Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I'm Gonna Let It Shine

Hey Guys!

I have an interesting word to share that God has been showing me for a little while in little glimpses. It finally all came together yesterday, and I wanted to share it with you!

I recently had two incredible experiences that are near and dear to my heart. Not too long ago during the night, I had woken up from a deep, peaceful sleep. I had been spending a lot of time with God and enjoying the time in his presence. I had been listening to worship music on the radio and taking in all the beauty of it. Well, this night when I had awoken, it wasn't because I was restless. I heard a noise around me. I opened my eyes and waited for my vision to clear. All around me I heard singing, and it wasn't just any singing! I hear the words from Chris Tomlin's song, Good Father! Sweet, beautiful voices were singing ".....the tender whisper of love in the dead of night." I called out "Hello?" and the singing stopped. I looked all around the house, but could not find any source of the music. No stereo was playing, and everyone else in the house was still asleep. Then just this last week, I had the strangest dream about Michael W. Smith. He was there in my dream, and he was singing. However, when he started singing, the Holy Spirit was there, and it's like it was singing over me while I slept. Both of these experiences were truly special for me because I knew that God was watching over me while I slept. It reminded me of a passage that I read just a couple weeks ago from Psalms. "By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me." Now, as I was thinking about this last dream I had, God started reminding me of all these amazing Christian songs that talk about the stars: A Million Lights by Michael W Smith, Stars by Skillet, The Promise- by Plus One... I couldn't figure out why He was placing these songs on my heart so strongly. Then God reminded me that my name means "a star." I was getting all of these little puzzle pieces from God but couldn't quite put them together or figure out what He was trying to show me with this. So I began to look up scriptures about the stars, and found that there were numerous scriptures!

Psalm 147:4- He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 

Psalm 136:7- He made the great lights; His love endures forever.

Psalm 148:3- Praise Him. Sun and moon. Praise Him. All you shining stars. 

Psalm 19:1- The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Job 22:12- Is not God in the heights of Heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars!

So I asked God again, "God, why are you showing me all these things? Even though they are seemingly connected, what is it you are trying to tell me? Now, yesterday I was watching a video on YouTube called What You Lost Will Be Found by Dephne Madyara. I decided to watch this because of an experience that my mom and I had been going through over the last ten plus years with my family over an inheritance my dad had left us. I was listening to Dephne talk about the donkeys of Kish and how what was lost will be returned to you just like the donkeys were returned to Kish. I kept thinking about how this whole experience was hard on my mom and I, and how my family was hurting us by doing this. Then, BOOM! The last puzzle piece fell into place! In the middle of this video, God showed me this little bitty clip from one of Tyler Perry's stage productions. In this clip, this woman was dancing across the stage singing "What's done in the dark comes to the light." As I put all the pieces together of what God was telling me, it all made sense! 

Guys, the world has taught us to fear darkness...that darkness is bad. If you look this up online, you will find a word for it: Nyctophobia. When you look on Wikipedia, it defines Nyctophobia as a phobia characterized by a severe fear of the dark. It is triggered by the brain's disfigured perception of what would, or could, happen in a dark environment. I can relate to this because I have a fear of going outside at night after several bad experiences. Shady things tend to happen after the sun goes down. So, why do you suppose people fear the dark? What is it about the dark that makes people pull out their flashlights or take someone with them to be safe? The answer is simple: Because we can't see clearly in the dark and sometimes walk completely blind. It's not the dark that scares us. We simply fear what we cannot see. This is the same in our daily lives. We all too often refer to the trials we go through as "dark times." We give those trials a name, "darkness," and then we turn it into our own personal prison cell. We give power to something that has no power over us. It's like our own "Spiritual Nyctophobia." I was listening to a clip from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church, and he said that he used to give credit to the devil for things that God was trying to do in his life, and he would try to pray them away. There are things that we will experience in this life that are the works of evil. No one is immune from them, BUT we can bow down to it and give into the fear, OR we can call it out and we can say "I see you for what you are! You are trying to mess with my life, but I am a child of God! As long as I have God, you will never be in control." 

A great example of this is Paul and Silas's journey. 

