Lord, Which Way?

The Holy Spirit can speak in many different ways which may include dreams, visions, trances, audible voices, through counselors, preachers and brethren just to name a few, but nothing excites me more than when the Holy Spirit speaks directly to my heart.  Galatians 4:6 reads, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father.”

Brethren, there comes a time in all our lives when we may be confused or not at peace about some important decision in our life, such as, when a man has to choose a life partner or when a woman has to accept the man asking her hand in marriage. When faced with important decisions, it is imperative that you operate in God’s will.  The question is, “how does one know God’s will.”  To begin you must know when the Holy Spirit is speaking.  In short, you must recognize His voice because not recognizing His voice can lead to consequences.  Let me explain.  The Holy Spirit instructs and guides us, but if we are not sensitive and do not recognize His voice we may go in another direction, and like a senseless horse we will need to be pulled in the right direction.  This pulling could take hours, days, weeks, months or years.  Did I say years? God forbid!

Which way

Psalms 32:8 reads, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” G-l-o-r-y!  Can you hear this loud shout of praise?  In addition, Psalm 32:9 reads “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”  I did not make this up. Pick up your Holy Bible.  This is the Word of the Lord from the Holy Scriptures.  God knew some of us would want to do things our own way and not operate in His will. In fact, even Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert”, Luke 4:1.  Thus, if Jesus was led by the Spirit then His children would do well to follow in His footsteps.

In closing, right now, someone somewhere has an important choice or decision to make.  Thus, to make the right choice or decision you will need to consult with God, recognize and depend on the inner voice of the Holy Spirit for instruction, guidance and confirmation.  If it is from God you will be completely at peace, and if it is of the devil it will be harassing, pushy, and often shrouded in confusion.  So, if you listen to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, you can avoid spending countless hours pondering the question, Lord, which way?  Shalom!

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A New Name!

When I was much younger, I use to earnestly pray for God to send me a MAN THAT WOULD FIND ME (translation – a husband for me).  However, at some point I stopped earnestly praying, and I would only pray to God about this particular subject matter occasionally.  A few months ago while reading Luke 18:1-8, I was reminded to pray and never give up, so as a result, I dusted off this topic, and began earnestly praying again.  In fact, I told the Lord that I would not stop asking until He honors my request. Like Jacob, I’m holding on with a tight manly grip until he blesses me!

Well, several months ago I had been reading the book of Isaiah when a certain passage seemed to leap from the Bible. It was such and earth moving experience that I contemplated whether or not to share the details for fear I would be misunderstood or not be able to adequately convey what actually happened. So here is the most succinct version of what happened.  As I read Isaiah 62:1-12 my heart began to beat rapidly, and I began to sweat.  While fanning myself, I started having trouble breathing. I did not understand what was actually happening to me at that moment, but the Word began to envelop me.  In short, every Word that I read felt like it was being lifted from the page, and being deposited into me. This sensation could best be described as someone holding a large jug of water to your mouth, and forcing you drink all of it very quickly.  For a moment please try to imagine!

The passage centered around Jerusalem, and it was as if the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me. I saw myself as Jerusalem.  Yes, me, I became that great city!  I immediately recognized that the passage I was reading was for me.  Through the reading of the passage I was assured that my cry to be found by my husband would one day be answered, and I would indeed receive a NEW NAME!  Thus, as a result of this experience, I am able to share with you this life giving Word that has given me so much assurance, joy and hope!  Single sisters please continue reading to catch the revelation.

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Isaiah 62:1-12 (Contemporary English Version) reads: Jerusalem, I will speak up for your good. I will never be silent till you are safe and secure, sparkling like a flame. Your great victory will be seen by every nation and king; the Lord will even give you a new name. You will be a glorious crown, a royal headband, for the Lord your God. Your name will no longer be “Deserted and Childless,” but “Happily Married.” You will please the Lord; your country will be his bride. Your people will take the land, just as a young man takes a bride. The Lord will be pleased because of you, just a s husband is pleased with his bride. Jerusalem, on your walls I have stationed guards whose duty it is to speak out day and night without rest till he makes Jerusalem strong and famous everywhere. The Lord has given his word and made this promise: “Never again will I give to your enemies the grain and grapes for which you struggled. As surely as you harvest your grain and grapes you will eat your bread with thankful hearts, and you will drink your wine in my temple.” People of Jerusalem, open your gates! Repair the road to the city and clear it of stones; raise a banner to help the nations find their way. Here is what the Lord has said for all the earth to hear: “Soon I will come to save the city of Zion, and to reward you. Then you will be called “the Lord’s Own People, The Ones He Rescued!” Your city will be known as a good place to live and a city full of people.”

