Reflections of 2019

Another year has come to an end. What happened this past year? Financially things have stayed pretty much the same. Started a business in June, that I am working to take off so that I can become more financially stable. Things are moving slowly, but that is alright for now.

It’s been an alright year, on that I could have changed if I had taken the time to do. The business is what gets you and that I need to find a way to manage as life continues.

I have joined a new small group this past fall and I love the women that I am walking with in the Lord. They are loving and caring women. I still keep in contact with my previous small group as I consider them family and I have walked with them a little longer than this new small group. Things are happening and I hope and pray that God will bless my efforts and make things work out alright.

What was you greatest achievement in 2019? Care to share?
I would love to hear.

Reflection of 2018

As I reflect on the past year (2018), I find myself feeling good that it is over and a new one has started.  I received a car from my church a year ago and have been able to keep it running through out the year.  I’ve had some ups and downs, but I have kept going and pursued every step of the way.  I have been able to stay on budget better than I have had over the years.  I have been able to change my thinking and see things in a new light.  You may think that these are nothing, but for me it is something because it is what I have struggled with for quite a while.  When I thought that I would not be able to pay certain bills, God has shown up and provided what I needed when I least expected Him to do so.  God is Good!!! I have had quite a few struggles and disappointments last year, but now I see them as growing and allowing God to work when I could not.  Which is huge for me as I didn’t see things that way before and have not recognized that He is there when I don’t think that He is, or have not seen Him working at the time.  It amazes me how God works in our lives when we least expect things to happen.

For me I will continue to trust in my Lord, Savior, Father and Friend to provide, and take care of us.  It’s not an easy road and we weren’t promised that it would be.  As long as I look to Him for everything and give Him all of me, He will always come through.

What about you? What has God put on your heart and what changes have you seen in your life? Care to share?  I look forward to what God has for me this New Year.  What about you? Care to join me?

Do I truly Believe?

What am I here for?  What am I wanting to get out of this?  What am I willing to put into it, to get what I want?  Have you ever asked yourself these questions or asked at least one of them to yourself?  If so, are your motives in the right place or are you hear to just go through the motions, just to get through the studies?

Well to answer these questions we must first start with looking within ourselves.  Why, you may ask, to answer the last question.  Are you doing it just to go through the motions or do you have an ulterior motive?  What are your reasons for going to any website, is it to learn about the Word and apply it to your own life or is it something else?  I ask these questions, cause I had to ask them of myself, because I felt that there was something missing.

I had just read the following devotion:

 “Will You Truly Believe?” — A Year with Jesus for 01/10/2018

Note from Jesus

Dear Friend,

I know the struggle that goes on inside your heart to truly believe. You want to believe, but really placing your full trust in Me is hard to do… especially when you are desperate for a solution to whatever difficulty you are facing. You may want to see the solution before you will really trust Me. However, true discipleship doesn’t work that way.

You have to trust Me. Even before you receive the results of your faith, you have to act on your faith that what I say is true. Real faith is something more than thinking I can do something for you: It is acting on that belief. My half-brother, James, said it well:

Without actions, faith is useless. By itself, it’s as good as dead.
(James 2:17)

I love the government official you meet today in My story. He was desperate. He wanted to believe that I could heal his son, but he wasn’t sure. He had hoping faith, but not full faith. So I nudged him to truly believe. I challenged him to really trust Me and to act before his faith in Me was proven true — to go home because he believed I had already healed his son before he could validate it. This situation is where his hoping faith became acting trust.

He took Me at My word and headed home. On the way home, he discovered that I had done what I said at the time he trusted Me. Then his trust became experienced faith. He believed — not just with hoping faith and acting faith, but with validated faith. He then shared that faith with others and they believed, too.

I want you to see the progression of faith in this story and know that this is the way faith often works in real life:

  • Hoping faith — Desperate for answers, the father whose son was near death came to Me.
  • Acting faith — The father started back home, taking Me at My word.
  • Validating faith — The father discovered I did what I said.
  • Sharing faith — The father told this story so others could believe.

