Thursday, January 31, 2019

I feel free

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
How are you feeling today? What kind of head space have you been in lately? I ask, because I'm just wondering if anybody feels like me -- free like me. Free as an eagle. Free as can be. That's right, out with doing business the old stale way and in with a fresh new operation. It's a shifting happening in the atmosphere of Sharon's life and I'm moving on to the big and awesome things God has for me. What  do you say for yourself? What are you speaking over your life? What it is for you? 

For me, I am no longer afraid to go out in the deep end. I am no longer afraid to fly higher, I am no longer concerned about what I have or do not have, and I am no longer concerned about what anybody thinks or says. Who the heck cares anymore? I don't. Because God tells me he doesn't give me a spirit of fear or timidity (2 Timothy 1:7), but He gives me a spirit of love, confidence, power, self-control, and joy. And I'm not just saying that -- I'm making it a point to live it. 

What I'm saying is that I am just at a place in my life where I'm trusting God to do what He does. And my faith is going 100 miles per hour. Yes, I'm flying high right now, because I trust and know that God is making things happen. And guess what? I don't have to convince anybody of anything anymore. They either understand or they don't, it's no big deal. 

That's where I am today and freedom feels good on me. Yes it does. 
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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Open your mouth

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
I don't believe God makes a great leader who can't relate to people. Do you? And I don't believe God uses people who act as though they haven't been through anything. You may ask, well how about the leaders who have compassion for people? Well, compassion is a great thing and all great leaders must possess it, however, what was the impetus for that compassion? Why does the leader have it? Was he or she just born with it and can just relate to people, because she or he is a nice person? No, that's an incomplete story with an undisclosed testimony. Without opening our mouths about our walk and the things we've been through, such leadership is elusive, distant, nontransparent and limited. There will be little connection with people in that case. That's why we have to open our mouths and tell people our stories. 

In other words, if we're going to be a great leader of influence, we have to be willing to open up about what we've been through. We don't have to tell people everything. There are some things best kept between us and God. There's nothing wrong with that. Yet, we have to be willing to share our struggles with people. And I'm not talking about walking around sad, mad, and living in sorrow. No, there's no need to do that, because God brought us through that. And for the record, if you have been reading my blog and listening to my podcast, you're familiar with my story of depression a few years back, mainly at night. My depression was from losing my twin boys 5 months in utero, a failed relationship, missed opportunities, and feeling alone even among people. I don't say those things to get you sad or to feel sorry for me, because I'm fine now. I'm blessed and highly favored. Plus, some people have been through much worse than I have. I just want people to know that anyone can get through anything with God. Yes, I'm telling you. Isaiah 61:7 says, "Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours."

All I'm saying is that we have to open our mouths more, because it really helps people to know they're not alone and God will help them get through just like He helped us. That's all I'm saying. I hope my testimony has helped you in some way.  
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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The land of promise

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." That's in Genesis 12:1-3 and that's what God told Abram (who later became Abraham). 

Are you familiar with the story? Abraham leaves everything behind. His family, friends, belongings -- everything. And he chose to follow what God was telling him to do and where God was telling Him to go, which was to a land of promise, a land of better, a land of opportunity, the land of Canaan. But get this: Abraham didn't know exactly how to get there. He just knew what direction to go and he went by faith. He didn't have all the answers. He was just going on the promise of what God told him, because he knew God would be with him. And guess what happened? God made Abraham's name great; God made Abraham a man of great wealth, a leader of kings, the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5), and we are still talking about him today. 