Well, these are some things that were revealed to me as I read Isaiah 62:1-12.  The Lord will speak up for my good, and He will never be silent until I am safe, secure and sparkling like a flame (translation happily married).  At the appointed time (after the gates have been opened; the road has been repaired; and the city has been cleared of stones) we will join together in jubilation for I will be given A NEW NAME.  Never again will He give to my enemies the grain and grapes for which I struggled.  I will indeed eat my bread with a thankful heart.

In closing, this passage has given new meaning to my life, and has brought me hope, joy and assurance. Moreover, I hope this passage will transform the life of someone else who is waiting to be found by her husband.  Be assured that at the appointed time God will give you a New Name.  No longer called “Deserted and Childless,” but “Happily Married!” Shalom!

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Keep Praying And Never Give Up!

Have you ever consistently prayed about something over, and over, and over again? Have you ever wondered if this was acceptable unto God?  Perhaps you repeated your prayer request, because you thought you weren’t getting through. Well, I have news for YOU!  God is very pleased when we PUSH (pray until something happens).

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus shares a parable about a persistent widow who keeps coming to an unjust judge to plea for justice.  This judge does not fear God or man, and for a while the judge refuses to do anything.  Finally, one day he decides to help this widow, but why? Well, I know the answer!  He helped her not because he really wanted to, but simply because she kept pleading with him over, and over, and over again.  You see, persistence really does pay off.  Moreover, if an unjust judge could honor this persistent widow’s request even when he really didn’t want to, what more should we expect of our own heavenly Father who looks forward to answering our every request that we bring before Him?

Luke 18:7 reads “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” What an awesome promise!  Let us rejoice over this promise and revelation, because without a doubt we now know that repeating prayer requests over, and over, and over again is not offensive to God, but rather acceptable unto Him.

In closing, we now have proof  that we do not have to just pray sincerely and wait patiently for God to answer. We can raise our concerns with Him over, and over, and over again, because our Father never tires of our prayers. In fact, He looks forward to hearing us cry out to Him day and night, so that He can honor our requests.  Therefore, if you have asked God for something, and haven’t received it yet, KEEP PRAYING AND NEVER GIVE UP! Shalom!

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A Shape for Serving God

Scripture tells us that we are beautifully and wonderfully made, but what if others think our shape or a particular physical attribute doesn’t measure up?  To begin with, I know you must have heard the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Well, as sweet as it sounds in our ears, it doesn’t trump God’s view of beauty at all!  In fact, it doesn’t even come close.

Let me have a moment to be frank with you, and speak the TRUTH which sets us ALL free. Some ladies are in the habit of flaunting their shape and trying to draw attention by putting on tight clothes that hug every curve causing some men to stumble along the way.  Well, ladies did it ever occur to you that some men would not like to be bombarded by these images, yet everyday women send out sexual enticements due to the way they cover their shape, and if you are guilty, now would be a good time to repent and change your ways!

Now when it comes to the topic of SHAPE and PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES here is where I stand. There is nothing wrong with having a shape (everything has a shape or an outline), however when a person believes that their shape or other physical attributes are superior to others it displeases God. In God’s eyes everyone is beautiful and He doesn’t make mistakes.  God made each human being the way He liked, and not necessarily the way you would have liked. Oh yes, and He knew exactly what He was doing when He made YOU and ME. So if you have found yourself criticizing people because of their outward appearance, or because you think they do not measure up in one physical attribute or the other, I have some scriptures for you.

