The Not So Good

  • …The unexpected news that your teenage child is expecting a child.
  • …A department wide meeting that announces the company’s downsizing plans, which will leave you and your team jobless.
  • …The loss of a loved one unexpectedly.
  • …People walking out of your life who you thought would remain.
  • …People walking into your life with no good intentions.
  • …Information from the school that your child’s behavior does not reflect the daily reminders of morals and values that your family stands upon.
  • …Mental breakdowns, stress, anxiety, suicidal thoughts…
  • …The marriage that was expected to last forever.
  • …The wedding that has yet to happen.

We thank God for the good, but what about the not so good?

The word of God states that all things work (are arranged, produce, as a plan) together for our good.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NKJV

We must believe that even the “not so good” is for our good because we have a loving and kind Father who only wants the best for our lives, for the rest of our lives.

I die daily to this and have to remind myself of this principle – especially with the loss of my mother. Monday’s in particular are the worse because she transitioned on a Monday.

…but I’m learning to ask both God and myself a few questions that help me daily:

  1. How does my Father want me to grow from this?
  2. What is God going to do through me, that will impact the people around me?
  3. Father what is it that you want to be for me and to me now, that you could not be prior to my mother passing?
  4. How will this situation make me more like Jesus, my Savior?

These questions can be applied to every circumstance, challenge, and tragedy in life.

No hurt ever feels good but if we truly love God, we will take what He says to us, and hold tight (cling) to it. He says ALL things work together in our favor. Since God is the epitome of love, well my loving Father must be working out a loving situation for my Good.

All things imply that everything is useful to our growth in the spirit (not the flesh) because God is for us in every situation.

The question then becomes: During the process of all things being thrown at us, do we trust God while the work is being done?

It’s Just the Beginning

Amidst the darkness, a place of no return, a place is prepared for me to dwell. I’m afraid. It seems inhuman to be placed in such circumstances. Why would someone allow me to experience this? It’s dark. It’s cold. I don’t want to be here, but I cannot move. I cannot get out. There seems to be trouble all around me. This place is unfamiliar. What’s that noise? Who’s there? I need someone to get me out of here. Why here? Why now?

I was told that the process would produce purpose. But is this really necessary? I mean really!!! Talk about the valley of the shadows of death!!! Death is all around me and life is supposed to come from this?

The pain and the agony experienced through your life cycle will spring forth beauty- an everlasting harvest– so it is said. Nothing shall be able to hinder your forthcoming. Why is this change necessary to bring forth beauty? Can’t you just make me beautiful? Can’t you just create me to be what you need to be?

Why is it required of ME to change? Why was I selected? I was doing well! Why couldn’t well be left alone?

The change will render you unrecognizable. Forcibly and without any control, the process begins. You experience change unlike anything imaginable. Placed in the dark, unable to see; seated in unfamiliar areas. It’s cold, it’s damp, there is no light- only darkness seems to surround you daily. Then something begins to happen. It’s uncomfortable. Your current state cannot withstand the changes. In fact, who you used to be will not support who you will become. You are being pushed into uncharted territory. Cracking, breaking, stretching, pulling…what is that?

What is happening?

I resisted the change initially but now what I’m experiencing feels actually, amazing. What I have gone through has allowed me to push passed the darkness. In fact, it was because of the darkness that newness of life has sprung. Is that daylight? Ohhh Myyy Goshh!! I just felt something literally shift me and I had no control. What was that? It felt like the sweetest blow of a kiss. Was that the wind? Breathe on me again.

Wait! My vision feels blurred but I can see. What is this, light? The sun? It is so warm. It feels good.

You know what? This really did work out in my favor. Had I resisted the change, I would not have experienced the wind, the sun or these beautiful leaves and branches that now produce fruit for all to enjoy.

Yeah- I guess there is life after death.

(Blooming apple tree)

What you just read is me imagining myself to be a seed – an apple seed. I spoke as if I were the seed, about to be planted into the ground to produce a harvest. This analogy is true of life. Life begins when death ends.

When a seed dies, it goes through many transformations to produce a harvest that sustains life.

When Jesus died, He succumbed to many hurtful situations to produce a harvest of new lives and eternal life for those who desire to eat of His fruit.

When you die to sin, you experience newness of life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” II Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

  • When you disconnect yourself from the toxic relationship…
  • When you break away from the drug or alcohol addiction…
  • When you disconnect from toxic people who once told you that you were worthless…

You begin to see the beauty in your brokenness.

