His Time, Our Gift

Photo Credit: Oladimeji Ajegbile

Hello, Dear Ones. I hope this finds everyone blessed. I came across this quote by R.C. Sproul and was prompted to reflect on my life. I am always evaluating my time and what I spend or have spent most of my life doing. I have found that different seasons of life require different things of us. There are times of busyness and times of rest. There are times of lack and times of harvest. There are also times that challenge and stretch us. Why? Because God has orchestrated our lives in a way that grows, prunes, and develops us.

With that being said, it is important to remember and fully understand that our time, our lives belong to Him. Our lives are given to us for only an allotted time and specific purpose. We are all here on assignment, on borrowed time. Therefore, it is imperative that we are intentional about how we live each moment. This helps us to minimize distractions, unfruitfulness, and wasting time. Plan with God in mind. What do I mean? Focus on the fact that our time is a gift from Him, something preciously entrusted to us. Therefore, we need to every effort to make it count. When we do this, we plan accordingly and the way we live our lives changes. Through the leading of His Spirit, it is possible for us to be good stewards of our time and do all we can to reflect His glory. When we do, everyone and everything we touch will be blessed. Then, we will be able to stand before Him on that great day and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Fear Not

Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you;
I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].

Good Morning, There is no doubt that fear will come. If you’ve ever found yourself in an unfamiliar place or the valley of decision, I can guarantee you that fear will probably be the very first visitor to come knocking at your door. However, we have the power to answer differently.

We can confidently respond by letting fear know that it has the wrong address because our God has taken residence within us and is with us. He has boldly instructed us in His word, “DO NOT FEAR”. Why? Because “He is with us”. Since He is, we can face any challenge and boldly move forward even in uncertainty.

As stated in today’s YouVersion devotional, “Do It Afraid!” and allow God to be who He is on our behalf.

Enjoy your day!

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Our Warrior In Heaven

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

He Fights for Us!

Exodus 14:14   The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

Deuteronomy 1:30    The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes.

Deuteronomy 3:22    You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.

Joshua 23:10     One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.

2 Samuel 22:2-3     The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;   The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge;  My Savior, You save me from violence.

Psalm 37:40   And the Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they trust and take refuge in Him.

Psalm 61:1-4   Hear my cry, O God;  listen to my prayer.   From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and fainting;  lead me to the rock that is higher than I [yes, a rock that is too high for me].   For You have been a shelter and a refuge for me, a strong tower against the adversary.   I will dwell in Your tabernacle forever;  let me find refuge and trust in the shelter of Your wings.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The Beauty of the Blood

For my crafting business, I often make wood-burned cutting boards. I usually start off with a piece of plain, sometimes flawed wood but end of with something very beautiful and unique. First, I design a stencil, cut it out, and use a chemical to put the design on the wood. Then, I use a heat gun to burn the image onto the wood. Afterwards, I stain the wood. Once it’s dry, I apply a shellac to seal the wood and give it a shine. I have done this process many times but the other day I began think about the process that we all go through as believers.

We all come to Christ flawed and broken from the effects of sin in our lives. He takes each of us the way we are. After we give our lives to Him, we are marked as His own, prepared to be molded into His likeness (designed/stenciled). Through the fire of the Holy Spirit, we are purified (the heat gun). His likeness is imprinted into us and the longer we stay in the fire, things that are not like Him are burned away. Ultimately, His precious blood cleanses and covers us (stains us).

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

My favorite part of the process is staining because I love how each cutting board picks up the stain in it’s own way. NO two boards are alike and the stained flaws actually add to the raw beauty and uniqueness of each board. This happens every time I apply a stain to a board and leaves me amazed. Regardless of how many times I use the same stain, the results are always diverse which adds a special element to each finished product. One blood (stain), many diffe outcomes. Isn’t that just like us? The same God, the same blood but we are all different and special in our own way. Only His blood can take our flaws, the ugly in us, and make them beautiful. Earthly stains have an expiration date but the stain and power of His blood is everlasting. From age to age, it is able to save, deliver, and heal ALL MEN/WOMEN from ALL things. There is NO- thing under heaven that can diminish its power. What do you need to place under the blood in your life today?

