Beauty for Ashes

Can I encourage you on today? No matter what you have gone through. Regardless of how broken down your heart and spirit may be, there is beauty in your brokenness.

  • Your brokenness was good, because it brought God near to you.
  • Your brokenness made you humble.
  • Your brokenness made you fall to your face and seek God.
  • Your brokenness brought your salvation to you!

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalms 34:18 NKJV

Your brokenness was not meant to be a lifelong condition, but a season of reflection, repurpose, redevelopment, restoration and redemption by the blood of Jesus.

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Your desolate place will become the fertilizer for the seeds of righteousness that have been planted in your life.

We must learn to not give our past permission to control our future. Your past was necessary to birth purpose but your past only tells a portion of where you have been, not who you nor who you are becoming.

The next time the enemy tries to remind you of what you used to do, who you used to associate with, where you used to hang out, you remind him that a great exchange has taken place. Remind him that Jesus has given you beauty for the ashes of a desolated place.

Remind him that his destiny is already predetermined. You remind him of where he used to be, what he used to do, the glory he used to have, and what his destination is- the lake of 🔥

If You Don’t Mind, It Won’t Matter

I believe that if we change our response to situations and see challenges as opportunities for God’s glory to be revealed through us, our level of stress will diminish and we will learn to give God glory through and in everything.

“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

But…ummm, that is no easy feat. This way of thinking takes retraining everything that we have been taught both verbally and visibly throughout our entire lives.

How do we accomplish this? We must keep our mind on the Lord. Now, can you literally keep your mind on the Lord all day? That would probably be impossible, seeing that you have to consider thinking about other things related to the care of your family, your work, and yourself. It may not be literally possible; however, how we respond to what is happening, focusing on how we should conduct ourselves as vessels of Christ, we can accomplish this because the word promises that we will be kept in PERFECT peace.

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

Wayment!

How is peace perfect?

  • Perfect peace is achieved by not allowing your soul to be disturbed by what your physical eyes are seeing.
  • Perfect peace is the absence of worry, doubt, and fear and quite frankly it is impossible to have peace of you have these three as roommates.

The battle for peace is waged in the mind and our thoughts are a measure of our peace; but the battle can be won, if your thoughts on the Lord.

Remember what He already delivered you from. Remember how the Lord kept you. Remember when the bad news, worked in your favor and was transformed into good news. Recall when you did not know what you would do and God MADE a way.

The scripture is really saying that it’s all mind over matter. Everything begins with your mind. What you give power to begins to control you.

If you don’t mind [it] won’t matter. What you think, you will become.

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“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

Have a Great Day

The word of introduces God, who is also our Father, as being great. Psalms 95:3 says that The Lord is a GREAT God. A great King above all gods.

Since He is great, then what He created is also great and what He created can also produce greatness.

God is SO great at what He does, people are in awe and amazed at His handiwork.

“Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.” Psalms 33:8-9 NLT

God does not do anything, just to be doing it. He moves in purpose. He movements are deliberate and intentional. He does not put half-hearted effort into His work. He takes His time to produce the highest quality output. He is crafty and handy.

In His lengthy resume of productions, God created you! In fact, He created you in His likeness which means He created you to be great.

Since God is SO great, then my EXPECTATIONS OF Him are great.

  • I expect to be healed.
  • I expect to be made new.
  • I expect to be delivered from the power of sin.
  • I expect to be the lender.
  • I expect to have the ability to give and not look for or need a return.
  • I expect my children to excel.
  • I expect to impact the lives of those around me.
  • I expect to be a difference maker.
  • I expect Jesus to come close to me when I come close to Him.
  • I expect Him to take the little and produce much.
  • I expect to be protected from unseen danger.
  • I expect to prosper in everything I put my hand to.
  • I expect Him to be faithful because GREAT is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

Oh GOD, because your thoughts are great toward us, our end and our future- regardless of the appearance of the present, is expected to be GREAT.

“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

The next time someone says: “Have a great day,” please understand that your day, your life, and everything connected to you was ALREADY destined to be great- because THAT. IS. WHO. YOU. ARE.

Yeah, today will be great, because you are. Now, go and be great.

Comfort One Another

Have you ever felt drained from life? No, I’m talking about feeling as if life was sucking the life out of you? Every time you think you are making progress, something from an unexpected source, feels as if it is pulling the oxygen from your lungs. Even more so, when you decided to completely surrender your life to the the Lord, you were hit and hurt on every angle. We must remember that with the Lord, the pain we experience produces a purpose.The Lord always provides us with examples of affliction, sufferings, patient endurance and triumph.

In 2 Corinthians the 11th chapter, we learn of some of Paul’s sufferings for Christ Sake:

  • 5 different times, he was whipped by the Jews and received 39 stripes.
  • 3 times he was beaten with rods.
  • He was stoned once.
  • He shipwrecked 3 times.
  • He spent an entire day and night adrift at sea, left for dead.
  • He had been robbed, gone without food and water and enough clothing to keep him warm.

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One beating alone could have handicapped or even killed Paul. Yet after allllll of this, Paul says: “I believe God.” Paul looked beyond his personal afflictions and recognized his sufferings equipped him and empowered him.

Paul endured many afflictions. He went from being an atheist to an activist of Jesus. I felt something right there- I’ll say that again:

PAUL WENT FROM BEING AN ATHEIST TO AN ACTIVIST!