Death is not the end, it’s only the beginning.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

He Knows

It’s the start of a new week and a new day. Thank God for His protection, shelter and guidance throughout last week and we believe Him to be faithful this week as well. I often used to ask myself the question: “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” I’m certain at some point in your life, you may have had the same thought. There must be a reason why we are still here; otherwise, our lives could’ve ended long before now- even during childbirth. Obviously, His will was for us to be in this present moment and during this time; but just what is God’s will for our lives? I believe this is one of the most sought after questions that we ask the Lord. Knowing our purpose and what we are supposed to do, gives much more meaning and clarity to living. Even on our jobs, management will give its employees directives on what corporate, team and individual goals should be met for the year. Surely, the Creator of all – who is the reason why we exist, would tell us why we exist…right? Of course He will and He does.   • Do we distance ourselves in our relationship with Jesus, if our petitions aren’t met as we desire? • Do we back away or give less of ourselves when “we” feel we are giving more to the Lord than what He is giving to us (of course you do realize that we can never repay the Lord for all that He has done, but our mind will have us pondering this thought)?The busyness of our lives has taken over the time we really need to mediate and enter into the presence of God. When we seek His presence, this means we are actively seeking His will. We are putting forth the effort to come closer to Him.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Just what are you seeking Him for? Are you seeking for an answered prayer to “your” heart’s desire or to truly establish a relationship with Him?  1 Spend time in your word daily and meditate on it throughout the day. 2 Remind yourself that God is omnipresent – He is everywhere, including with you. 3 Take time to appreciate the many ways He reminds us of being present in our lives, beyond the prayers he has answered on our behalf (i.e. sunsets, sunrises, the birth of children, physical ability, knowledge to retain and to reach and teach others, being called to represent Him as His children)You can rest on a confident assurance that God knows the plans He has for us- even if we do not know. He says…I KNOW!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We must get to a place in life to say- Jesus long as YOU know, I can trust that you’re guiding me towards my purpose.

Hello, Fear!

Hello fear. 

You thought you would prevent me from fulfilling my purpose; but you see, I have become acquainted with someone who is now a dear friend. Her name is…FAITH.

My little ole faith rests in a big God- and that God happens to also be my Father.

Unfortunately for you…there is no room for the both of you (fear and faith) to be my dear friends, so I’ve decided to give YOU an eviction notice…GET OUT!

And if by any means you attempt to return, my security will be responding to ensure that you know…

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)
Faith vs. Fear

My little faith is in a big God!

The Justifier

In case you were feeling unpurposeful or unworthy of what you are being led to do, I just wanted to drop this in your Spirit- a little reminder for yourself that I used to encourage MYself…

Jacob was a deceiver.
Moses was a stutterer.
Sarai was barren.
Abraham was old.
Elijah was suicidal.
David was a shepherd and grew up to be an adulterer and a murder.
Jeremiah was a boy.
Thomas was a doubter.
Peter was a fisherman.
Paul was an atheist.
Noah was a drunk.
Jonah was full of fear.
Rahab was a prostitute.
The Samaritan woman was a five-time divorcee.
Job went bankrupt.

Martha was always whining and complaining.

The disciples were unreliable- falling asleep and stuff, denying Jesus, betraying Him…geez

God does not call the qualified.

He qualifies those he call!

If you ever feel like you are not worthy- not only to be used, but just to be saved…remember that Jesus used a bunch of broken people to share hope to a broken and corrupt world.

No matter what you’ve been through in life, remember that the same power that conquered death, pulled you from death row and now lives within you.

The next time someone tries to remind you of who you USED to be, remind them of who your Savior is, through you!

You better recognize who He is and who He is in YOU!

“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Romans‬ ‭8:30-33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Me when I’m confident in My Savior! Is He in you? #theJustifier. 

It is Okay to Be Kind

I cannot stress enough, the importance of being kind. The word of God is clear about being kind as a Christian; but not just to those who are kind to us. We should also be kind to those who are unkind.

This type of behavior is an active and live demonstration of operating in the fruit of the Spirit- but oh God- if we are truly being transparent, it takes everything to hold your flesh back from giving someone a piece of mind. Especially when they are a jerk for no apparent reason.

The way we conduct ourselves in the grocery store line (when the clerk is taking forever), in traffic, at work, and of course at home.

Our attitude and actions are a reflection of what’s really in our heart.

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You REALLY have to put forth an effort to be kind to someone who is deliberately unkind to you.

Our mind would tell us to treat them the way they have treated us, but that is not what Jesus says. If you can’t find a genuinely kind reply, just don’t respond. That person may think you’re crazy. They may even ask if you hear them speaking. If that’s the case, simply state: “I’ll get back with you. It’s best that I don’t respond right now.”