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.
Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into a literal prison! However, instead of going into a place of fear and despair over their situation, they sat in the jail cell, giving praise to God and worshiping him! Then at midnight, in the literal and spiritual darkest hour, God set them free from their prison! 
So guys, why do you think I have been telling you all these things! I started out talking about the stars and songs, and my experiences, but what does that have to do with all of this? 
This right here is why!
John 1:5- The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it!
John 8:12- Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. 
Guys, God gives us all of these physical and spiritual examples to show us that we don't need to be afraid. We can stand upon the word of God, but God also shows us the moon and the stars... The moon and the stars are there to show us that even though it may look like we are surrounded by darkness, we will be lights in the darkness and it will not overcome us! My name means "a star" and it reminds me that if God an hold all these stars in place, he certainly has a hold on me! Those experiences I had during the night show us that God sings over us in the night to comfort us, protect us, and let us know we are not alone! We don't have to be afraid! 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Violence or Passion

How many of you have heard this expression: "the violence of my affections"... This morning when I really thought about that statement, it didn't sit well within my heart. I know what it means in the context of this statement, however, when you look at both definitions of the word violence, it's not good either way. The first definition: behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. The second definition: strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force. Both of these definitions imply that the word has negative connotations to it. After thinking about this, my first thought was: that's not how God's love is! Most people think of fear, brutality, and death when violence is mentioned. 1 John 4:18 says this: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out all fear." When you look at the Bible's definition of love, you can see the clear differences. For example, you can see in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that it describes love as "not easily angered." When you go down to verse 7, it says that "love always protects..." whereas the word violence insinuates the opposite: full of anger and danger. Now, I want you all to think about this: there is another word that describes depth and intensity of emotion. Can anyone guess what that is?

Passion. Most people when they think of the word passion, they think of romance or someone who is very enthusiastic about their job, hobbies, etc. There really isn't any negative connotations to this word, and I will tell you why. Here are the two definitions of passion. The first is: strong and barely controllable emotion. The second is: the suffering and death of Jesus. Think about that! I want you to think about what that really means. To one who doesn't understand why Jesus died in the cross for our sins, they would look at that second definition and say that it has so many negative connotations. "Jesus died, so how is that a good thing?" I will tell you why! Because Jesus endured through the VIOLENCE and death to save us from the same eternal suffering! It was one horrible moment in time for Him that would save us all from an eternal suffering of that same magnitude! John 15:13 says that there is NO GREATER love than to lay down one's life for a friend.

So HERE is the difference between these two words: though both entail suffering, VIOLENCE IS death! It is in the present and it seeks to steal, kill, and destroy! PASSION WAS the death that brought us EVERLASTING LIFE! John3:16- "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Word of the Day: There's A Lesson To Be Learned From....Your Hair?

That's right! I said it! There's a lesson to be learned from your hair! Luke 12:7 says that the very hairs on our head are numbered. There are some very interesting facts about hair that not everyone knows. Did you know that the hair on your head is made up of dead cells? You wouldn't think so, but it's true. All the hair on the human body is made of up dead cells. God, in his infinite wisdom, used those dead cells for a purpose. For example, the hair on a person's head is used to help keep a person warm since body escapes from the head. Eyelashes are used to keep dust and other particles out of a person's eyes. Now bear with me here, because I have a point!

A person really can learn a lot about their spiritual walk from their hair. Don't laugh because it's true! Every person in the body of Christ has dealt with issues of sin since they were born. Psalm 51:5 tells us that were were born into iniquity. So it's inevitable that sin and death become part of our lives. As we grow and get older, we make decisions that aren't always beneficial to ourselves or the people around us. Most of the time we end up saying "Why did I do that?" or "I am seriously gonna regret this!" I have done this before myself, but there is good news!

How many of you like your hair? How many of you think that you have a beautiful head of hair? Well, God is very wise and chose to take something that should be bad and use it for something beautiful! Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." God can take all of the bad stuff we do and make something beautiful out of it, and here's why! There are tiny little blood vessels at the base of each hair follicle. It's only when the hair breaks through the skin that the hair dies. The good news is that even though we sin on a daily basis, we are covered by the blood of Jesus! Hebrews 9:13-14 says "For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

So the next time you look in the mirror and see your hair, whether you are having a bad hair day or your hair is looking great, just remember that God can use the "dead cells" we produce for something beautiful!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Least of These

How many of you, in your walk with God, have felt like you haven't made a difference? Have you ever felt like you are the insignificant one? Do you sometimes feel you don't have what it takes to make a difference?

All too often, believers in God feel that their help has gone unnoticed or that they haven't been of help to anyone. They often feel like the "least of these."