Would you do what Abraham did? I'm sure it was not easy leaving all of that. Would you trust God like he did or would you stay with what's familiar -- what's easy -- what's comfortable? It's easy to say for all of us, right? But it's hard to do. Many of us will come to a point where we're going to have to make such a decision. It may not be a literal move, but then again it may be. In whatever move it will be, it will be a move away from certain people, certain places, and certain things that we must let go of in order to get to a better place -- to a better land -- to a better opportunity. Only you know what that is for yourself and get this: if God told you to do it, He is going to honor what He said. Just like He did in Genesis 12:1-3. Those verses didn't just apply to Abraham, they apply to us today. Yes, so we'll get to the land that God promised us -- to the opportunity He promised us. Yes we will. The question is: what, where, when, why, and who we are willing to leave behind? That's it.
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Monday, January 28, 2019

Changing seasons

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow blog post below.
I love walking my dog and walking for fitness when it's fairly cold outside. And when the sun is out that's an extra bonus that makes me want to stay out there forever. Ideal weather is anywhere between 30-70 degrees. Who's with me on that? In other words, late-Fall, Winter, and early-Spring are my types of seasons. They get me in a good mood. In those types of weather, I feel like I can conquer the world.

Now, summer, well that's a totally different story. Summer is not my season and I almost dread thinking about the 90-plus degree heat. I love the sun, but I can already feel the discomfort of the intense heat. It's not a good feeling, because the heat makes me uncomfortable. I dislike being out in that type of weather for any length of time, but since I have to walk my dog and walk for fitness, I get out there in the early morning just to get it over with. Yet, I still choose to maintain a positive attitude in the process, because I refuse to let the changing seasons stop my flow. And like the cold weather, I feel like I can conquer the world. Yes.

Genesis 8:22 says, "While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” And Galatians 6:9 says, "And let us not grow weary of doing well, for in due season we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up."  There's no way around it, we have to deal with the changing seasons, because they will come and go. How we feel about them is really irrelevant, we still have to roll with them and perform at our best even when we feel uncomfortable. So although I love the winter, I have to deal with the summer and I can be blessed regardless, right? Sure we can. We can't let discomfort or irritation stop us and we have to realize that everything will not be peachy, right? So, I'm just going to have to tough it out in the summer even though that is not the season I love.

So no matter the season -- good or bad -- hot or cold -- up or down, when we continue on we will reach that mountain peak. We just can't stop, so don't let anything stop you. Keep going, because we never know when God has the season for us. 
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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Blessed abundantly

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."

Those verses come from 1 Corinthians 9:8-11 and they are a reminder that God has you on His mind. And they are a reminder that although things may not be easy right now, God still remembers what He desires for your life. Do you believe it? Believe it, because He has abundant blessings in store for you, because He wants you to be a blessing to others.

And remember this: scriptures are not just biblical stories and pie-in-the-sky anecdotes that we just read and recite for no reason. Scriptures are real breathing words that mean something and we must inhale and practice them over our lives. We either look at them as organisms that move in our lives or some abstract thing that doesn't really work. I choose the former, because I have seen the scriptures work too many times. 
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Saturday, January 26, 2019

"Where are You?": When Misfits Become Kings: Book Study Part 3 (weekly podcast episode #30)

Follow along with blog post/transcript below.

"But God know. Before each of our births. He had our purpose and our path already mapped out. In fact, before the beginning of the world itself God not only had us in mind, He created a place where we could each individually walk, talk, and get acquainted with Him." That quote comes from page 16 in our on-going book study, When Misfits Become Kings: Book Study Part 3, chapter title, Where Are You?

It's about being in tune with God and staying with Him, not getting distracted by the things that will take us away from Him. And yes I have made those mistakes several times in my life and I hope not to ever repeat them. It's not a good place to be. And I can laugh now, but there was one time when I could not laugh and did not laugh, because nothing was funny. But I laugh now as a place of comfort and a place of deliverance. Casto highlights Adam and Eve, who were swayed by evil -- by the devil, when they took their eyes off of God and thus, off of the vision and goals God had for them. In Genesis 3, they were so off track that they were forever banished from the Garden of Eden, which was a shame, because they had it made. They were in the presence of the Lord continuously. Imagine that. "Imagine it, the simple act of strolling with a friend, the only sound between them the in-sync rhythm of their feel swishing through the grass. Their slow, steady, casual pace was in perfect harmony with the surrounding beauty. The rhythmic subtlety of their steps was comforting, peaceful, and perfect." (page 17). Then they let Satan in to ruin it all. How many of us have made that same mistake? Listen, I raise my hand high. Yet, the Lord was with them although He had to look for them. And He's with you and I, as well.