Verses to Live

Are you willing to act in trust before your faith is validated? When you do, it is real faith — believing without immediate validation, trusting while you are waiting, and acting before you have proof! For many of you, the wait between acting faith and validating faith can be much longer than it was for this father. But, no matter how short or how long the wait might be, this is the kind of faith that I’m calling you to have as you follow Me!

After two days of teaching and conversation, Jesus proceeded to Galilee where His countrymen received Him with familiar smiles. After all, they witnessed His miracle at the feast in Jerusalem; but Jesus understood and often quoted the maxim: “No one honors a hometown prophet.”

As Jesus traveled to Cana (the village in Galilee where He transformed the water into fine wine), He was met by a government official. This man had heard a rumor that Jesus had left Judea and was heading to Galilee, and he came in desperation begging for Jesus’ help because his young son was near death. He was fearful that unless Jesus would go with him to Capernaum, his son would have no hope.

Jesus (to the official):

 My word is not enough; you only believe when you see miraculous signs.

Official:

 Sir, this is my son; please come with me before he dies.

Jesus (interrupting him):

 

Go home. Your son will live.

When he heard the voice of Jesus, faith took hold of him and he turned to go home. Before he reached his village, his servants met him on the road celebrating his son’s miraculous recovery.

Official:

What time did this happen?

Servants:

 Yesterday about one o’clock in the afternoon.

At that moment, it dawned on the father the exact time that Jesus spoke the words, “He will live.” After that, he believed; and when he told his family about his amazing encounter with this Jesus, they believed too. This was the second sign Jesus performed when He came back to Galilee from Judea.

(John 4:43-54)

While I was reading this devotion it occurred to me, was I doing what this government official was doing?

Did I have or was I displaying this same kind of faith as this official had:

  • Hoping faith — Desperate for answers.
  • Acting faith — Taking Christ at His word.
  • Validating faith — Discovering that Jesus did what He said He would do.
  • Sharing faith — Then sharing that with others, so that they may believe.

I cannot say if I am or not, but these questions and thoughts are ones that we should be asking ourselves daily.  Are we doing this or that for the right reasons?  We must access our lives to see if we are doing God’s will for our lives.  It’s not going to be an easy task, but it is one that we must do if we are to be Walking in the Spirit of our Lord and Savior.  Have you ever stopped to think about these questions?  Pondered on them to see if you are in the will of God?  I know that I have not been.  I have done a self-check on my own life to see where I had gone wrong and to make changes to correct that, so that I can be walking in the will of God.

My pastor has often said “When I take care of what’s on God’s heart, He will take care of what’s on my heart.”  Am I thinking Christ like?  Probably not.  This has given me something to not only think about, but to make sure that I am doing the will of God in my life each day.  We must keep our focus on Him always.  No matter what the circumstances may bring us.  You see I have learned to review my daily life, access it, and make sure that I am applying the teachings that I have learned daily.

What are you doing to Review, Access, and Apply any teachings that you come across your life daily?  What are you doing them?  I have to say for me, I am working on Reviewing, Accessing, and Applying those teachings to my life every day.  How about you?  Care to join me?

Reflection for 2017

Well, another year has come and gone, I have graduated twice this year with 2 Associates Degrees and I’m very proud of myself for that.  One in the Fine Arts and the other in the Arts.  It’s been a trying year, but with all of the ups and downs, I can say that it was not the most terrible year of all.  Some things could have turned out better, but I think that they turned out this way for a reason.  I have started a website for my business, I have started a new hobby and I really enjoy it and I can also say that I can now add that hobby to my business.  Things are coming together slowly, but creativity does not happen at a moments notice.  Upon my reflection of this past year, I know that I am working to be not only  a better person, but a more caring one was well.  I’m not saying that I have not been caring, it is just that I want to be more receptive to others and showing them what Christ has done in my life.  With all that being said, I have to say that I look forward to what God will do in my life this year.  Blessings to all and may God bless each one and give you a prosperous year.

God’s Holy Fire “How Foolish Can You Be?”