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

Thousands of years ago, Christ hung on a cross bloody, died, was buried, and rose after 3 days beautiful, so we could have a right to the tree of life. His work in our lives is evidence of the power and beauty of His blood. Let His power and beauty shine through your authenticity.

Share your testimony! Walk in His purpose for your life! So, His glory may shine through you.

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Christmas: The Gift of Reconciliation

Today, I was thanking the Lord for Christmas and He told me that Jesus’ birth was the beginning of our reconciliation back to Him. Unfortunately, many people were not able to be with some of their loved ones today because of conflict and misunderstandings. I’ve been there. However, I’ve seen the restorative power of God work many times in my life. God is able to heal and restore even those things that appear to be hopeless. God can breathe life into the deadest situations. If we can remain hopeful and determined to forgive as well as love inspite of how we feel, God will work.

Sometimes that hope requires silence, love, and patience but God is working. I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t always easy to do or what I’ve felt like doing. What restorations are you believing the Lord for? Will you trust Him? He is able.

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Rest Well, Sweet Papa

Hello Dear Friends,

It has been a while since I have written anything. Honestly, my life has been going full speed ahead, and a lot has happened. This past Friday, my sweet Papa was laid to rest after being sick for the past month. Everyone who knows me knows the profound love I had for my Papa. He was the man who raised me as my father. God using him in my life is why I am who I am today. He taught me so much and sacrificed a great deal to take care of me. My grandparents also sent me to college. For that, I will forever be grateful. The Lord blessed him to live 89 years. I thank God for me being able to spend my 45 years with him. He was always an active part of not only my life but the lives of my three children. Even in his old age, he was still a very present figure in our lives and was very intentional about it. Being a part of all of our lives was indeed a joy of his. So, believe me when I say his loss has impacted our family.

My grandfather’s life started tough. He lost his parents as a young child, had to live with his grandparents, and started working very early to take care of himself. So, he never finished school. Yet, he was very adamant about us getting an education. He was the one who took me to the library for assignments and made sure I was at every school or community event. Although he received very little formal education, he made it his responsibility to ensure that I was not only educated but excelled academically. He worked in construction my entire childhood and met our needs. His sacrifices fueled my ambition and motivated me to do my best at everything I set out to accomplish. I am sure there were things he desired to do with his life, but instead, he chose to take care of not only his children but his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and my grandmother raised three generations under their roof. Although they were not perfect, I believe they did well with what God gave them.

Ultimately, my heart is broken by his loss. Yet, I can’t help but praise God for my Papa’s life. He lived a blessed life. He was tough on us, but I knew it was because he loved us. I also knew he had battles he was fighting as we all do. So, he didn’t always make the best choices or say all the right words. Despite his struggles, one thing remained the same, his love for children. Because of it, he would do whatever he could to make sure any child was taken care of and protected. As the years progressed, I saw the hand of the Lord changing and working on his heart. The more time passed, the sweeter he became. I started calling him, “Suga”, because the older he got, the more I could see the gentleness and deep love that comes from growing in the Lord.

It was evident that he knew God and that God knew him. Amid his inner turmoil, he never neglected to tell God, “Thank You”. Sometimes, I would listen to him through the kitchen window because I would hear him talking to himself while working in the yard. To my surprise, he would be talking to the Lord. He knew that it was only by the grace and mercy of God that he was still in the land of the living after all these years.

While he was sick, I would sit and watch him when he wasn’t communicating with us. There were times when he would have a fixed gaze upward. I would often wonder what he was looking at. I believe that he was looking to where his help came from because I could feel the peace of God upon him. One day, his cousin came to visit. She told him that God was taking care of him. He stared intensely into her eyes and smiled with a confidence that was evident that he knew her words were the truth. Papa had accepted the Lord’s will for his life; he knew The Good Father. It was well with his soul. He knew the Lord had kept him. He knew that he didn’t want for anything because his soul had a Shepherd that supplied everything he needed, who had walked with him through many valleys and had taken him over many mountains.