So some questions we need ask ourselves: Where are you today? Does He have to look for us? Are we in-sync with Him? Are we walking with Him or do we have to hide like Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3:8 when God asked, “Where are you?” 

Casto says on page 19, "Without breaking a sweat Satan got the first couple to question their identity by dangling before them the one thing they desired most. It is his best trick, for the devil always manages to dangle the shiniest apple over the deepest pit." And when the Lord has to continuously ask us, where we are, therein lies the problem that we are not where we're supposed to be, right? 'Where are you? The man [Adam] didn't know which way to turn after they had eaten the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:2). Just a few steps behind, Eve watched her husband change. He was once confident, but now he was a scared, helpless shell of the man he once was.' (page 20).

That's not a good feeling, is it? To find yourself out there and feel as though you disappointed God, because you make mistake after mistake? But take heart, God is a Redeemer (Job 19:25). He didn't leave Adam and Eve and He will not leave us either. The mistakes we made do not matter. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and guess what? He is right there with open arms for any of us. For instance, when God asked Adam and Eve what they did in Genesis 3:8-13, they admitted it, they came clean, and although they weren't in the place they once were with God, He didn't leave them. He still watched over them. "Much like young David, who was exiled by his family to the outer pasture, Adam and Eve had no one to turn to but each other" (page 22). 'Thankfully, God still watched. Taking pity on their naked condition, He slaughtered a lamb and clothed them in order that they would have protection and warmth against the world.' (page 23).

So, wherever you are right now, know this: God has not left you. You may be in the wilderness like David, Adam, Eve, and I once were, but God is taking care of you. As long as you know He is the Lord God and will call out to Him, he will clothe you and bless you too. That, I know. You are still His off-spring. You are still His child. And He will never leave you or forsake you. Believe and know that He is the Lord, and there is no other; besides Him, there is no God (Isaiah 54:5). Yes, you're going to be alright. Stay with the Lord, He's got you covered. Yes He does. 
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Redemption


Do you know there’s redemption in Jesus? Yes, that means that whatever you did or whatever was done to you, the Lord will bring you back. He’s the Redeemer and He still lives. Believe it. Job 19:25 says, "for I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth." 

He lives. And if you are in Christ, guess what? He lives in you and since He’s the redeemer, the slate of our lives has been made clean. So there’s nothing to worry about. The past, present and even the future for us is ok. Yes, God’s got us covered. Therefore, there’s no need to concern ourselves with anything. I refuse to do that, because it doesn’t help me or anybody else. I will simply focus on the positive and when I start thinking over my past pain, I know God is my redemption song. I will always know that. You know that for yourself too.
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Friday, January 25, 2019

It had to happen

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend about change. We were talking about how this was a season of transformation and shifting for us. And those transitions meant he had to do what he had to do for he and his family and I had to do what I had to do for myself and my family. It was nice to know I wasn't alone in saying goodbye to nonsense. It was nice to know I wasn't alone in saying "welcome, super-victory, it's nice to finally be able to experience you." 

As I said in yesterday's podcast episode, I'm not there yet. but I'm getting closer. How about you? Are you closer to your breakthrough victory? Isaiah 43:14-28 talks about God's promise of victory with verse 19 saying, "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." Did you hear that? God is about to do work! 

Listen, it's time to speak your next-level victory. It doesn't matter if certain people left, because they were supposed to leave. The reason I had to say goodbye to old faces, is because God is taking me to new places. Some people may have thought they said goodbye to me, but what they don't know is that it was all part of God's plan. Yes, it had to happen. They had to leave my life and I had to leave theirs. How it happened isn't important. I just know that God had to do some maneuvering, because everybody couldn't, wouldn't, and shouldn't fit into His plan for my life. I know that. So I say thank you Lord, thank you, because it had to happen. 
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

The promise is still the promise

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
You know, sometimes in life just when it seems things are looking up, you turn around and boom, a step backwards. Just when you were starting to see a change, a shift, some forward motion, things slow down, almost to a standstill. Then you start to second guess yourself and question your moves to the point where it almost makes you want to just stop and not move at all. And you just about say, 'I'm done with all of this.' 