“How Foolish Can You Be?” — God’s Holy Fire for 06/24/2017

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? — Galatians 3:3 NLT

Key Thought

Try harder! Be better! Achieve more! Seek perfection! These are all messages that we hear every day in our competitive world. In fact, these admonitions can help in many areas of our lives. However, there is one area that they do not help: becoming holy like God! Yes, we need to obey God. Yes, we must offer ourselves to God for his service. Yes, we should yearn to be holy as God is holy. However, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we will never become like Jesus. The Spirit convicts us, purifies us, gives spiritual gifts to us, empowers us, and transforms us to become like Jesus. Effort alone cannot do this; we must depend on the Spirit’s work to accomplish all these. While this dependence on the Spirit may feel counter-intuitive to our pursuit of Christ-likeness, this trust in the Spirit is an indispensable element of God’s grace. The Father delivered us from sin and death through the gift of his Son. We become like Jesus as we offer ourselves to God through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our own efforts, our own power, and our own attempts at perfection will always fall short of God’s holiness and majesty. Only the “Holy Gift” within us can transform us into the very nature of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Today’s Prayer

O Father, I do want to be holy as you are holy. I do want to live with your righteous character and your gracious compassion. So I offer myself — my life, my gifts, my time, my money, my all — to serve you. But I know, dear Father, that these things will fall far short of your perfection and glory, and so I ask for your Holy Spirit to do his work in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

This hit me today and I was thinking we all need to be like Christ.  I’m currently going to try and do this how about you?  Care to join me?

Graduation!

Well, it has finally happened.  I graduated with an Associates Degree in Fine Arts.  It took a long time to get here, but persistence and determination has gotten me to this point.  What’s next, you may be asking?  Well, now I have to work on getting my business off the ground and into play.  To where I can have an income coming in to be self sufficient, it will not be easy, but I know that God is with me and I can do anything if I trust in Him.  So here go into my next phase of my life and journey.  Stay tuned!

Much More

I attended an event at my church called “Much More.”  It was an awesome time of teaching, worship, and inspiration.  I had never been to anything like this before, but found myself looking deep within myself to see how I could become ‘much more’ than I am now.  Making myself better than I am now and becoming better for my family as well.  Changing the old types of negativity and replacing them with what God thinks of me and how He sees me.  It was the first time that I really saw myself as who God wants me to be.  A better daughter, sister, friend, maybe a wife if He sees fit, and a better person for Him.  It was encouraging, inspiring, meaningful, and emotional at the same time, but don’t get me wrong, it was a time of reflection.  Digging deep within one’s soul and seeing where we are as women.  Are we becoming the women that God wants us to be or are we living outside of His will for us?  It is something to ponder and reflect on.

For me, it is a time of not only change but a time to work on becoming the woman that Christ sees me to be and for me to allow Him to mold me into the woman He wants me to be and the way that He sees me.  I loved being with my sisters in Christ and look forward to what God has in store for us.

What about you? Have you had any experiences like this?  Have you dug deeper into the Word to see what God has in store for you?  These are some things to ponder.  Care to join me?

What is your Greatest Treasure?

I have to say that this spoke to me today. It makes me think of where should my treasure be. This devotion by Phil Ware says it best! “The Greatest Treasure,” and brings at least to me a question: Who is my Greatest Treasure? As Christ followers He should be our greatest treasure, but are we putting Him first in our lives or are we living in the day to day happenings that the world is giving us? It is something to ponder and I know for me that I am going to make a more conscious effort to being aware of where my greatest treasure is.

“The Greatest Treasure” — A Year with Jesus for 02/03/2017

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved of the Father,

You are a child of God; so I want to open your heart to hear two incredible truths found below in two simple stories that I told long ago.

Truth One:

You are the Father’s treasure! Yes, I know that is not normally how the two stories below are read, but I want you to think about it for a minute. There is a truth that you must not miss behind this understanding of these stories. The Father sent Me, His greatest gift, to pay the price to ransom you back to Us. You are Our treasure — Our discovered treasure and Our searched for treasure. I was the willing purchase price paid to buy you back from sin and death.

