kept her standing and going. She was okay with the help of her beloved and she did not refuse it. What a beautiful picture that has been set before us.

But I now wonder, what my walk with Christ looks like. Does it mirror this depiction or does it clash with what God truly desires? How about yours? Does it exude the beauty portrayed above, or does it pale in comparison? Be honest with yourself.

In a world that tells us, we must be independent at all times and stand on our own two feet, making things happen on ourselves, this picture of leaning causes a conflict to arise against the lifestyle we have become so accustomed to. Though the world tells us one thing, God desires something entirely different.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” Exodus 14:14 NIV

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV

 “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” Psalm 127:1 NIV

In all of these scriptures, the common thread is that apart from dependency on God, we can do nothing and can go nowhere meaningful. I don’t know about you, but I needed God. Being successful according to man’s standards, yet missing the plan and purpose of God for my life, is something I don’t want. No matter how rich or seemingly influential I could become, if it’s at the expense of my purpose in God’s will, then the world can have it all…no matter how big or how small it may be. Truly meaningful success and influence in the world can only come from being in the will and purpose of God. God said in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Leaning on Christ, as we walk through this life, will bring us to the expected end that God Himself has ordained for us. Think about it, it’s nothing like following a set of directions only to get to the end and the final result is not at all what you expected. But many of us live our lives like this, and Jesus, our Bridegroom, just wants us, His Bride, to look like the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon 8:5. He wants His love (that’s us) to lean on Him as we journey through the ups and the downs, the mountain tops, and the valley lows, in this thing called life. Our life here on earth is only temporary, and then we’re gone. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to get to the end of my days and realize I leaned more on myself and the ways of man and not on the One who gave me life. And as a result, many people were left untouched by Christ through my life, my purpose left no mark in the earth for the Kingdom of God, and ultimately my life meant nothing because it was not lived out the way God desired. 

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days FASHIONED for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16 NKJV

In this scripture, the word fashioned means, “to mold into a form, to plan and to frame”. Did you know that God has already written the days of your life? He has already shaped the path that He wants each of us to live out. We are not always mindful of the activities we choose to take part in nor are we mindful to ask God if they are what He wants us to do, and because of this, we are not always walking on the path He designed for us. Every manufacturer knows the purpose of their product. They know what they created it for, what it can do, the limits it can go without breaking down, and the work it is able to do at its maximum capacity. In the same way, God knows what we are capable of, but it takes a leaning and dependency on Him to bring it forth in the earth.

He knows the journey is not always the easiest or the most enjoyable at times, and He even knows the loneliness that comes in life at different times, and these are some of the reasons why Christ walks beside us. He wants to be there to support us, to walk with us, and be the strength for us when we are weak. He desires to be our resting place and our guiding light. We can get nowhere fast without Him, but it’s only with Him, clinging to Him, leaning against Him, can we make it to the expected end He has fashioned for us; journeying together and leading us to all those He desires for us to influence and share the Gospel to. He directs us, in His strength, to those who need what He created us for. 

So let’s lean on Him, and journey with Him. Trusting Him with your life and destiny. He knows the purpose He created us to fulfill. Let’s lean into Him and discover that purpose and live it out for His glory with Him.

God Bless y’all!

Arnita Faith

 

All scripture passages were retrieved from, https://www.biblestudytools.com/.

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Love is___________

While reading my devotional yesterday from “100 Favorite Bible Verses”, it suggested that wherever you see the word love or it, place your name there. As I inserted my name, I realized how easy it is to miss the mark of giving out and showing the love that God gives to us. I realized that even the smallest shifts in our attitudes can taint that love that God desires to be seen through His children. I repented, asking God for forgiveness and help to show His love to the world, even in the tough moments of life.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To show love to people, is to show Christ to people. Today, do your own personal love inventory and place your name where you see love and it, and in your weak places of love, repent and ask the Holy Spirit for help. We aren’t meant to do this on our own; loving people can be hard. This is why it is so key for us to lean on the Holy Spirit for strength and help. It is in our weaknesses that God’s grace comes in and bridges the gaps in our lives. It is not by our own might nor by our own power but we overcome bleak areas in our lives by the Spirit of God. So let us lean on the One whose love is perfect, and allow Him to teach us, bridging the gap and developing in us His perfect love.

God Bless!