I know, because I've been there and sometimes I go there now. Yes, sometimes when I look at my progress, I say, 'dag Lord, why aren't I making more progress? Why does it seem I'm hardly making any headway?' And before I say another word, I think about Isaiah 40:29-31, which says:
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

And those words, my dear friends, give me life that things will work out. As long as God's promise is still a yes, I'm good -- I'm reeeeeal good, because I can hold on to His promise, covenant, agreement, commitment, and vow He made to me. Yes, when I look around and look at what appears to be a step backwards, I realize I'm not going backwards at all. I'm actually moving forward and at just the right pace that the Lord would have me to go, because He knows exactly what He's doing and how He's doing it. And He knows that, because the promise is still the promise. I will stand on those things. 
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Strong despite it all

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.

Do you know it's not about how and where you started in life, it's about where you end up? Yes. Where do you want to go? You can get there and it doesn't matter what anybody says either. You can get there by the grace and strength that God gives you. So, if you're not feeling as strong as you like today, you will come through and become stronger despite it all.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Those words came from Paul when he was telling the Corinthians that although he was weak, he was really strong. He talked faith and it didn't matter what he was dealing with, he knew he was strong even in his weak moments. And he wanted to stay humble in that. We can get through the valley when we know from where us strength comes from too. And even though insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities may come, we can still remain strong despite it all.

Let Paul be inspiration to us that even when things are not going too hot, we can still remain optimistic, positive, and strong despite it all.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Religious fashion shows

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.

"Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. [And Jesus said the following:] “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.

Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’

Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty."

Those verses come from Matthew 23:1-12 and I have no more to add. 
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Monday, January 21, 2019

Praying smart

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
What types of prayers do you ask for? No, I'm not trying to get all up in your business. Ok ok, better questions would be, are you praying for the things God wants for you or are you praying for the things you want for yourself? In other words, how do you know that what you're asking for is what God wants for you? How do you know that what you're asking for is the best for you? What's your pattern of seeking and finding God's vision over your life? I'm just curious, because sometimes what we think is destiny for us, may not be. That's why we have to pray smart, right? 

1 John 5:13-21 talks about that and verse 14 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." Now, how do we ask for anything according to His will -- according to what He knows is best for us? Well, I'm finally starting to realize that reading the scriptures gives me revelation over my life. That helps tremendously, because the bible is a living breathing thing that brings life and clarity. The more it's read, the more knowledge and wisdom, which helps determine what's best for our lives. It's a way for God to speak to us and that helps to rely more on Him instead of man. It's about praying smart.
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Think well of yourself

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that we are as we think, so we have to think well of ourselves in order to be the best selves we can be. Don't let anyone convince you that you are not God's finest. Don't let anyone convince you that just because there was drama around your conception and how you came to be in the natural, that God doesn't have great and magnificent plans for your life. Think well of yourself, because you are somebody and the world is a better place because God made you, yes you. You were created on purpose for a great purpose. God was deliberate when He created you. That's right and Jeremiah 1:5 is the proof. It says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 

That means you are valuable, precious, and substantial to God and to people. Yes, that's right. Somebody loves seeing your face. So you -- we -- have a right to walk in a godly confidence, because we are God's off-spring who have a divine right to think well of ourselves. We are that special to Him.
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Saturday, January 19, 2019

"You Are Chosen, If You Choose": When Misfits Become Kings: Book Study Part 2 (weekly podcast episode #29)

Follow along with blog post/transcript below.

