Come Close

Happy Friday!

On this morning I have been thinking about how we are to have a deeper and closer relationship with our Savior. Oftentimes, we seek to know Him spiritually, just as close as the disciples did, who physically walked with Him in this Earth. We seek to know Jesus and to hear Him; to see His power manifested in and through our lives. There is one simple statement the word of God has given us to get ever so close to Him. We seek for such deeper revelation and it is all so clear:

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

On this morning, I have made a simple decree. I have asked the Holy Spirit to make my request known. I ask that He utters these words as only He can and that He would take my groaning, and translate it into His, with groaning only He understands. It is simple as this:

Come closer to us, as we come closer to you.

As you journey throughout your day today, join me throughout the day, in your heart, in your mind, in your whisper…”come closer to us, as we come closer to you.”

Oh Jesus, as I come closer to you, I am pulling off anything that prevents me from reaching you. I pull off fear, doubt, unforgiveness, slothfulness, worry. When I come close to you, I ask that you wrap your arms around me and that your Spirit, from your embrace, overtakes my soul.

Come closer to us, as we come closer to you.

Under Pressure

Even the biggest and brightest diamond is flawed; but that flaw does not distort its beauty nor prevent it from shining through the deepest and darkest environments.

We must not allow our present circumstances and emotions to prevent the fulfillment of our purpose. Just because you know your purpose does not imply that you no longer have to go through the process. In fact, it is the process- the stretching, pulling, and tugging that assists you with reaching the fulfillment of your purpose; ask the diamond. No pressure, no diamond.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This Christmas

  • Try having a conversation on a phone without phone service. 
  • Try starting a vehicle without an engine. 
  • Try using a microwave without electricity.
  • You can try, but they won’t function as promised. It is impossible!

Try living life without a true relationship with Jesus, and you experience no peace.

You may say: “That is not true. When I was doing this or was (is) with that person…or when I see these celebrities with thus  and so, they have peace.” The presence of things give an illusion of peace. Our physical eye gravitate towards the environment we live in. What we see primarily is a worldly perspective, especially around this time of the year. For some, it does not seem like the holidays if we are unable to shower friends and loved ones with gifts.

While gifts are great and are an act of love and kindness, the inability to give what we desire should not affect our mood. We are in this world, but not of it. The peace the world depicts is counterfeit peace.

Just as it is impossible to properly chew food without teeth, is impossible for us to believe that we can have peace and joy without the Lord, when they originate from Him.

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.” ‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

If we allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts, then we become publishers of peace. 

Let me share a few examples. 

If you’re always launching missiles with your tongue, being rash with your mouth, and others view your approach as being “direct” and “real,” that’s not real. As we say- that’s not “real talk.” That’s foolish- and by this attitude, you’re not a peacemaker. You’re becoming a peace breaker, and you are forfeiting your blessing. 

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

If your efforts lead to tension, arguments, disagreements, attitudes, divisions- then your attitude produces chaos and your life cannot be peaceful, when Jesus told us to make every effort to do what leads to peace.

Our resolutions and solutions to issues should be directed towards a peaceful outcome. That is what pursuit of peace looks like. 

“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalms‬ ‭34:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are some instances where a person will not desire to be peaceful, that should not prevent you from doing your utmost to reflect the image of Christ. 

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans‬ ‭12:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We have an obligation to “let the peace of God rule” in their hearts (Colossians 3:15).

This means we have the choice either to trust God or to rely on ourselves. 

What choices will you make which truly leads to a quiet and peaceable life?

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” ‭‭James‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Peace on Earth came by way of Jesus. That is a gift that is unattainable without Him. Let us remember what life is about.

A Piece of the Puzzle

For those who are facing struggles this holiday season, I empathize with you. June of last year, my mother unexpectedly passed away at the young age of 61. Being an only child and having no relationship with my earthly father, because he does not want one, I was numb to life. I was in disbelief. See The Lord- said to draw near to him and he would draw near to me and I knew that I needed to, in order to receive comfort, because he is the God of all comfort…BUT I could  not move.

I didn’t want to pick up my bible. I didn’t want to go to church because my momma sat next to me on the pew. Here I am…a mother with 5 children, the wife of a pastor, business woman – what was I going to do? I hid my tears from my children so they wouldn’t cry. Some days I cried to sleep. Other days we smiled and laughed about things Nanna would do and say; Some days I fell in the arms of my husband with no words and just cried. Many days, I picked up the phone to call my momma, only to realize that she would not answer.

Have you ever put together a puzzle with a lot of tiny pieces? it was so big you took a piece and someone else took the other pieces to work on it. Once you finished your pieces, you would connect them to make the puzzle complete.

The outside of box the puzzle comes in gives a visual of what the puzzle would like once done, but you still have to go through the process of sorting through the pieces, picking them up, maneuvering them in different angles, placing them where they would seem to be a perfect fit; but what happens if you are missing a piece of the puzzle?

Maybe the person who is working on it, needed it for their portion but That missing puzzle piece still does not change what the appearance of the puzzle should look like.

It still should look like the image on the box, right?

The loss of my mother is like that missing puzzle piece. I cannot hear her voice or her laugh but she is not missing. Although my life has a physical missing piece -this does not change the fact that I still must carry out my purpose. It does not change the fact that I have a family to care for.

My pain was affecting my perspective and so I had to change my perspective.

Pain affects your ability to reason and to think clearly. It affects your perspective on life.

The missing pieces of my life’s puzzle are not missing. It was just time to connect a portion of my pieces to God’s puzzle pieces. God simply needed a piece of my puzzle on the section of the puzzle HE is working on.  And his puzzle, just so happens to be that of a building fitly framed and joined together.

The missing piece to YOUR life’s puzzle is not missing either. There’s just a piece of the puzzle that you can’t see because you are not responsible for putting it together.