Job 10:8 reads, “Your hands shaped me and made me.” Psalm 139:13-16 reads “You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb”.  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Everyday of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

I hope from these scriptures that anyone who thinks that they have some superior attribute or shape  now know that they don’t really have any bragging rights, because they had nothing to do with the way God shaped or made them. Therefore, don’t compare yourself  to others or make others feel like they don’t measure up to your standard of beauty which is NOT God’s standard.

In closing, I know that GOD’S HANDS SHAPED AND MADE ALL OF US THE WAY WE ARE, and a certain physical attribute or a particular shape is not what will get you into heaven. Therefore, I will enjoy using the shape God has given me to work in His kingdom, which is “A SHAPE FOR SERVING GOD.” Shalom!

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O Death, Where Is Your Sting?

On February 14, 2012, my dear sweet Aunt Frances LaJune Powell passed away. At first it was hard to believe that she would no longer be with us physically, but today, February 25, 2012 when the casket closed and she was finally laid to rest, it sank down deep inside, and in the midst of my melancholy feelings, I asked the old age question, “O Death, where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55.

You see, my Aunt June was an easygoing person who enjoyed many friendships, and was held in high esteem. She was the best role model a niece could ever have. She can best be described by the following attributes, wise, generous, kind, cheerful giver, great thinker, educator, professor, historian…and the list goes on. In addition, she loved to travel, and her journeys took her to most of the world’s continents and islands. Let me highlight a few which include China, Senegal, the Gambia and Kenya. There are many more deeds and accomplishments I could write about, but it would take volumes to contain them all. In short, she was a Godsend; indeed one of God’s helpers to help lead the way.

During my Aunt’s home-going service, she was described as “Lady Wisdom”. Oh, how this name truly captures how she is viewed by many. Proverbs 9:1-6 reads, “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, she has furnished her table. She has sent out her maidens, she cries out from the highest places of the city, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, “Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.  Well, this scripture really sums up my Aunt’s life. Yes, “Lady Wisdom” had built her house, hewn out seven pillars….cried out from the highest places of the city, and wanted nothing more than to give selflessly to others, and for many years, she was a cheerful giver to a program called SOME (So Others Might Eat), which I will now carry the torch.

In closing, the Christian teaching on death is that it is not the end of life, but that there is a resurrection and a judgment, and the life of the Christian believer will continue for eternity. Hence, by continuing to help the needy, giving to the poor, supporting education and fostering learning in others, I am continuing in her footsteps.  Therefore, while, she may no longer be here physically, HER LEGACY LIVES ON IN ME, so, “O Death, where is your sting?” Shalom!

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Love Is Long-Suffering And It Never Fails!

Okay, let me begin by telling you what I have been doing for a good chunk of my life. I have tried to make it my business to keep people from suffering when in my power to do so. I have moved one person after another into my home just because I didn’t want them to suffer; I have given thousands of dollars to people just because I didn’t want them to suffer; I have driven many miles down the road with my own gas, and purchased groceries out of my own pocket for those in need just because I didn’t want them to suffer. These are just a few examples, my list is long. I was exceptional at solving someone else’s problems. However, whenever I found myself personally suffering I wanted to quickly wish it away and pretend it wasn’t happening. I could count on one hand those friends and  family members who were willing and able to come to my aid.  Now looking back in retrospect, I made an awesome discovery! I did not do all this just because I didn’t want them to suffer. I did these acts of kindness simply because I LOVED THEM.

Well, I am going to go ahead and tell you that some of the same people who I helped along the way, actually hurt me, and I quickly understood that I didn’t mean much of anything to them.  Simply put, I was just a means to an end.  However, the good news is that despite all that happened between us, we are still good friends and family even today. You may be wondering how this possible.  I can explain.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reads “love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…..” Oh, I really do love this Bible passage!

