Don’t Worry—God’s Got This

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~ Matthew 6:24

I’d been trying to grasp the unsettling idea for months. A faint, vague notion floating in and out of my mind. It felt like trying to separate oil droplets from water with a toothpick. Or struggling to recall a dream that I no longer remembered. But today, the idea came into sharp focus. And it caused me to search the Scriptures. Grappling with the question, Why do Christians seem to seek the devil for their blessings?

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Living Water Refreshes the Soul

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. ~ Jeremiah 31:25

When weather conditions are just right. Each blade of grass sparkles with tiny droplets of water that seems to come from out of nowhere. Seeing dew in the early morning sunshine, reminds me of the refreshing power of God. That unmerited favor—from living water—that can refresh our exhausted souls.

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An Awesome Exchange: Beauty for Ashes

Sometimes we feel wounded, discouraged and defeated. Things happen that cause us to tremble within the deepest parts of our souls… where only God can see and give comfort. In times like those—we learn—from Isaiah 61:3 that God gives beauty for ashes.

In biblical times, it was customary for people to sit in ashes. Or cover themselves with ashes to express their grief over a tragedy (2 Sam 13:19), sorrow over a public disaster (Esther 4:1), or heartache connected to their own repentance of sin (Jonah 3:5-7). Ashes were linked to pain, loss and suffering—linked to the struggles of the flesh.

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Embraced in God’s Love

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.~2 Peter 3:18

God reveals himself in ways that defy set patterns, customs or denominational boundaries. He shows up and shows out at His will. There are days when His presence overflows in our lives. It’s as though our spirit leaps for joy inside our physical body. And we feel invincible—connected to the true vine (John 15:1). That’s when we know… that it’s God and He’s making His presence known. This can be expressed through a supernatural event, a quiet personal experience, or a confirmation from others. It’s that place in time… where we flow in harmony with the cosmos and everything seems to work for our good.

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Struggling with Temptation

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.~James 1:3

Temptation is an attraction for… or a desire to do something—especially something wrong or unwise. No one can say… they have never been tempted. Biblically speaking, 1 John 1:8-9 tells us that when we say… we have no iniquity—we deceive ourselves. Yet, when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our faults and to purify us from our unrighteousness.

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You Know My Name

And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. ~ Exodus 33:17 

The other day, I was doing research for an educational brief that I’m writing. I came across many good resources and practices. However, one practice stood out. It spoke to the inclusive power of greeting students by their names. Research affirmed the benefits of asking students for the correct pronunciation of their names—if needed—then correctly saying it when talking to them.

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The Power of Our Words

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. ~ Ephesians 4:29

Words can communicate infinite meanings. Whether through sign language, written, or in braille… But especially when spoken—words have spiritual energy. Words are powerful! Isaiah 55:11 states, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (NIV).

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The Nails of Jesus Christ

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. ~ Matthew 28:6

A simple object—the nail—shows just how powerful Jesus’ death on the cross was for us.  Crucifixion is one of the most painful and excruciating forms of punishment leading to death ever contrived. Jesus’ arms were stretched wide and His feet crossed. Nails… Made of heavy, tapered, square shaped iron about 5-9 inches long were used. One nail was driven in each of His wrists (not as most paintings portray in the hands) and one nail through His feet. In agony Jesus hung His head and died for us.

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Trusting God that I Shall Lack Nothing

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. ~ Psalm 23:1

One of my favorite books, God is More Than Enough by Dr. Tony Evans, describes explicitly why we need not be afraid… when we trust God. The scriptures referenced below are from Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV).

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. In this verse… David, the Psalmist, uses the Hebrew word for Lord, which is Yahweh—God’s formal name. Declaring that God is right now present as his shepherd… the One who cares for him and provides everything that he needs.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. This describes the normal nature of David as a member of Yahweh’s flock. Safe and protected in His care, forgiven from all anxieties. David is confident of the freedom to enjoy all the simple pleasures that makes up his life—the freshness of the meadow, the coolness of the stream—he feels satisfied beyond his own capacity. Continue reading “Trusting God that I Shall Lack Nothing”

Remembering the Sacrifices: Promoting the Legacy

For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. ~ Deuteronomy 10:17 (NIV)

February is Black History Month or National African American History Month. A time to emphasize the wealth of knowledge passed from generation to generation. An occasion to remember the men and women, who are worthy of celebration. Some whose contributions were ultimate sacrifices—because they had a dreamed. Others who continue the dream—who promote the legacy. Working for a better life for African Americans… for all Americans… for humankind.

As a child of about seven, I remember reading with misty eyes. A story about a little boy who would sneak beside the chimney’s fire—late at night with a tattered primer—because he wasn’t allowed to learn to read. Back then… I couldn’t comprehend why a child was denied the right to read. I was a child and I loved to read. That’s one of my earliest memories of African American history.

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Sometimes You Have to Encourage Yourself

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

There are times in life when we look around… and those we depended on to encourage us are gone—in need of encouragement themselves—or just not helpful. What shall we do then? Let us remember David’s reaction when he faced difficulties. As David looked around him, he saw nothing but discouragement and despair. No one to encourage him, so… David encouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6).

In that moment… when we ask ourselves, “Is it gonna be all right?” On the day, we feel stressed out—thinking we’re too young or too old to accomplish our goals. In that hour, when we hope trouble don’t last always because it seems like every time we get up—we get knocked down. Feeling desperate, afraid, and alone… no one to call on. In times such as those—we must encourage ourselves! Remember Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25) and the wise Elihu, who reminded Job that God gives songs in the night (Job 35:10).

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Answering the Call of God

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: ~ Ephesians 1:11

God uses our strengths, weaknesses, heartaches, successes, failures, and experiences to shape our hearts and minds… In order to bring us closer to him and prepare us to fulfill our calling. For a calling is a specific part of our purpose—born out of faith and conviction. Like Paul (Acts 9:15), we too… can hear the call of God. A call that may seem great or small. A call that can affect the life of a single person… or change the world for everyone. A call that is not limited to influential leaders, the educated, the rich, or the famous.

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Nothing Shall be Impossible to Those that Believe

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. ~ Mark 9:23

Scientists estimate the probability of you—being born you—at about 1 in 400 trillion. The chance of you winning the Mega Millions lottery… 1 in 259 million. Those are amazing odds. Yet, here we are… and for those who play the lottery, someone will win. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and none of us are here by chance (Jeremiah 1:5).

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Behold a New You

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19

When I was much younger, I was always in a hurry. I’d set goal after goal. Then complain to my brother about how hard I tried, yet… still hadn’t succeeded. One day, my brother looked at me and said… “It’s not by your might, or by your power, but by the Spirit of the Lord… that you will accomplish your goals… read Zechariah 4:6”. He encouraged me to continue to work hard, do what’s right, and trust in the Lord’s timing.

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You’re Not Forgotten on this Christmas Day

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? ~ Luke 12:6

This is my first Christmas without my mom. A day that is bittersweet. A day that I count my blessings and give thanks for my life, family, and friends. A day that is entrenched in joy, sadness, grief, love, gratitude, hope, and serenity. As I prayed this morning, I tried to describe to Jesus how I felt… but, no words seemed adequate to express the bundle of emotions gripping my very soul. Then I realized that Jesus didn’t need my words to understand the desires of my heart. So, I cast my cares upon Him, because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). Continue reading “You’re Not Forgotten on this Christmas Day”