How many of you know who Gideon is? Let me tell you a little something about Gideon. Israel was under oppression by the Midianites. When God asked for Gideon to help deliver Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, Gideon told him that his clan was the weakest, and he was the lowest one in his family.

How many of you know who David is? The Lord sent Samuel to anoint a new king for Israel. He sent him to the house of Jesse of Bethlehem. When Samuel arrived, he saw Eliab, a tall and strong man, but God told him not to take his appearance into consideration. So Jesse continued to bring out his finest sons and presented them to Samuel, but God continued to reject them. When Samuel asked Jesse if he had any other sons, Jesse said that his other son was out tending the sheep. Jesse hadn't even taken his youngest son into consideration.

So what happened with Gideon and David? Well, Gideon recruited 32,000 men to help him fight the Midianites but God sent away most of the men, leaving Gideon with only 300 men to fight the Midianites. With God's help and instruction, Gideon and those 300 men defeated the Midianites! David was anointed and the Spirit of the Lord stayed with him. David went on to prove his true strength and worth by defeating Goliath with just a sling and 3 small stones.

If you take a look at both of these men, they were considered the least of these. Gideon's clan was the weakest and he was the least in his family. Jesse didn't even present David to Samuel when Samuel was looking for the future king. Yet both of these men did great things in God! God used these men in mighty ways.

What people don't realize is that God had already equipped both of these men for the tasks ahead of them. "Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to Him..." -Hebrews 13:20-21. God equips his people for the work that lies ahead of them, but sometimes we fail to realize that we have everything we already need. When the Lord asked Gideon to save Israel from the Midianites, the first thing he said was "Go in the strength you have..." (Judges 6:14). A friend of mine talked last week about a word like this. He quoted Numbers 13:30 which says, "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we are more than able to do so.'" I agree with what my friend said, that "sometimes we feel like a drop in a bucket, but it only takes one drop to create a ripple effect." We may only be one person, but all it takes is one person doing the will of God to do great things!

You may forget sometimes who God has called you to be, but don't worry! He will always be there to remind you! "So I will always remind you of these things even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have." -2 Peter 1:12

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Peter, The Waves, The Sirens, and The Truth

Another thought that has been on my mind the last few days that I want to talk about....The story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus is very commonly used. Most people know it well. Now, the one thing about this story that is focused on is why Peter looked at the waves and away from Jesus. Fear... Fear caused Peter to look away from Jesus, and he began to sink. BUT if you think about it for a moment, those waves represent so much more than fear... and fear is not the only reason why people look at the waves. Those waves represent the world and everything that we struggle with. Ephesians 6:12 says "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Temptation, lies, etc., all have a way of stealing our attention. And it would be so easy to give in to them because it's what the world does. Every single day, we battle against a world dead set on making us conform, which is what the bible warns us against in Romans 12:2. "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." A good example that I can give you comes from this book that I read recently called The Siren. Most of you know what sirens are. These people are out on the water in a boat, and they hear this beautiful singing. It calls to them, and they have to get to it no matter what. All these people go up to the main deck and begin to throw themselves overboard. Only when they are in the water, drowning, do they realize where they are and what they have done. They fight and fight to save themselves but they can't. They all drown. Those waves, the sin, temptation, lies... they all come in the form of a siren because if we knew their real purpose or intention, and the consequences, we wouldn't have any part of it. The part where all of this gets really difficult is when we know what we face... we don't know what form it will take, but we know that it's out there waiting for us. When Peter walked out on the water toward Jesus, he didn't know what to expect, but he stepped out of the boat anyway. When we put ourselves in Peter's position, we realize that we are walking on those waves everyday toward Jesus. We don't just face fear, but sin, temptation, lies, conformity... all of it. And to be honest, sometimes it is so hard to keep our focus on Jesus because we are human. We stumble, we fall, we make mistakes. While being human isn't an excuse for us to sin or give into sin, it does happen. Those waves are right there beside us and behind us, and they can crash down in front of us trying to block our path. It's impossible to NOT see the waves, but whether or not we choose to turn our heads toward them is another story.
BUT, here's the thing!!! A friend of mine recently talked about these two verses, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about them. There is a solution. The reason why I am talking about all this is because of an experience I had today. I was presented with a choice. I could have taken the wrong path and given into temptation. And, I must confess that it was tempting. I was at odds with myself because part of me wanted to, and the other part of me knew that it wasn't a good idea. That's when this first verse popped into my mind. James 4:7 says "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." There is a reason why Jesus wanted Peter to keep his eyes on Him. The reason is that there is the world, and there is God and Jesus. There's no other place for us to look. If we aren't looking at God and Jesus, we are looking at the world, and the world offers us no solutions! When we submit ourselves to God, we submit ourselves to the truth and His will. God's will for us is perfect. He protects us from evil and harm. AND not only that but, John 8:31-32 says, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." The waves and the things of this world come in the form of a lie! Satan wants to draw you in, and he is willing to deceive you at any extent to make you stumble. They don't call him the father of lies for nothing. However, when you submit to God and stay in his word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free! Satan will not be able to stick around Boom!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Word of the Day- All My Single (Not Really Single, Secretly Married) Ladies! :)