To help me cope, I quickly developed a state of mind which could bear so much pain whenever I was oppressed or hurt by others which included some of those I was helping. I restrained myself whenever I was injured. I waited and hoped those who hurt me would be reformed and change their ways. I kept no record of how they had wronged me, and focused only how their lives had improved, because I showed up on the scene, and offered my helping hand with a graceful grip. I purposely let their mistreatment and misunderstanding of me fly right out the window of life. There was no point in keeping them. What could I do with those wrongs? Hence, I quickly laid my pain down ever so gently at the Savior’s feet, and I never once sought revenge nor would I ever. By God’s grace, I simply bared, believed, hoped and endured. Now can you see how love suffers long?

In closing, let me remind all of us that the epitome of LOVE IS LONG-SUFFERING, and whenever you have the opportunity to love someone or have the means to prevent them from suffering, please continue to do so, because despite what happens after YOU give a helping hand — LOVE NEVER FAILS! – Shalom!

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Murmuring And Complaining Will Keep You From The Promised Land

At some point and time in your life, you may become dissatisfied and uneasy. You may even find yourself experiencing one disappointment after another, one challenge after another, or even one heartbreak after another. During these trying times it is not uncommon to find yourself grumbling, murmuring and complaining about your present situation. The problem with this is that you hurt God when you do this, and you attack God’s Sovereignty. As bad as your situation may seem there is always somebody else worse off than you. Therefore it is very important to appreciate where you are, and what you have even in the midst of your situation. Instead of you being the one with no shoes on your feet, you could be the one with no feet. We have a lot to be GRATEFUL for!

Listen up! When we murmur and complain this displeases God, and He expects so much more from us.  In the midst of our situation He wants us not to grumble or be bitter, but to acknowledge that He is able, and knows ALL about our situation. Whatever the situation, please be assured it did not catch Him by surprise. Therefore, we need to TRUST Him, and follow His LEAD!

Let me bring to your attention some instances of grumbling and complaining by the Children of Israel. Now there was a time when “…the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of them in the outskirts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1) Also, there was another time when the children of Israel said, “We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic, but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except manna before our eyes. (Numbers 11:5-6) Hold tight, I have one more example for you.  There was a time when the spies return from searching out the promised land and return with an unfavorable report. “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! or if only we had died in this wilderness! (Numbers 14:1-2) Do you see a pattern here? God had already led them out of Egypt (the land of bondage), but they were so ungrateful to the point that their complaints continued to grow, and they made slavery sound like a picnic. They would have rather remained in slavery or even die. How awful!

Therefore, when you don’t see God leading or moving the way you think He should, I caution you to refrain from grumbling, murmuring, griping and complaining, and to THANK HIM FOR WHERE YOU ARE, AND WHAT YOU DO HAVE. Let me take a moment to enlighten you.  When you murmur, it is actually against God, and murmuring and complaining is a sin with serious consequences. For the Israelites He said, “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.” (Numbers 14:29)

In closing, “those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Proverbs 21:23) So, Lord “let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) Therefore, when faced with trials and disappointments refrain from murmuring and complaining, because MURMURING AND COMPLAINING WILL KEEP YOU FROM THE PROMISED LAND. Shalom!

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Be Faithful In Prayer!

Many of us are overwhelmed with the cares of life, simply because we haven’t learned the power of being faithful in prayer.  By raising this topic now, I hope to spur us to action, so that we may devote ourselves to constant prayer.

Let me begin by telling you something that you probably already know. God desires to communicate with us. However, we don’t spend much time communicating with Him, and because of this lack, we blindly make decisions that we later regret. Yep, I just made one yesterday!

I want you to know that God promises to intervene on behalf of the person who prays according to His will. 1 John 5:14-15 reads, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we have asked of Him.” What an awesome guarantee!  God hears our plea, and answers our petition. We are not just speaking vain words into the air.  THERE IS AN EXPECTED OUTCOME!

Therefore, if you don’t already have a prayer life, now would be a good time to go down on your knees and say “Lord, please teach me how to pray.”  As a word to the wise, please seek the Lord’s help, otherwise you might find yourself emulating others or babbling like pagans that think they will be heard because of their many words.  Let me set the record straight now, and clear up this misconception that you have to pray long.  NO, NOT SO!  So, whether your prayer is short or long really doesn’t matter. God simply desires FAITHFUL communication with His children, so pray CONSTANTLY and keep your mind STAYED on Him.

