Thank You for Being a Friend

When you think about relationships what comes to mind? What are your relationship goals?

Most often when asks these questions, people consider marital or dating relationships, but there are so many other relationships that require cultivation and goal planning.

The relationship expectations you define for corporations determine which jobs you’ll apply for and the companies that both you and others would identify as good employers.

The expectations you define with clothing stores and grocers, identify where you feel most comfortable shopping and who has the best deals and quality products.

Even the expectations of a technological tool i.e. computers and mobile phones, dictate if you are an android user or have an iPhone preference.

Who and what cultivates your relationship with the Lord? What goals do you put in place to ensure your relationship grows with Christ? Do you inspect personal relationships that expect the love of Christ to be put on public display?

Establish relationships that encourage and strengthen your relationship with God.

Let’s pray:

Father, you are such a faithful friend and confidant. You are more concerned about our lives than we are. You created us to be in relationships – more importantly those that lead to loving you.

Lead us into relationships and connections that encourage us to be more like you.

Thank you for being a friend- the epitome of a true friend.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

The Light of Christ

It is easy to find a small source of light in a dark room….

  • The digital clock on the cable box.
  • The small blue light wrapped around the charging cord from your laptop.
  • The display screen from your home alarm system.
  • The night light shining from underneath the bathroom door.

No matter where you are in that dark room, you can identify the light and navigate to find its source.

The lights described above are “little” lights.

The Bible says we are a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. I would not consider city lights on a hill, little lights.

Think about the view of a city in the evening, when flying on an airplane. The view of a city from this point gives a different perspective of the city.

Does your light provide a different perspective on life? Are people drawn to it? Can they see it in the midst of darkness? Or do we blend right in?

If we are the light of Christ, why are we so overtaken with darkness?

Reset, change the battery, whatever you need to do. It’s time to get serious and intentional.

The presence of light in darkness is something that is unmistakable.

You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew‬ ‭5:14, 16‬ ‭CEB‬‬

I’ve Got Confidence in You!

Oh Father, there is nothing beyond your ability and power. There is nothing that you cannot do.

When I feel nervous, overwhelmed, or uncertain, please help me to remember that I am in this with you! You are the source of my strength and the strength of my life. Where I come up short, you overcome my shortness. In other words, you make up my shortfalls and then some.

When I am unsure, I want to find my boldness in you. You said when we are most weak, is when we are strong. That is because we become more dependent upon you.

If the work I do is for you?…then I CANNOT fail.

“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” Acts 28:31 NIV

The Third Monkey on the Ark

Have you ever been in a situation where you had NO idea how you would get out?

The enemy creates an illusion of being stuck. The Bible says this:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)

Make sure you pay attention to the word of God. God says the devil…AS a roaring lion. HE IS NOT a roaring lion! He roars LIKE a lion. A lion is the king of the jungle. Lions are symbols of strength and courage. They are also common symbols for royalty and fierceness. The enemy is not a lion. How can he be, when God says Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah?

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. Revelation 5:5 (KJV)

I heard someone say that the enemy learns from YOUR mistakes, even when we do not. What does that mean? While we are working on our weaknesses, so is he. The areas that we fell short, or areas we are weak, he learns those weaknesses and improves his game plan.

So what are you going to do? Are you going to fight or crumble at the sign of struggle? Don’t give up so soon. Your character is developed in the fight. Your purpose is found in the fight. Your strength is realized in the fight.

You will not win on your own. We have a blessed assurance that if we fight with the mighty weapons given to us by our Father, we win. We win. We. Win.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,” II Corinthians 10:4 NKJV

We are in a warfare. Please remember this!

It’s time to fight! It’s time to be forceful and intentional in this fight. You better stand up and tell the enemy: “You may see me struggle, but you’ll NEVER see me quit.”

What is on Your Mind?

If you place a cup ON a table, it can be removed.

If you put ON a piece of clothing, it can be taken off.

Whatever is put ON can be taken off.

What’s ON your mind?

Our own thoughts can poison our mind and create chemical imbalances that distort reality. In other words you can put an entire story together in your mind and it not be reality. You become the writer, executive producer, the main character and supporting cast and then you sit back and become the viewer, just watching how it all unfolds- all from the wrong thoughts.

It is our thoughts about Jesus and what He has done for us or perhaps has not done (on our mental timeline) that even makes us believe that He is not for us, nothing good ever happens for us, or that nothing good that we desire will happen to us.

We have to change what is on our mind and we have the power to control that.