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What about you? After all the hardships, pains and tragedies in life, will you believe God? Or will you give up at the sign of struggle or the moment your prayer isn’t immediately answered? After all, Jesus told us:

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

The world may press us hard, but God’s strength, presence, and comfort will not allow us to be crushed. If you see someone not like themselves on today, help them by noticing them. Give a smile, give an encouraging word, pray for them, give a listening ear. Be willing to help someone live.

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“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God. That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings. So if we have trouble, it is to bring you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is to bring you comfort from the experience of endurance while you go through the same sufferings that we also suffer. Our hope for you is certain, because we know that as you are partners in suffering, so also you are partners in comfort.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-7‬ ‭CEB‬‬

Justified

In case you were feeling unpurposeful or unworthy, I just wanted to drop this in your Spirit- a little reminder for yourself that I use 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.
  • Judas was disloyal.
  • 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!

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. 

Can I Labor with You?

Take a moment to consider this…

  • Perhaps the one you turn to for strength, needs strengthening.
  • Perhaps the one you request prayer of needs prayer.
  • Perhaps the one that is defensive was left to fend for themselves.
  • Perhaps the one that wears the tough outer shell needed someone to be vulnerable with.
  • Perhaps the one who is leading, simply desires to be led.

Pray for those who are dependent upon to be leaders in their families, on their jobs, in their church.

Guess who that consist of? Everyone.

The transparent truth of our lives is that we are all human beings. Our past, our upbringings, and our sufferings have shaped our thoughts, our mental processes, our reactions to daily situations; but if we took the time to understand one another, maybe their would be less misunderstandings. Most situations occur from a lack of communication and misunderstandings.

Life consists of conflict but their must be resolution. We as representatives of Jesus Christ have to use our God-given power to bring peace to situations. Perhaps it is why the Lord calls peacemakers blessed, because it is truly a gift to bring peace in crisis.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 NKJV

As you relax on this day, take the time to refocus your mind.

  • Remember the situations you have gone through that could have been avoided.
  • Remember how the Lord met you where you were.
  • Remember when you were misunderstood.
  • Remember how the love of God comforted you.
  • Remember how the enemy devised a plan to destroy your focus and your heart.
  • Remember the faith God has in you!

God has put together a plan for your life that brings Him glory. That is why we were predestined to be birthed into this world.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—” Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV

I need you to reach my destiny in the Lord. Can we labor together?

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3 NIV

Just Do IT!

I wanted to speak to your heart about who you are.

In case you are uncertain, you decide who you are and who you will become. Of course, the gifts and talents were already distributed, but we are given the ultimate choice to determine if we will utilize what we have.

You make the decisions that affect the course of your life. This is the power of choice given to us by God. He has even given us the freedom to choose to live life by His principles (of which I personally would have preferred that God had made this decision on my behalf – I mean come on Jesus! I could have avoided some of this nonsense I had to go through had you just MADE us follow you).

Even after consulting and confiding in a friend, loved one, or mentor, you STILL have to make the ultimate decision.

Since we have the authority to make decisions, we must learn to make them based upon who we are, who God purposed us to be, and not on the opinions of others.

Most fear is based upon what we think others will say.

If you are afraid of criticism, you will die doing nothing.

What does that mean? You will always be concerned about what someone says about you.

This discussion reminds me of a man named Noah. We are personally introduced to him at the age of 500 years old (Genesis 5:32). God was infuriated with the world and how His children began following the customs of worldly people, intermingling, and marrying them. Insomuch that God had purposed in His heart to destroy the ENTIRE world and everything within it; but then, someone touched His heart. The Bible says (Genesis 6:8) that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Notice here that there was nothing Noah did to earn grace. Grace is undeserving favor. Noah did absolutely nothing to earn his salvation, but he found grace – both Noah and his family. In exchange for God being “lenient” on Noah, Noah had to fulfill a God-given purpose. In exchange for God’s grace Noah obtained faith.

Noah obtained faith as a result of grace. THAT IS SO POWERFUL!

Noah trusted God.

Noah walked with God.

Noah believed in God.

God trusted Noah to the point of giving him a responsibility to build a boat to save Noah and the world. Noah changed God’s heart. Oh that is so beautiful. Don’t you want to walk so close to God that when evil devices are plotted against you to destroy you and your family, you can change God’s heart to remove the hand of the enemy completely off of you and save you? Well – that did occur. When God sent His precious Son, Jesus, to save us from the the sentence of death, God said NO! But that is only if we choose to accept Jesus as our Savior (see there; there’s that choice thing again).

God gave Noah the purpose of building a boat that took 100 years to complete. No doubt, Noah’s friends thought that he was crazy. No doubt his wife was praying for his mental wellness. No doubt people passed by this mammoth of a thing and laughed, when Noah explained what He was doing, but Noah did not care. Noah would have died doing nothing along with the world and everyone else in it. The criticism of others did not dictate or adjust Noah’s focus on God’s plan for His life. He remembered the grace and He trusted His Father’s plan.

There are two voices speaking to you: One says you can’t; the other says you can with God (Philippians 4:13). You are made on purpose, for a purpose.

There is something that you do that no one else can do. If you do nothing, both you and IT (that something) will die.

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.

  • If you do nothing, you will receive criticism. 
  • If you do something, you’ll receive criticism.

Either way, you’ll be criticized.

So here is what I propose: Commit your works to the Lord; allow your paths to be established by Him. He will grant you favor first with Him, and then with man.

“Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