I encourage you on today to continue to push through. Cry when you need to and how long you need to. Then, After you’re done, go wipe your face, and finish working on the piece of the puzzle God gave you. You have a purpose to fulfill. You got some stuff to do. You may be snorting, snotting and crying while you’re doing it but keep doing it. God’s strength is made perfect through our weaknesses.

  • Maybe you loss a job. It’ll be fine. That job did not fit your piece of the puzzle.
  • Perhaps you lost a loved one. That’s okay – that person was needed to aid in completing God’s big puzzle.
  • Maybe the relationship ended abruptly. It’ll be okay! You are a part of the puzzle that is creating the head; maybe that person was a part of the tail. There was no connection. he or she had to be moved to the correct location in the puzzle.

As we prepare for the Christmas holidays and a new year, I encourage you to seek peace and pursue it. Change your perspective. Find the good in every challenge, trial, heartbreak, misunderstanding, and negative situation. There is good. Because God is good.

The enemy desires to distort the image God has of you and the visual he created for the huge masterpiece of a puzzle- a view that the enemy can’t even see.

The green pastures you desire in 2019 require a completely different mindset than what you carried in 2018.

Your greatest hurt will be your greatest ministry. There are some things you can only learn in a storm. Be careful what you say about yourself and to yourself because yourself is listening. There is power in your words Change the narrative.

Start saying:

  • I will get through this.
  • I may cry, but I will get up, and keep it moving.
  • I will be frustrated but then I will cast my cares on the Lord because HE cares.

Remember…even those most challenging puzzles have a solution. Just because you are missing a piece, does not mean that it is lost. God has it in the palm of his hand.

Advancing

Advance: To accelerate the growth or progress of something; to move forward.

From the point of introducing who God is in the book of Genesis, to the revelation of Jesus and who Jesus is, in the book of Revelation, the entire focus or main theme of the Bible centers around the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

How do we advance God’s Kingdom? By revelation, inspiration and manifestation of His word through us. It is then our responsibility to demonstrate in love, how the word of God word is alive and how our lives were transformed by it.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

God’s word is alive and active, but only if we activate it. Jesus is our example of advancement. He believed what His Father told Him about His future and Jesus acted upon it.

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:1-4 (NKJV)

Jesus’ actions were depicted by first compelling 12 assistants, who also believed in what Jesus said His Father told him. Once He trained and empowered the 12, Jesus then told them to advance the Kingdom of God:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 (NIV)

Jesus believed in His future. If you do not believe in your future, you do not believe in advancement. So, what’s stopping you from advancing? I can tell you.

It’s not lack resources.

It’s not having the connections.

It’s not the lack of opportunities because of where you live.

It is you. You are stopping yourself from advancing. What you think of yourself prevents you from fulfilling your dream and purpose.

But even when we finally move ourselves out of the way, we can only go as far as our intelligence.

In Christ, you can go as far as God goes (ooh it’s too early to be this excited – Jeeesuusss). How far can God go? He told us right here:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

Isn’t that powerful?

God can go above and beyond what we can imagine – according to His power working in us. This means we are limitless. That is how we can be the lender and not the borrower, above and not beneath.

As children of the highest God, we should be:

  • Advancing in our spiritual live.
  • Advancing in our business.
  • Advancing in our relationships.
  • Advancing in our education.
  • Advancing in wisdom and knowledge.
  • Advancing in compelling souls to experience this limitless life that we now have access to.

So, tell me again, what is preventing you from advancing?

I Asked You for Some Stuff Too!

“You have been asking me for a few things; true indeed, I did tell you that you could do that (Matthew 7:7). But…I asked some things of you as well. Did you forget?

  • I asked you to love them that intentionally misuse you. (Matthew 5:44)
  • I asked you to show them who I am by how you live. (Matthew 5:16)
  • You can reward me by the fruit you produce (Psalms 127:3). I asked you to train and impart in them and you left them so you “could do you.” (Proverbs 22:6)
  • I asked you to be patient, and you are giving up. (Psalms 40:1)
  • I asked you to introduce others to me but how can you when you won’t spend time with me? (James 4:8)

I understand that when you were younger, you did not have someone physically present to demonstrate who I am; but those excuses are no more. Now that you are of age, I have introduced you to me. You know I have kept you. You know that I have loved you with an everlasting love. You know I have forgiven you. Stop placing the blame on others. Take back control of your life.

I gave you the power to get over anything or anyone who has come up against you. I asked you stop acting like the victim…I made you the victor. You are an over comer.

1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

You asked me for some things, and I have asked you for some things too. I always come through for you. You are the apple of my eye.

Zechariah 2:8 (NKJV)
For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.

When will you fulfill the requests I have of you?”

image-21

– A conversation I envision God having with His children. There is no need to ask what our Father desires of us. He already told us. It is now up to us to show Him just how much we love Him.

Decisions, Decisions

Making decisions is probably the most crucial act of all in our lives. In fact, the Lord gave us the ability to even choose if we want to be with Him. Although He is loving and demonstrates it everyday, it’s almost as if God is saying: “Okay, if you think you will find something better, go right ahead.”

“But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Choose the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But my family and I will serve the LORD.” Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭CEB‬‬

Doing and following through on your decisions is equally important. Your decisions have a major impact on your life.

Life basically boils down to this: Making the right decisions and the follow through. Making the right decision, however, depends on your emotional state. Having the wrong frame of mind will cause you to make the wrong decision, thinking that what you have decided upon is 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?” 🤔

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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 emotion. 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.

Let us not get entangled in the worldly behaviors. Truth be told, we aren’t from here. We need to begin conducting ourselves as visitors and not permanent residents.

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” ‭‭John‬ ‭17:14-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