  • Find the good in everything.
  • Change your acquaintances.
  • Speak positive affirmations over your life.
  • Love unconditionally without expecting it in return (that’s when the hurt comes in).
  • CAST DOWN that thought.

Evil thoughts are a byproduct of what is in our heart and it ultimately taints our spirit so that it does not align and connect with the Holy Spirit.

Guard your heart. What comes from your heart poisons your thoughts, your thoughts become words that you speak, and your words have power so that what you speak is what is manifested in your life.

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭GNT‬‬

There is no reason to drown from within when you have the natural capacity to swim above any issue.

There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:15, 21-23 NKJV

Take off your old thoughts and renew your mind.

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Stretch it Forth

It has been some time since I have written a devotion. There has been so much going on these days. Outside of the social injustices and the world pandemic, we face the reality of living in a world where evil resides. The presence of evil brings with it all of its plagues, diseases, heartbreaks, headaches, backaches, agony, pain – however you describe it.

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Personally speaking, I have battled a health scare over the passed 4 weeks that left me speechless, heartbroken, scared and emotionally imbalanced. I have gone from taking my regular women’s multivitamin, to now having 3 medications (one of which I have to give myself two injections per day) which costs over $1100.

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I am convinced that health and wellness is in our own personal hands. This industry is huge. Making someone well would mean less funds in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and those who partner with them. Top that off with the fact that three years ago today, I loss my mother. So my emotions are all over the place.

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When I am in this space, I am often quiet, reflecting, speaking to the Holy Spirit and waiting for His guidance on what He heard at the heavenly board meeting, where God and Jesus would be reviewing my requests. Today I was reading a scripture that spoke to my heart. It placed so much in perspective. I pray it brings encouragement to you.

Matthew 12:13 King James Version (KJV)
Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

Jesus had a conversation with some doubters about working on the Sabbath. Some people questioned His heavenly works on the Sabbath. Jesus proposed a question. Listen here, when you talk about someone’s financial resources or their possessions, the response changes. That’s called hittem where it hurts. So, Jesus asks if one of their sheep (source of livelihood) fell into a pit on the Sabbath day (the day of rest), would they leave the sheep in the pit until the next day. A few scriptures prior to verse 13, Jesus notices a man with a withered hand. To prove that He was the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus tells the man to stretch forth his hand and the man stretched it forth and his hand was restored whole.

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The end of the verse above says: “and he STRETCHED IT forth.” I am dealing with a withered situation. This situation seeks to restrict healthy foods that I love. I temporarily (I refuse to proclaim indefinite) have to visit doctors twice per week, and my diet is impaired, but when I read this scripture, it spoke directly to me. if I stretch forth my situation towards Jesus, He will perform a whole (complete) restoration in my life.

Maybe you have a withered situation in your life, your relationship, finances, losses, or emotional drain from all that is transpiring. I encourage you and myself to stretch IT forth. Give that situation to Jesus. He is telling us to give it to Him, and watch the miracle happen before our eyes. The key is we have to present it to Him. We have to relinquish it from our grasp, let go, and trust in the power of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 4:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

Stretch it forth! By the way, that is the perfect position of praise. Praise Him for what He has done, is doing and will do!

 

 

 

 

Gift of Life

I love gifts. Especially on birthdays or holidays like Christmas. The anticipation of witnessing someone’s thoughtfulness and kindness towards you through what they present to you, helps to understand the value placed on the relationship and their feelings towards you. From a heartfelt card, to a personal hand-written letter. Gifts make our heart smile.

Gifts are presented in many ways. Sometimes through neatly wrapped paper with a beautiful red bow, by an expert wrapper seated at the exit of the store, or from a creative and artistic friend. The wrapping is not as important as the content.

At other times a gift may be presented by a child who with joy, unproportionately cut the gift wrapping paper, placed the gift in the midst of the paper, then gathered together the extra bundles of paper with (what seems to be the entire roll) piece of scotch tape that is trying its best to keep the contents of the gift from being exposed too soon.

But regardless of the outer presentation, the purpose of the content remains the same. The outer does not affect the gift. Even if the gift is fragile and happens to be damaged after unwrapping, it is still what it was created to be. The coffee cup is still a cup, even if it has a crack when it is exposed from wrapping. A mother still hugs her child the same because of the meaning, the effort, and the thoughtfulness of the child. The outside does not change what is on the inside.

Life presents so many external challenges that we forget that life is a gift and we allow the outside to change the inside.