I once had a friend who used to say she didn't have a purpose. She would say she was taking each day as it came and the chips would fall where they may. She would often say, whatever will be, will be. I didn't agree with any of that, because I knew better and I know even better today. I wasn't swayed by such crazy talk. 

In Casto's book, When Misfits Become Kings, our book study continues in chapter 1. The chapter title is called, You Are Chosen, If You Choose. On page 1 he says, 
"The chosen are the ones history remembers--the men and women who God has used mightily and publicly. By contrast, those who are merely called tend to be the unnoticed, non-productive, second-rate citizens of the kingdom. Although such characterizations are far from the scripture's true meaning, the church has entertained this flawed comparison for generations. Most folks use this verse to rationalize their role in the kingdom, or their lack of one. They ten to disbelieve that God has a purposeful plan designed just for them. They go about their daily lives unaware of their full potential and are oblivious to their divine destiny. They simply shrug and shuffle through the day mumbling, "some are chosen...I'm just called."
Such was the case with my friend. She didn't want to dare think she had destiny and there was more to do in her life. Because you see, if she accepted her destiny, she would have to accept that she would have to work for it. Instead she lived in fear, because she had failed so many times before and she was afraid to try again. And like me, she justified all of that mumbo-jumbo -- all of that crazy thinking in her mind that she was doing the right thing. She convinced herself that all was well. I did the same thing, yes. That is why today I can spot that thinking -- that mindset from a mile away. 

The bottom line is that if we want to get what God has for us, we are going to have to work for it. There's no way around it. But, He promises us great and abundant things. However, we're going to have to get out of our comfort zones. That may mean being laughed at and ridiculed by family and so-called friends, but let me tell you, that if God has it for you, God will be there strengthening you all the way through. James 2:14 says that faith without works is dead, so we're going to have to stay with it and push through continuously. And Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. We will get what we want and do what God wants us to do when we truly believe that He has more for our lives and we're not just existing here. We do what we believe in our hearts. When we believe it, people will see it. And we know what God put in our heart, because our heart lives inside of us and our heart is always with us, right?

When I went through my depressed years -- when I would function in the daytime, but wallowed in my grief at night -- I also tried my best to fool myself too. I would procrastinate about doing the things I know I needed to do in order to get to the plans God had for my life. I wasn't consistent, because like my friend, I too, was walking around in fear -- talking the talk, but not walking the walk. I also let certain people around me convince me that I was simply called, and the others -- the ones who were doing big things, well...they were the really special ones, because they were chosen. But as Casto says in his book, this is not how God wants us to think. No.

Don't you know, that we are all called and we are all chosen to go forth and multiply? But listen, we have to choose to be chosen. We have to make a conscious effort that we're going to do what it is we have to do. God gives us free-will to do that. But we can do it. We can do it. That means we can reach people and help them in the way God would have us to do it. You have your way based on your life, and your testimony, and your experiences, and I have mine. We all have our individual walk with the Lord. But our life is not by accident. It is purposeful and when we walk in the anointing -- when we walk in the gifts that God has given us, that my friend, is referred to as being great. That is referred to as accepting the call and choosing to be used by the Lord.

Casto says, on page 14, "Everyone who has ever accomplished anything has suffered through the growing pains of anonymity. Your obscurity is your opportunity to develop your maturity – your greatness." So, no matter what appears to be going on in front of you, behind the scenes God is still working it out just like He did for David in the bible. David’s own family turned their backs on him, but that didn’t negate the fact that David was still called and he chose and accepted the role God had for him. On page 12, Casto writes, “If David had been accepted as part of the family, he would have been pampered as a favored child instead of tempered by his battles with the animal predators in his pasture. Only by living as an outsider did he learn to depend on himself and the still, small voice of God within. Throughout his years among the sheep, that voice was his only genuine companion, his guide to greatness.” So, don’t think there’s not divine order in your life. God wants to use your life for greatness too.