Attention all my single ladies!! I know that many of us want to be wonderful wives someday! How many of you have prayed for God to prepare you for your future husband? I have prayed this many times, because it is my desire to be the best wife that I can be someday. Well, what if I told you that you can prepare yourself to be an amazing wife by learning with the husband that you already have? Ephesians 5:22 instructs wives to submit to their husbands. What if I told you that you are already married? Lol :) Feel free to check out your marriage license if you don't believe me! Here is my own personal copy: Isaiah 54:5- "For you maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is His name- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all earth." 

Here's the thing though... Most people believe that they are emotionally and physically ready to say "I do," but find that they aren't spiritually ready. It takes more than two people for a marriage to work. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says "A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (NLT) 

Here are some good tips that us single ladies can use with our current husband ;)

1.) Good communication with your husband is a must! (Matthew 6:6- But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.)

2.) Make sure that you always spend quality time with your husband! (Matthew 6:33- But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.)

3.) Always have faith in your husband- that He will always be there for you, love you, and take care of you! (Hebrews 11:6-  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.)

Now we all are gonna have our days where it becomes difficult! I mean let's face it: no relationship is perfect! God's love for us is perfect though! A great way for us to start each day is by submitting the day to God when you first wake up in the morning :) Ask God what His will is for your day. He will never steer you wrong! Just take this marriage one day at a time! Drawing closer to God and giving each day to Him will be so fulfilling! It will prepare you spiritually, and you will find that you are already in the most wonderful, romantic, joyful relationship ever!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Word of the Day- Let Go and Let God

Luke 22:42- "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

Jesus held onto hope that there was another way to save everyone. Surely, no one would want to do what he did. But Jesus left the choice up to God. Jesus came to God and basically asked him if there was another way to save mankind, yet he did not impose his will.

How many of you hold onto things when you really should let go? Jesus held onto hope, but he still chose to follow the will of God. Just imagine if Jesus held onto the fear of pain and death so much so that he decided not to die on the cross for us. Where would we be now? It's so easy to hold onto things that feel or seem better to us. For  widows who lost their spouse, they may be holding onto their anger towards God for taking their loved one. For any lonely person out there, it could be holding onto someone, or the hope of someone, that God never intended them to be with. For any driven and ambitious person, they may hold onto dreams and goals that were never a part of God's will. While these things seem great to us, and we question God why we can't have them, we never question why God doesn't want these things for us. When God said that he had "plans to prosper and not harm you," that is his promise to give you the best that he has to offer you, and that which is best for you. Because God never breaks his word, it means that he may not want you to "be with that guy" or "sing in that band" or "remain in that state of grief." What makes all of this difficult on us is that God gave us free will. God is a gentleman, and he will never force something on you that you don't want. However, when you say that you want God's will but still have an iron grip on what you want, you are tying God's hands. God can't move in your life when you don't give him the option to remove what you don't need or what may hurt you. I don't know if any of you, when you were in junior high, had to go through the classes about the consequences of drinking, but I did. When the officer came in to talk to us, we of course covered all the consequences of drinking and driving. The officer wanted us to actually have a visual understanding what of it was like for a drunk person, so we all had to try on the beer goggles. Now, most of us were just getting a kick out of trying to walk with the goggles on. Some of us veered so far off the straight line that we were running into desks or each other. This is exactly what we are like when we hold onto something too tight. We become so "drunk" on our wants, desires, and/or emotions that we start veering off the path that God wants us to walk down, and we start running into things that hurt us, or we run into other people that are wandering around just as aimlessly. It all comes down to trust! We love God, yet for some reason, we still have a hard time trusting that he knows what is best for us. The thing about love though is that "it always protects (God), always trusts (us)..." (1 Cor. 13:7)

So today, let go and let God! God has wonderful things in store for you!