My Hope

What if someone told you that all of your disappointments, heartbreaks, tragedies, traumas, losses…everything that we have every experienced would have an end result of happiness that we could not imagine? All of the crying, worrying, and anxiety would not compare – matter of fact, we when we look back and smile at how we were able to overcome so many burdens.

Someone did tell us that, but we do not believe it.

Romans 8:28  (NKJV)
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.

Maybe we do not understand what the word “all” means. All is: fully, all of, completely, entirely, thoroughly, through and through (Oh God), totally, utterly.

img_3267

If we did, as a follower of Jesus, we would not be so bipolar with our living sacrifice. We would stop living like it’s B.C. (before Christ).

One moment, we believe God for the impossible, the next, we are so fed up with God, that we are willing to drop everything connected to Him. I wonder if it were a real sacrifice to hear a word through God’s ordained minister, if we would be more intentional in our walk. I was reading this book entitled: “Chase the Lion.” The author was expressing how he had spoken at a Pastor’s conference and how humbling it was to be there in the midst of many prominent people. But what was more humbling was the fact that the author shared a stage with a Minister of God who oversees a church in Damascus, the capital city of Syria. His life is in danger everyday and the congregants walk down what they call “sniper alley” every day, just to worship together. People are killed daily, for going to church. The people of God believe, that God is their refuge – a very PRESENT help during this troubled time. So, they gird up their loins for the journey to be present with the Holy Spirit and to feel His presence, not knowing what awaits them on the otherside of that door, or while they are in the midst of worship.

Here in this country, we have been gifted the freedom to freely worship our Father, and we validate any excuse as legitimate to not assemble ourselves together.

We have been given hope. Do you realize there are people who have not been granted access to this hope, which is in Jesus? Having been given this hope, Christians should be the most relaxed, the most grateful, the most hopeful, the most confident and usually it is the opposite. Even on the worse of the worse days, the joy of the Lord should be enough strength to carry us through. What is the joy of the Lord? The very fact that someone believed in you, never turned their back on you, gave you a hope and a future, did not judge you, but rather welcomed you without a specific criteria – without having millions of followers on Instagram (You know that “group” of people you are trying to gain the attention of?) You have the attention of THE Creator – the one who created the one you want to notice you – and you overlook Him, to get to the creation.

img_1843

Faith an worry cannot coexist.
Hope and fear cannot coexist.

One has to go – and you have to decide which one will take up residence in your life. I have decided to place my hope in the word of God. It is quick and it is powerful. It is the only book that has transformed my life and given me substance. It is the only book where I can feel the presence of God and the Holy Spirit speaking to me, on how to please Him and to be purposeful in my life. It is because this book is not just a book; it is a navigation system that will guide me to my Savior. I have hope in His word.

Psalm 119:114  (NIV)
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

A Miracle in the Mess

Jesus had a friend who died. His name was Lazarus. He loved Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary (John 11:5).

Now I don’t know if Jesus intentionally delayed returning to town, so the miracle could be performed on His dear friend, if He was grieving, or if it was a tad bit of both because the Bible says:

John 11:35 (NKJV)
Jesus wept.

image

Not only did He weep, Jesus stated in John 11:15 that He was glad Lazarus had died to the intent that they (the disciples) would believe. So, Jesus had some issues with his followers believing the vision God had given them…mmmm hmmmm, see. There is NOTHING new under the sun.

Back to bewailing of Jesus – some people are just emotional and will “weep” with those who weep; but if there is no individual connection to the person who transitioned (died), we tend to have empathy towards the family, say a prayer and send condolences but not just ball out. Jesus was grieving – Honey, He was shedding some serious tears. In fact, when Jesus got to the grave in John 11:38, He was still groaning within Himself.

John 11:38 (NKJV)
Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

Lazarus sister named Mary, met Jesus on the road, when she learned that Jesus was on His way back to town to come see Lazarus. She was distraught and frustrated. Mary, knowing the miraculous powers that Jesus had demonstrated throughout the neighborhoods, says in what seems to be a frustrating tone: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

See, Mary wanted what SHE wanted. Well – Mary, that’s not entirely true.

Jesus always professed that His will was to do that of His Father in Heaven; so, if God’s will was for Lazarus to be at rest, Lazarus would have remained resting. But…as we know, this was not the case. Jesus asks Mary where Lazarus was laid, she takes Him there, and Lazarus comes forth out of the grave clothes, his burial site and there sat Lazarus as an example of the glory of God to be revealed and for the naysayers to believe that Jesus was who He said He was.

Before all this transpired, it was a mess:

  • The Jews in Judea were looking to kill (stone Jesus).
  • The disciples were clueless with understanding what Jesus was saying in the Spirit.
  • Thomas talking about let’s go die with Lazarus.
  • Another disciple was talking about if Lazarus is sleep, he should be fine.
  • Lazarus had already been dead 4 days and that process of decomposition had kicked in…

– Just a mess!

Had Jesus focused on the environment, what the people were saying, their unbelief, and not the instructions of His Father, they all would have missed the miracle.

Oh, but remember when sin had you bound, and your spiritual life was dead? Had the Holy Spirit not led someone to you, to redeem you from your mess, the miracle of salvation would have never been.

Don’t miss the miracle, focusing on the mess!

God Cares

How is it that someone who created everything, can be concerned about the intimate details of our lives? Not only be concerned but how does He have time?

We try to rationalize God’s ability with the little knowledge that we have. We attempt to discern why or if He really cares- – Because we ourselves tend to forget about others and focus on our own tasks and needs. Based on our own conclusions, we are led to believe that God is like us, is not concerned, and that He’s not intimately involved in every aspect of our lives.