  • Thoughts about our worth from outside voices, try to affect the inside.
  • Tragedies on the outside try to affect our inside.
  • Family disagreements and conflict on the outside, try to affect the inside.
  • Diseases and physical ailments are on the outside, try to affect the inside.

No matter how your life was wrapped and presented to this earth (the environment you were born in or who you parents are) it is still a gift.

No matter what and who attempted to destroy you from the outside, you are still who you are created to be. Be that person.

Appreciate your gift.

Functioning Dysfunctionally

Life basically boils down to this: Making the right decisions and the follow through. The right decision, however, depends on your emotional state. Having the wrong state of mind will cause you to make the wrong decision, thinking it’s the best decision for your life. This produces what I’d like to call a “dysfunctional decision.”

A dysfunctional decision a condition of having poor, unhealthy behaviors and attitudes which can cause a person to function in an abnormal or unusual way.

The Bible shares with us a story two sons and their dad, in the book of Luke, the 15th chapter. For the purposes of this devotion, we focus on the younger son. The younger son asks his dad for his share of his inheritance because he was out- he was done!!! He was getting away from his father, his older brother and everything he knew. He was ready to “do him” and live it up, on his own and do his own thing. Here is what I wonder: The young man had it made. What prompted him to even desire to leave? I have no idea but the audacity of him.

First of all, inheritance was typically given to the older son and the older was in control- unless the dad had already communicated what was gone be when he passed on. Hence the second point: The dad was STILL living. I could imagine the dad thinking: “So you asking for rights to something while I’m still here?” 🤔


Dad didn’t get an attitude. He granted his younger son’s request and the son went on his way. Pretty soon, after all the money is gone and the so called “best friends” have moved on, the younger son recognizes that he acted on impulse. He made a dysfunctional decision.

The prodigal (young) son made a dysfunctional decision that led him to hang out with the little piggies. However, hanging out with the little piggies actually worked on his behalf because the irrational and dysfunctional patterns disappeared- when the prodigal son was left with nothing but his thoughts; thoughts of who really loved him and not what he possessed. Thoughts of what really mattered in life.

Have you ever found yourself in a state of reality? After you had done all that you could think to do, deviating from the right thing, you were left alone to deal with the consequences of your behavior. And guess who was waiting? Your Father. He saw how the world was trying to beat you to a pulp. He could have intervened but he wanted you to want Him. When you came to your senses, your Father didn’t bring up your past. Although you had to suffer from choices you made, he welcomed you home with open arms. Just to have his son/daughter…safe in His arms, was all that mattered.

Do not allow yourself to have a “brain fart” as this young mad did. Sin is like a spiritual disease that corrupts our hearts and minds, causing dysfunctional behavior.

Conditional Love

If you would ask someone what type of friend is considered a true friend, you may hear:

  • Someone who is there for me through good and bad times.
  • Someone that I can talk to, share all of my frustrations with and vent to, without being judged.
  • Someone who keeps me accountable even when I don’t want to be.
  • Someone who tells me the truth even when I’m wrong.
  • Someone who celebrates with me, cries with me, and pushes me.

Today, one would call these types of people: “ride or die.” This is someone who would be there for us regardless of the situation. This person will not just celebrate the good, but also be the biggest shoulder and the greatest ear when things are horrible.

What is so interesting about this ideal is that we have the same expectations of Jesus, and quite frankly, He is all of this to us. We desire it all without sacrifice. We would like for Him to be the good friend, accept us regardless of what we do and how we live, give us everything we desire, strengthen us when we are weak, build us up when we are torn down, allow us to walk in heavenly places on earth.

But…just as soon as trials and unexpected twists and turns pop up in our lives, we give up on Jesus.

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“It’s too hard, this is not working, I’ve done everything the Pastor says to do, I come to every service when I can…

…and THIS isn’t working…”

You’re relationship just became conditional. A conditional statement means: “if this, then this…”

We want unconditional love from our Savior, while giving Him a conditional relationship and that, my friend, is a double-standard. The dictionary defines double standards like this:

double standard

a situation in which two people, groups, etc., are treated very differently from each other in a way that is unfair to one of them. 

 

The Bible defines double standards like this:

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:6-8  (NIV)

To be double-minded means that a person is always living in a state of compromise, a life lived in two directions…one foot in and one foot out. Living with this type of mindset means that you never give Jesus the opportunity to demonstrate His power. You have a “just in case” on the side. You give old habits a reason to remain. it’s like the ex that you say you are no longer involved with but you still have his contact information in your phone.

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When we live under these terms, we cannot expect God to move on our behalf. The choice is yours. Who do you love? Are you sure?