Purpose is purpose and although our past is not stellar, that is the very reason God will use us. He's not looking for perfection. In fact He's looking for the opposite -- the people who have been broken -- who might even be broken now, because you've been somewhere and you can help people in their lives. We just have to open our mouths and choose to be chosen. Yes, you are chosen if you choose to be. 
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Amazing grace and amazing faith

Another great thing I love about God is that His amazing grace gives us amazing faith, doesn't it? Just when we think we can't get through another challenging situation, the Lord will give us another round of His grace to get us over that hurdle, yet again. He will give us second winds that come often, which will be so awesome we can't help but be amazed at His awesomeness. Yes, God will enable us to do great feats and accomplish amazing things, that we have no choice but to know it was Him. Then we will walk in a godly confidence, because of our faith and confidence.

So, you will get what God has for you. That's how He operates -- through our faith. We have to trust Him no matter how long it takes, because faith matters. "Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2)
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Friday, January 18, 2019

Life on God’s terms

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
I was never one to make New Year's resolutions. It just wasn't my thing. However, there are some who have been successful in making resolutions and I applaud you, because it's not easy, right? I just always tended to focus on the goals I had written down and that has worked for me. Nevertheless, one of the things I'm looking forward to in 2019, is becoming a new and better me and doing that on God's terms. Yes, I'm saying bye bye to the old self and hello to the new self -- to the one who needed to put my foot down more and cut toxic needy negative people off sooner rather than later. And it feels good already. Yes, to look after myself more and empower myself more.

If you made a New Year's resolution or whatever resolution you want to call it, to say goodbye to the old you, congratulations, I will see you on Greater Street. In the interim though, this is how Romans 8:12-17 can inspire you:
"So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!"
There it is, right there, Romans 8:12-17 bringing it home. I'm doing life on God's terms and everybody is just going to have to be alright with that. What about you? 
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The struggle is real...temporary

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
Do you know that your time is coming? Do you know that challenging times don't last? And do you know that God wants to bless you and bless you indeed? I hope all of your answers to those questions were a yes and an amen, because you know what I often say, 'we have to believe it to see it.' 

Although most of us have heard the phrase, "the struggle is real", that doesn't mean the struggle will always be. In fact, the struggle is real...temporary, so it won't last forever. Like a body-builder in the weight room, the pulls and strains will come, but glory comes next. So, as long as we're still trying, then we're going to get somewhere. Sooner or later, the work we're doing is going to pay off, because we're moving and seeking God for help and guidance. Psalm 54:4 says, "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Stay with it. Greater things will start happening. 
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

When Misfits Become Kings: Book Study Part 1 (weekly podcast episode #28)

Follow along with transcript below.

In today's book study titled, When Misfits Become Kings, Mark Casto delves into the misfits or the people who are seen as "different" or the people who have been cast aside. He writes about how God used such people for greatness and how their being misfits served as one of the key reasons God used them -- David in the bible, being one of them. Have you ever felt like a misfit? Do you feel like a misfit now? If so, join the crowd, I have, as well, and I think I will be a misfit for the rest of my life. It pretty much goes with the territory when one wants to do big things for Jesus, wouldn't you say? So guess what? I'm totally ok with not fitting in.

In the introduction of the book, I'll start off by talking about what I highlighted, which was "something in my longed for more, and I felt like a square peg in a round how, an outsider, a misfit going nowhere very slowly" (pg xxiii roman numeral 23). I highlighted those words, because I could identify with Casto. I too, felt like a square peg in a round hole; an outsider who didn't know where I was going. I often felt like that growing up, but it wasn't no fault of my single mother. She did the best she could and was an awesome mother. I just didn't connect with much of the things that were going on around me. I had a good cadre of friends, Sherry, Allen, Bridget...but I wanted more out of life. I wanted to do bigger things. I used to tell my mother I was going to Hollywood Ma and I was going to be a star. She would always listen, never laughed, and never once said I couldn't do it. She believe in me more than I did. We all need people like that, don't we? 