THIS IS SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH!

Have you ever had a child that seemed to do the exact opposite of what you raised him/her to do and become; almost as if they intentionally defy everything good you have ever done or said to them?

That is the child that you pray earnestly for. That is the child that you realize is running from their purpose.

Wrong behavior does not equate to disassociation when it’s your child! We love that much harder. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS YOUR CHILD!

We were created in the image of God- handcrafted to be like our Father. Although we defy Him, He continues to chase after us.

Remember: God cares for you!

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 NKJV

You Chose Me

It’s that time of the year. We see images of children graduating from high school, standing beside parents who are proud to have helped their babies overcome years of obstacles and challenges, to obtain their high school diploma. In this country, we take elementary education lightly; but to have the freedoms to learn and continue learning is not an opportunity afforded by all globally, which is why many from varying countries seek visas to fulfill their lifelong goals that may be tied to educational requirements.

Some children go on to college. Over the course of their last years of high school, they take exams to see how they’d fair and what options are available based on their academic performance and test scores. Then- submitting applications for entrances and scholarships, essays, transcripts and all of the above only to receive a letter of acceptance.

You see your children run home to check the mailbox (any other time, the mail could be in the ground, spilling over from the mailbox and they would walk right past it).

It finally arrives- the one school they really want to attend sends a response to their inquiry. But wait! There are more letters. Your heart beats. You stand next to your child, waiting for the results. It is an amazing feeling to have options. Options simply mean that you have a choice. You can choose what school you desire because you have prepared yourself for success.

Chosen is the school that meets your criteria. The school selected was based on family, educational needs, and geographic location. Handpicked by you and preferred over all of the options. You chose what was best for you.

You. Chose. Me.

These 3 words together make me so emotional. As of late, they have been ringing in my ear. These three little words affirmed that although others had rejected me in the past, God chose me from the beginning. He had options, but GOD. CHOSE. ME. They confirmed God’s call on my life, easing my anxiety about whether people will accept me in the ministry or not. He chose you as well.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16 NIV

He didn’t adopt us into the family because of who we are connected with, who we know, or any abilities we may have.

Before the creation of the world, God made a decision about you. Think about that. He saw all the good, the bad, and the ugly of your life, yet He still desired for you to be a part of His family. What’s more humbling is that He sent His Son, Jesus to confirm how serious he was about His decision.

He followed through on His choice. No rejection we could ever experience can measure up to the lengths God went through to choose you, because He has faith in you that you will carry out his mission.

Now- the choice is up to you. He chose you. Who do you choose?

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15, KJV)

It’s His Choice

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 us all…

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!

God knew we would fall short of his expectations. Which is why He extends relentless mercy and grace to help us fulfill His purpose. It is also why He sent His precious Spirit to keep us track, because we become so easily distracted.

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! He made the ultimate decision to select you for a special assignment. This means he equipped you to carry it out. That’s so special.

God is the justifier.

“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

Salvation brings You to Your Purpose

Today’s devotion is about dying. Here I thought I knew what my purpose is, and God is showing me who He desires for me to be at this time. It is so scary to think that you must become something that you never expected you could be or even had a clue of what is in you to produce. Although we acknowledge that we will experience a physical death, which will lead to an eternal place of rest, we also experience deaths of many kind. I am in a season of my life where I am beginning to accept that I must die – I have to die to my will. It does not feel good. Forreal. I feel like crying most days. Some days I feel I can do “this.” Other days it’s like: “what am I doing and why?”

When we confess our sins and accept the salvation of God, which comes through Jesus Christ, we are saying that we totally surrender to what we thought our lives would be like and to what He designed our lives to become. But surrendering is not easy. In war, it’s a sign of weakness and defeat. It does not feel GOOD! Dying to your will is a sign of growth. Growth does not feel well. When I was old enough to recall my teeth breaking the gum line, it was uncomfortable. When I watched my belly stretch to what seemed like for miles and days, it was a horrible. When I transitioned from grade level to grade level in school, it was scary.

I never thought that I would be doing anything that I am doing. I desired to be married but did not foresee 5 children. I went to school, obtained graduate and undergraduate degrees, with the plans to enter my field of choice, move up the corporate ladder and make sense of the time I spent learning technology. Neverrrr did that include writing, publishing, blogging, or speaking. But God knew.

Salvation is not free. Not only does it come with a cost, but also brings you to your purpose.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (NKJV)
For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I have to die to my own will because what I do is not about me. I have to accept who I am becoming and trust the transformation- although it is uncomfortable. I have recognized it would be more uncomfortable remaining in a state knowing I was not created for, rather than walking in faith and moving forward with what is predestined.

Dying daily. Dying to my will and my thoughts; what I wanted, with total submission and understanding that what God has in mind is better than what I wanted; because He has my best interest at heart, and yours as well.

The bible talks about being transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we do not submit, we resist the transformation. Our minds require renewal to accept the will of God that is perfect for our lives and for His glory.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Let us open our hearts and minds to where God is leading us. His ways are perfect and true.

I Need You

Take a moment to consider that…

  • 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 is leading, simply desires to be led as well…by the Lord.

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, 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 with the other person or people. Honestly, that is how the enemy creeps in. Pretty soon, a situation that only required you to obtain clarity begins to drain your spiritual life and walk with Christ, when all you had to do was to speak with him or her.

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 celebrate or relax on this holiday, 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

The predestined plan of God totally centers around saving the souls of those who were destined for eternal damnation. You can do it, but not on your own. We can do it together.

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