You don’t owe a response, especially if it will make you jump out of character (the character of God, that is). We do not owe anyone anything but love.

Romans 13:8 (NKJV) Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

As Christians, we should strive to be an example of Jesus Christ, everywhere we are and in everything we do. 

  • Smile and greet everyone you meet today (even if they don’t reply).
  • Provide a word of encouragement, rather than criticism.
  • Practice being kind to yourself.
  • Think of how you feel when others are kind to you and be that person to someone else.
  • Don’t allow someone else’s problem to become your problem.

Remember that we me must always strive to sow seeds of righteousness. What you sew will produce either a bountiful harvest to the spirit or dried up withered and spoiled fruit to your flesh. You choose. You decide. It’s okay to be kind. 

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:8-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

At His Word…

Do you have a dream or a vision? Most of us do. Sometimes we are uncertain of the path to take to make the dream a reality. What’s even more important is having guidance through the Holy Spirit, the strategic planning, and work ethic to match our faith (faith without works is dead being alone).

Are you someone who has started on the path of your vision or dream and now you feel stuck?

Did you think that by now what you wanted to create or what you have invested in should have produced more of a return?

Have you made a conscious effort to just do better but better seems to produce worse in your life?

Do you feel stuck in your walk with Jesus? The people you interact with speak more about religion than learning the person of Jesus, who He is and what He stands for so that you are clear on what to stand for?

No matter where you are in life, we all get to the point of feeling stuck. Frustration is a natural reaction to not so good news. But on today, I have some good news.

I just wanted to encourage your heart…DON’T GIVE UP!

This blessed my spirit on this morning during my studies. I read about a business man, who had been in the business for quite some time. He had seen some prosperous days and some days where he may have wondered if it was time to sail across another ocean (look for a new job). On this particular day of business, nothing was working for him. He tried many tactics to produce the very least of what he was accustomed to producing, to provide for his family – but nothing. He was a salesman. He sold and packaged the freshest seafood to his customers- but on this day…NOTHING!

Just as he was about to give up, he left his boat to wash his nets, call it a day and go home. As he returned to his boat, he witnesses a crowd of people, and a man seated in his boat by the name of Jesus. Jesus, without a request to use Peter’s place of business, chooses Peter’s boat, sits down, tells Peter to move slightly from the shore, and begins teaching the crowds of people.

Really Jesus? You just “deboed” Peter’s boat? FYI, Debo was a character who went around the neighborhood taking the things he desired from others- a big old bully. His character is from a movie entitled: “Friday.”

Nevertheless, Peter (known as Simon) did as instructed. Peter took his eyes off of his situation and focused on Jesus.

After Jesus finished ministering, He asked Peter to go farther out into the sea and drop his net. By this time, Peter has spent a considerable amount of time washing his nets. He is tired. He is sleepy and he is done!!! In fact, he was so done he, didn’t even put up a fuss about this man, he knows next to nothing about, getting on his boat and using it as a platform to minister.

Peter proceeds to tell Jesus: “With all do respect sir (Master), I have been here all night. I’ve tried everything I know how, and I have not caught anything. The fish ain’t biting today. I’m tired, and I’m going home.” (I’m paraphrasing here…)
But at the command of Jesus, again, Peter listens and throws his net down as Jesus instructs him. Low and behold, Peter’s net is so filled that the nets are about to break.

What am I saying? There was a period of time that had transpired from when Peter washed his nets, Jesus taught the people (who knows for how long) and when Peter dropped his net again. Of course we talking about Jesus who at his command, everything (except us humans) listens. Of course this was miraculous. But the point is- on this day, Peter’s timing was off. It was not time for Peter to catch the fish. He needed Jesus to direct his paths first and then Peter needed to follow the instructions of Jesus to produce a return on his investment.

Have you engaged Jesus? He is the same Jesus that gave Peter a business strategy. He told us to consult with Him first and He would direct us. We consult with the people whom we feel are the most savvy – the best SMEs (subject matter experts), but what about the one who creates the matter?

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6, KJV)

Let me encourage you this morning. You’re not stuck. You have been placed in this position to pause, reflect, and engage a business strategist by the name of Jesus Christ! This time, when you let down your net, do it at His command, and watch how it flourishes. Why would the Spirit give you something that would not benefit you? The vision is not yours. It is His. We aren’t smart enough to develop such elaborate businesses, but He is and God has placed special gifts within you to carry out this mission successfully- so engage with Him first.

At His word, let down the net.

“But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” Luke‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