Sunday, February 28, 2016

You Got To Be Ready

Last Thursday sitting at my desk, one of my lovely team mates Lauren came over with a birthday card for me to sign. I signed it and told her, next time she can sign my name.  I work from home four days a week and in the office one day a week so I miss many office events. My comment sparked a song to jump in my spirit called, Sign Me Up, and it goes like this:

Sign me up for the Christian Jubilee
Write my name on the role
I’ve been changed since the Lord has lifted me
I wanna be, ready when Jesus comes
Cause when he comes
The trumpet will surely sound
When he comes
The saints in Christ shall rise
My heart is fixed
My mind is made up
I wanna be ready when Jesus comes.

At 6:45 am, this gave me a pep in my step, God's word does that to me.  Those of you who visit my blog or are friends with me on Facebook know that I live with a chronic illness and many days are not good days. This song is another reminder that no matter the storm, we want to go through it EXPECTING sunshine on the other side. We must have a made up mind that no matter what, the goal is Jesus work, letting him do his perfect will in and through us. No matter what, we wanna be ready when he comes. Every bible studying Christian, I will say it again, bible studying Christian knows that not everyone will be added to the Lambs book of Life. This is not a made up thing, this is God’s word.

Exodus 32:33 says this, And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of the book.

The above happened over a week ago. Today, a beautiful Saturday with the sun shining. I stepped out of my house around 8 am and as I call it, turned a few corners. With my music on, I started thinking about my life, the things I do and don't do. With that, God whispers so gently of His desire and will. Luke 26:10 in the NLT says this, If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things,, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. In all that we do in our living, there is an order in which we must follow and without that order, we are like the waves of the ocean.

This shouts directly at me. The finger is all up and in my forehead, right between the eyes. For me, I have not had a desire to write or do things that I know I must do. Honestly, I can say that writing has not been important enough when it should be at the top. We dishonor God when we do not do that which He has given us to do, disobedience. I allowed my attention to be in areas that are not serving the purpose. I won't say the devil made me do it.  No, most times it is our choice to not do the things that are intended for us to do and other times it is just the cares of life that prevent us at any given moment. Can you own it that you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing? I can and waving my hands.

Most times we run around doing so much that we fail to see the small things that we ignore. This won't do. We must attend to every detail. We must take notice of every action and every word. We cannot run ourselves into the ground, express exhaustion, and then complain about the things that we intentionally ignore, we must have a keen focus on every little detail in our lives. God has given to us a task and no matter how minute or extreme, we must be about the Fathers business, and in doing so, this is where He gives us the desires of our hearts.

My brothers and sisters, get focused. Get tunnel vision about the work you need to do. Tune into those things that you have ignored. Eliminate as much distraction as you can. Change up your daily routines so that you can accomplish one thing or more things in your day, week, and month. Say no to some things, you can't win if you are spreading yourself thin. You can't win if you say yes to everything, especially if saying yes takes you away from the goals God has placed in your heart. do you want to be ready when Jesus comes?  Do you want to hear Him say, well don thy good and faithful servant? I do and I am on the move.

Be Blessed

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You Were Created Just For It

We are well into the new year. We have made new strides, added new goals, and dumped the trash of things that no longer serve us. Yes, we are off and running.  Are you out of breath yet? Have you taken a pause wondering, what were you thinking? I am sure somewhere along the way, you have had a touch of doubt, frustration, and even aggravation. Don't you dare give up. You got this.

I have to tell myself this at every turn of my day. Living with a chronic illness is exhausting. Striving to make a difference everyday is even more exhausting when you do not feel your best. Though I do not look like what I walk with, I keep bouncing. I often hear God whisper, do not grow weary in well doing. I have to pause and offer up praise because it is a reminder that He knows. God knows exactly how we feel even if we don't verbally express it. He knows. And with that, we must rise up to the occasion, square our shoulders and lift our heads up high, because we got it.

This reminds me of when I was around 13 years old singing in the choir. I did not want to sing that day, but because I was taught when you make a commitment you keep it as best you can, I had to be present. So in that choir stand I sang, Revive Us Again.  All was going well until I saw my daddy walk through the door. You see everyone who walks in when you are in the choir. My head raised higher, my sway from left to right got a little more pep, and I sang my heart out. Why, because my daddy was there. I was singing so proud, I missed the chorus, Revive Us Again I bellowed, alone. Though our director never missed a beat, neither did I. I followed the beat and bounced like a rubber ball right back in proper crescendo. I was embarrassed as all get out, and if my dress was an invisible cape I would have raised that hem over my head and vanished into thin air.  To my joy, no one mentioned it, not even my daddy.

We all will have a bad day or week. Just don't lay in it. Don't give up on your dreams. Don't let anyone or anything distract you from reaching your intended mark. It is okay to feel the heat. Fire is called fire for a reason. God said, the fire will not consume you. Oh, you will come out smelling like smoke, but when the smoke settles you will be like polished brass. Sparkly!

Ephesians 6:13 NLT says, Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

My brothers and sisters. Read and meditate on Ephesians chapter 6. Start and end your day with prayer. This is your power source and you must stay connected. Yes, you will want to give up, you won't. You will be exhausted and want to hide, you won't. You got this. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, you must do it. You must keep doing it until you see the result you envisioned when you started. No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed, and show up for your greatness. You were created just for it.

Be Blessed

Sunday, February 14, 2016

First Love

Everywhere you turn, there is the evidence that love is in the air. One day out of 365 days, many are running around trying to find that perfect gift that says, I love you.