Truth Two:

The kingdom is the greatest treasure you can ever find. For some, it will seem like an accidental and great discovery as in the first story — almost like the treasure found them! The key, however, is that when you have “accidentally” discovered this treasure, then you should be willing to give up everything else to make it your own! Others, as in the second story, will find the treasure of the kingdom because they have longed to find it and have searched far and wide to find it. Again, the key is that having found it, they rejoice in giving up everything else to make this treasure of the kingdom their own!

Notice the truth that ties these two understandings together: true treasure is worth any price necessary. That is true with the ultimate price I paid in coming to redeem you. It is also true for the price you must be ready to pay for the kingdom if you are willing to follow Me!

Verses to Live

What is your greatest treasure? I made clear that you are My treasure when I left the Father’s side and came to give My life to buy you out of slavery to sin and death and to reclaim you as a child of God. Will you choose to see My way, My kingdom, as your greatest treasure?

Jesus:
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that is hidden in a field. A crafty man found the treasure buried there and buried it again so no one would know where it was. Thrilled, he went off and sold everything he had, and then he came back and bought the field with the hidden treasure part of the bargain.

Or the kingdom of heaven is like a jeweler on the lookout for the finest pearls. When he found a pearl more beautiful and valuable than any jewel he had ever seen, the jeweler sold all he had and bought that pearl, his pearl of great price.
(Matthew 13:44-46)
Response in Prayer

O Father, all I can think about in response to these stories is Your great love that sent Jesus to ransom me and Jesus’ great love to come and pay the price for my sin. The words to the old hymn speak the emotions of my heart in response to this great love:

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.*
May the lordship of Jesus and the kingdom of heaven rule my heart just as the sacrifice of Jesus has captured my heart and made me Your child. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

* From Isaac Watts’ hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” 1707.

With all the that is going on these days shouldn’t we be looking to God for the answers that we seek? I think so. How about you, care to join me?

Reflection of 2016

As I have been reflecting on the past year, I know that somethings did not happen that I wanted to happen.  I have gotten closer to God in my daily walk, but I had thought that there would be a more noticeable change.  However, I know that I must look deeper within myself because for me to work to become more Christ like I must live like He did.  That is a harder thing to do.  From what I see, I am not doing that and I need to be doing that.  There are too many distractions in my life that I need to clean up and get a handle on.  This past fall semester, I failed a class that I needed to graduate with and now I have put myself in a predicament to where I now have to take an extra class just to finish my degree.  Unfortunately, I have no one else to blame, but myself.  I have allowed these distractions to become apart of my life and that is not good.

Well a new year has started and now is the time to work to make a better year and strive to improve myself as a better friend, Christian, sister, and person to those around me and those that I come in contact with.  So my prayer this year is to be better than the last year and a more Christ like follower.  I know it will not be easy, but I know that with Christ on my side I cannot fail.  He is my older brother, Savior, Lord, and friend.  So by relying on Him for everything I know that I can and will become a better person.

What about you?  Have you evaluated your life over this past year?  Do you need to make some changes to become the person that you want to be?  I know that for me these questions I will be pondering over this year.  Care to join me?

Are you putting the Full Armor of God on?

In this mornings devotion reading, I find myself thinking and wondering if I and other Christian’s are putting on the full Armor of God on a daily basis as the Word says for us to be doing.  I know that it has convicted me of this as I know because of the busyness of the daily activities for me finishing my degree and raising a Special Needs child are not an easy task for a single parent.  I know that I have to take a daily inventory of my thoughts, actions, and behaviors to make sure that I am on the right track.  In my devotion for today I am reminded that I need to consciously put on the Full Armor of God everyday.   Read today’s devotion and see if it does not convict you as well.

A Year with Jesus: “Head-to-Toe in the Full Armor of God”
HEARTLIGHT
“Head-to-Toe in the Full Armor of God” — A Year with Jesus for 10/13/2016

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower,

Some of the churches in your day are skilled at drawing big audiences. Many more congregations, both large and small, need to focus more on equipping a spiritual army. My disciples are facing an all-out spiritual war. I’ve got the marks on My body to prove hell’s fury toward the Father and His desire to redeem humankind. Hell has a way of insidiously seeping into politics, government, religion, and personal relationships and too many of my followers are ill-equipped and unprepared. When Satan gains a foothold, then it is literally “hell on earth.” Look at the book of Revelation in your Bible and you will see this war story:

  • War in heaven.
  • War on earth.
  • War with religion.
  • War with government.
  • War through false teaching.
  • War because of weakness.