In closing, having a faithful prayer life can change the direction of any situation you may find yourself, and God actually gets pleasure out of meeting our needs. Therefore, I challenge you today to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12. Shalom!

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Affliction Leads to Growth

When you hear the word afflicted or affliction, what is the first image that comes to your mind? For me I picture people being oppressed or a person experiencing some bodily pain like sickness.  I know you’ve heard the saying, “No pain – No gain”, but have you ever wondered if it was really true?  And, if you believe it to be true, do you have any proof to back up your claim? I believe I do!

Let me open this claim by sharing my very own testimony with you.  I clearly remember a time when I was afflicted, and in my adversity of pain my days and nights were running together, and I couldn’t tell where one day began and the next day ended.  In that place of pain, I looked to God for answers. I leaned on Him instead of others, and tried to understand how I ended up in such a lonely place in the first place. I hungered for His presence and His healing touch. I began to understand that if I ever had a chance of being rescued then I would have to embrace God’s Word (learn his statutes) and draw my strength from Him. I use Psalm 119:71 to back up my claim which reads “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes”.  Yes, in my pain I was forced to open my Bible and learn His statutes. Looking back, this turned out to be a good thing for me, and if you keep reading you’ll soon discover why.

While in my adversity the Lord put new songs in my heart. I had written songs before, but at some point I noticed that whenever I was afflicted that I would write my best lyrics.  My affliction allowed me to believe in my God Given song writing abilities/talents by drawing my inspiration from the pain/affliction/place where I had found myself, no matter how lonely it seemed, and sometimes it sure did feel lonely.  Today, I have gone on to write beautiful songs.  I went from a helpless seed that sprouted into an amazing being. YES, ALL WHILE IN PAIN.  In short, “I ACTUALLY GREW”.  I am a better songwriter today and I have beautiful songs to prove it. Also, I can honestly say that I am better equipped to find solutions to my problems, because I now have a better idea of where things are in my Bible.

Okay, now before I leave you.  I have one last piece of evidence to back up my claim that “affliction leads to growth.” “Look at the children of Israel. The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew (Ex 1:12).” With that said, I believe my testimony and the scriptures presented to all of you is more than enough evidence to prove that affliction leads to growth. Therefore, don’t run from it, or wish it away. Instead, EMBRACE IT, because YOU TOO, MUST GROW!

Shalom!

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Paralyzed By Your Past? Move On — Your Next Step Begins Now!

Okay, let’s say you messed up, and are laden with guilt, and just can’t seem to move forward. Well, I am going to cut right to the chase, and tell you that I came by today to break up your pity party. Yes, I dropped by unannounced to rescue you from yourself. Oh, I already know you must be asking what qualifies me to do this? Well, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that!

The adversary says, “You are nothing”, so you wallow like a pig in mud with shame all over you, and it’s hard to get that shame off, but the devil is a liar. Let me remind you that he comes but for to steal, kill and destroy, so don’t let him have his way with you any longer. The Word says, “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. Then you being paralyzed by your past say, “…but Lord I really did mess up”.  God says, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”. 2 Cor 12:9. So, do you see through God’s Word how he handles our shortcomings? Then that should settle it!

Are you still with me?  Shhhhh! I have a little secret, and I am going to go ahead and let you in on it.  The Bible “the good book” reveals the good, the bad and the ugly. For example, while King David was known as a man after God’s own heart, HE SINNED.  He not only committed adultery, but plotted the battlefield death of the woman’s husband.  He was confronted by the Prophet Nathan, admitted his error and asked God for forgiveness. So if you confess YOUR SIN(S), God will forgive you too. Therefore, you no longer have to be paralyzed by your past.

Alright, one last thing you need to know before we close your case. Please listen to me very carefully, because I only need to say this once, for this revelation to take root, grow and manifest itself in your own situation. So here goes. WHEN GOD FORGIVES US, WE ARE FORGIVEN FOREVER. You got that, case closed! So, if you have asked God to forgive you, and are still paralyzed by your past — move on. Your next step begins now!

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