Anyway, there were times throughout my life when I just felt as though I was here for a reason bigger than myself and for the first time in my life, I am more in touch with God and His plan and purpose for my life, that I offer no explanation or apology to anyone. Not anymore. I think that's why I picked up Casto's book. It made a connection, especially the title. Regarding David, he was restless and had to go on a journey to find himself too. On page roman numeral xxvi, he says, "your God-designed destiny is not controlled by your background or your social or economic status. Rather, it is unlocked through intimacy with the Creator [God] of your future." Well-said, right? 

The bottom line is that if you're feeling like a misfit, it's completely and totally ok. God made each of us unique, so embrace the fact that we're different. We have to refuse to let anybody tell us we need to be cookie-cutter. We have to accept our God-ordained path in order to help ourselves and to help others. Matthew 6:33 says, when we seek God and His righteousness, great things we come to us. Stay the way you are, in Jesus name. 
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Your help comes from God

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
Do you know that when you are in Christ, not only are you a new creation, but your help comes from Him -- The Lord, God, the Messiah, Yahweh? Yes, it's true. Psalm 121 says:
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
So you see, there it is. God's got you wherever you go. You're never alone and you can reach out to Him whenever you like. There is freedom and power in that. 
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

God is watching over you

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8); "the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore" (Psalm 121:8).

So, there it is, you have nothing to worry about, because God is looking and watching over you. He's ensuring you are in His protective arms and it doesn't matter what may be coming against you. God's got you. Just in case you may have a mountain in front of you, let me tell you this: God is with you and He's got you covered from all sides. You see, when we love God and call Him Father, that means we are under His covering at all times -- we are His children and that means something. Therefore, He is a good good Father who is going to ensure He takes care of His own. You can rest in knowing that. 
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Monday, January 14, 2019

Faith under pressure

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought" (James 1:2-8).
It doesn't matter what is coming at you, with faith -- with trust -- with a positive attitude, you will get through. We can't give up, because doing the challenging and difficult things as we rely on God to get us through, will ensure we grow from the experience. Having faith under pressure produces strength and power as we go through life. And that faith makes us battle-tested and battle ready.
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Sunday, January 13, 2019

The royal rule of love

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? (James 2:1-4).
Public opinion can really throw us off if we let it, can't it? But we have to refuse and refrain from being tossed to and fro in the wind. We have to focus on what Jesus would have us to focus on, and that is love. It doesn't mean walk around with a pie-in-the-sky mindset. It simply means to walk around thinking of the next person -- no matter who he or she is and no matter what he or she looks like. Make sense?  
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Saturday, January 12, 2019

You can rejoice

You have a right to rejoice. You have a right to peace. And you have a right for staying true to who God made you to be. Why? Because you’re in Christ Jesus and you have a right to what He promised you, which is joy, peace, and sincerity, at a minimum.

Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” You can rejoice.
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Friday, January 11, 2019

You can talk to God

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
Do you know you can talk to God? And do you know He will talk back? Yes, it's called having a relationship with Him -- a reciprocal relationship. You talk, He talks; He talks, you talk. And also, a loving one. God is there any time and any day. He's there when people have left us and when people sleep on us. That's right, God never sleeps and He can be counted on 24/7, so no matter what's going on in your life, good or bad, God will rejoice with you and God will comfort you. It doesn't matter, because He's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Isn't that awesome? It's awesome, because God is God and God is reliable 100% of the time, even when man isn't. God isn't flaky or cold today and hot tomorrow. He's consistent and never flip flops on us. That's why it's so much easier to talk to Him during our ups and even our downs. 

The bottom line is, God good all the time and all the time God is good. He is a living God who will be there anytime we need to talk to Him. Jeremiah 10:10a says "But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King." If you have anything on your mind, you can always go to God with it and He will talk to you.
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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Won't God do it?

Daily Devotional Podcast. Follow along with blog post.
"A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5).

Wont God do it? He will indeed, especially when we will stop at nothing to get to Him. And when we have unflinching faith like the paralyzed man, it doesn't matter who is standing around watching, God will do it. Yes, He will bless you in front of anybody. 
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