Yes, My disciples are at war with Satan and hell. This war has casualties and cost.

That’s why I need real followers. I don’t need Twitter® or Instagram® followers or Facebook® friends. I’m looking for genuine disciples. I’m looking for friends who won’t run out on Me even when hell breaks loose against you. That’s why I’ve never been very excited just to get a big audience. If you don’t believe me, ask those 5,000-plus folks I fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish and who wanted a sardine sandwich Messiah (John 6:1-29). When I wouldn’t be their kind of Messiah, these “followers” flaked out on Me (John 6:41-71). My audience dropped to way below 5,000 pretty quickly!

Paul understood. He knew My disciples were under attack. He had smelled the breath of hell’s fury in the form of religious haters and government lackeys. He had lost people he loved to hell’s fury, people into whom he had poured his heart, his hopes, and his time. He also knew faithful friends who were so committed to My cause and his mission that they voluntarily shared his imprisonments and hardships. Paul knew the difference between an audience and an army! His army was willing to pay the price to prepare for the battle, to stand alongside him in the battle, and to give their lives with him in battle if it was required.

Why? Why would they pay such a high price? Why would they take such risks to share Paul’s worst moments? Simple. They were called to be part of the army. They never considered settling for being like internet followers or faux friends to Paul. They enlisted in My army to fight a war against hell, sin, death, and Satan.

Read Paul’s words in the verses below. He wrote them to the brothers and sisters in Ephesus along with other believers throughout Asia Minor. He was preparing them for spiritual warfare. More specifically, he was telling them to prepare themselves for the warfare that had already begun.

They lived in the place where religions collided in the Roman Empire. Wealth and power came with many of those religions. Superstition, black magic, and immoral acts went with others. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon. These storms would crescendo into the emperor cult in Asia Minor, a pseudo-religion that thrived in the same cities that received Paul’s words about spiritual warfare. This cult with its political power would propel the persecution of My followers. The war between hell and My disciples would lead to My Revelation to John, the vision he received and recorded in the book of Revelation. Paul wasn’t looking for just an audience; he was trying to awaken an army.

Today, as you read Paul’s words, please know that the Holy Spirit is working to use these same words of Paul to awaken an army in your day. I don’t want just more audience; I’m looking for a committed army. I don’t need more Twitter® or Instagram® followers; I AM looking for genuine disciples. I don’t need Facebook® friends; I AM looking for real friends. I AM looking for friends who do what I ask them to do. I am looking for genuine disciples who will follow even when they don’t understand all I am doing in the world(John 15:9-15; 1 Corinthians 13:9-12)!

There’s a war going on right where you live. Follow Me. But don’t come unprepared. Pick up the weapons and the armor that win the war and be ready — because there’s a war going on right where you live.

Verses to Live

Paul’s words about those who see you as their enemies are powerfully descriptive and one hundred percent true. You don’t need to be afraid, though; you just need to be prepared for the battle. Your ultimate victory is assured when you are committed to Me.

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand — truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed. And please pray for me. Pray that truth will be with me before I even open my mouth. Ask the Spirit to guide me while I boldly defend the mystery that is the good news — for which I am an ambassador in chains — so pray that I can bravely pronounce the truth, as I should do.
(Ephesians 6:10-20)

Response in Prayer

Father, forgive me for not praying with greater urgency. I forget the spiritual warfare in my environment, at my doorstep, and over the devotion of my heart. Please bless all who lovingly and courageously share Your truth in dangerous places. Give them supernatural spiritual and physical strength to stand firm in their faith. Deliver them from harm’s way. Forgive us for complaining about life in “church land” because things sometimes aren’t being done in ways that please us. Please forgive us. Please awaken us. Move us from being satisfied as just an audience. Move us to be a passionate and prepared part of Your army on a mission. I ask for my own courage and strength in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I know that for me this has convicted me to look deeper within myself and change what I need to change and seek Him more in my life.  What about you?  Care to join me?