In the late 1920’s, 7 gangsters were killed in Chicago, Illinois. The day was, February 14, 1929 to be exact. This day was called, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre now called the sweetest day of the year.

When I was much younger, I loved this time of the year. I too was one of many who ran around trying to find that perfect gift for those that I wanted to show love. As I have gotten older and have come to learn in greater awareness what love is and what it is not, I no longer feel compelled to make my mark with a particular trinket or treat. While I was going about my tasks today, I watched people and a thought came to me. On Valentine’s Day, so much love will be shown and in the next day, hatred, anger, and abuse will be the morning cup. A slap in the face, a punch, a cross word will replace the, I love you. For many this is a reality. I cannot help but wonder, can one truly love while abusing another out of that same love? I don’t believe so.

As I get older, things that used to excite me no longer hold place in my mind as I see and hear of so many tragedies. Though this day was turned into a day of love and affection, I think of the homeless, the children without their mothers and fathers, the many seniors in retirement homes forgotten and alone. I pray for true change and true love for all regardless of race or religion.  I am broken hearted for the things that breaks the heart of God.
Psalm 86:15 NLT says this, But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

God himself came down to this earth in the form of man and this same man, Jesus, died on the cross and rose again, this is true love. Though I am all for love in its true fashion, I am more attuned to the love of the Father. God’s love is never ending and never changing. It is not kind on one day and evil on another. No, the love of the Father is still the purest love of all and nothing nor anyone can ever compare to that love.

My brothers and sisters, let us not forget the greatest love of all. Let us not get consumed by the commercialism of what love is and remember what it is not. Let us not forget that there are many who will not experience this day with joy, but with dread and heart break. Do you know someone who could use your visit, smile, and warm hug? We must be consistent in showing love every day. We must be forever grateful and humbled that the greatest love of all is, the love of Jesus Christ. Agape Love.

Be Blessed

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Swing That Thing

I have walked through some very dark times personally and emotionally.  Millions suffer from depression and there are several degrees of depression. There is no one set experience. Families have been impacted by suicide, murder of a loved one, an addictions as a result of depression not being addressed. Many have gotten comfortable wearing that mask because this is how they have conditioned themselves to survive.  Though I still suffer from time to time, I am much more aware of the signs and have a better handle on swinging that thing back over to a position of peace. No anxiety. No conversations about how bad this or that is. No pealing scabs from the many scars for them to bleed all over again, taking longer to heal. Can you relate?

As I get older and lean towards that senior discount, I have learned many valuable lessons that have helped me grow, heal, and rejoice while in the storm of depression. And in my growing, I have had the pleasure of ministering to those who desire to have a conversation and share dialogue.  Remember, our experiences as God’s children are not about us. I am not so hard on myself or others. I have learned that the best thing to do when I see others going through something that I have experienced is to let them go through it, just as I had to. Honestly, I just want to shake the daylights out of some folks screaming, NOOOOOO! DON’T DO THAT! Run for the hills and don’t look back. Sound the sirens. Bang the gong. But nope, I  have to let people experience things even though I know it may cause great pain and hardship. Some things will have a minor impact and some will have a life-long impact. Our duty is to love them and pray for them. Sometimes it is best to say nothing at all. We also must know when to speak up especially if we see and know if a person is causing harm to themselves or others, and this takes discernment.

You may be reading this wondering why I am writing about depression.  The reason is, depression is real, and many who suffer with depression are ignored because they either don’t understand its impact or they truly don’t care about the person to begin with. We are in the second month of 2016, I want to encourage you and myself to be more present in the lives of others.  Love is other centered. Love is not selfish. With all of the horrible events that have taken place around the world, we must be more willing do just what we are told to do and that is, love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Sometimes we just need to make the phone call, stop by for a quick minute, send a beautiful card or even flowers. I love me some yellow roses.  I will even accept some chocolate peanut clusters. Laughing! Do you suffer with depression? Have you sought help or are you just walking around smelling like smoke, being burned up by the fires of life? Where is your faith? Pick it up.

1 Peter 1:7 NLT says this, These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Let me say this. As I mentioned there are many degrees of depression and with that, you must know whether or not you need professional help. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. Don’t we go to a doctor for check-ups or something specific? Mental health is no different. It is only the foolish one who refuses to seek the help needed to assist them in a crisis they have had no ability to handle on their own. So, I encourage you to seek medical attention if you find yourself in a dark place that you have had no ability to climb out of.  The brain is a living organ with natural chemicals that can become imbalanced. Do not take a serious issue lightly, it can save your life or the life of another.

My brothers and sisters, swing that thing that has you by the neck like a vice grip. Swing that thing that has peeled off layers from your heart. Swing that thing that has not only hurt you and others by your actions.  None of God’s children will ever escape the journey God has laid out.  Though God does not cause pain, He will use the pain for His purpose. What do I mean by swing that thing?   It simply means that you have to make an active decision to not rest in the pain and darkness of depression. Though you may need to take some time to rest, I encourage you to add prayer or increase your prayer life while you are resting.

Remember, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, we wrestle with evil spirits that walk and fly around us. Those spirits sit at our dinner tables, in our cars, in our living rooms, and they even lay down with us at night. You have to replace those dark thoughts with light thoughts. You have to watch what you read, view on television, and even the music you listen to because the enemy can draw us in by our thoughts and ideas. Information is information, but we have to discern what information we will allow to penetrate our hearts, minds and souls. Swing that thing. Because we are Gods children, we will be tested the more.  So take action and swing that thing like the batter at the ready. Out of the park, home run. WINNER! Are you ready to win strong? Swing that thing and lay aside the weight.

Be Blessed