Although this is a tough time, I can’t help but rejoice about all the wisdom he shared with us and the lessons he taught us. I can’t help but smile when I think of all of his sarcastic remarks and witty comebacks. He was one of a kind, a character, and rare. His transparency was admirable because he was honest and shared his mistakes with us so we would learn from them. Even though he didn’t tell us he loved us, it was evident in his care for us. He would always say, “Thank you for all you do.” I would reply, “No, thank you. I can do what I do because of all you did for me”. It was true. He laid the foundation. Now, it is our job to continue to build upon it. He showed us how a father loves and provides for his family. He showed us how a father chastens those he loves. He showed us that real love is sacrificial and covers us in all things.

So, I say,” Thank you, Sweet Papa. Take your rest with the Heavenly Father. You did your job well.”

How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by Him

Hello Dear One,

How are you today? I just wanted to remind you that you are loved beyond measure. Infinitely. Undeniably. Certainly. Passionately. Guess what? You didn’t have to earn it. His love isn’t based on your performance or your ability. His love is not generic or one size fits all. His love is tailored specifically to you. His love pursues you even if you have no idea about who He is or desire to know Him. He is your biggest fan and thinks the world of you. His love is so intimate. He’s so In-to-You. You don’t have to look any further. The one who longs to have your heart not only wants to be close to you but wants to live within you. He wants to be so close that your intrinsic rhythm is His and your heartbeats match. He serenades you with the songs of birds at the dawn of each new day. He lights up your world with the sun and breathes through your very lungs with each breath you take. His arms are always open for your embrace. His ears are inclined to your worries, fears, and prayers.

Oh, how sweet is His peace. Oh, how sweet are His words.

Oh, how sweet is His presence.

Oh, how sweet. Oh, how sweet.

Oh, how sweet Dear One. Will you dare to taste it and see?

How Sweet it is to be loved by Him!

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He Heals Broken Hearts

Lately, several of my closest friends and I have felt the pain of grief. My heart aches from missing my friend who courageously fought cancer and won her reward of Heaven. It doesn’t help that her birthday is in September and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October. Although I know her suffering has ended, I still grieve the idea of her suffering and the pain left in the heart of all that loved her. Several of my friends have lost loved ones and attended funerals over the past few weeks. We have all felt the wave of emotions that comes with losing someone.

Today, I was talking within a group chat with a some beautiful ladies. We talked about grief and how we have dealt with it. We prayed and encouraged each other as we usually do. Then, I opened my devotional to find that the Verse of the Day was Psalm 147:3. I read the lesson and shared the verse with the group. Afterwards, the same verse popped up in my Facebook memories. Later, it was the opening verse for Pastor Jarrett’s message today. What was God saying? I believe He was reminding us that He heals and repairs broken our broken hearts. I believe that He was reminding us of His humanity and how He too grieved when the very ones He was sent to save rejected Him. I believe He was reminding us that He had walked in the agony we feel, so that He would be accessible to us and be our help during our seasons of pain or sorrow.

Since He loved me enough to remind me of this today, I wanted to do the same for you. Is your heart broken? Are you experiencing loss and grieving someone you loved dearly?

Well, He is here to bind your wounded heart and restore it. Let Him do it for you.

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Forgive Yourself

Romans 8:1-2
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I have always been very analytical. That can be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing because I can over analyze a situation in a heartbeat if I am not careful. By the time something has taken place, I will have broken it down about 10 times and put it back together 20 different ways in my head. Now, that works if I am working or trying to solve a problem but it can become quite problematic when it comes to relationships. There have been times in my life where it has been just that. I’ve caused myself to think about things so much that it placed guilt on me because I began to harp on what I should have done in different situations. God wants us to be free. He wants us to be free in our minds, bodies, and spirits. As believers, one of the greatest ways we can is forgiveness; the forgiveness of others and of ourselves.

Over the years, I have allowed myself to hold on to regrets. Due to me being a person who always wants to be reflective and do what is right, this has occurred quite often. However, I have learned that the enemy will use the smallest thing to steal our joy or hinder us. He will use our care and concern. He will use our love and loyalty. He will use whatever he can to get us off of the path God has us on. Therefore, we have to learn how to move forward when unfavorable situations in our lives occur. Romans 8:1 says there is no more condemnation for us because Christ has set us free. This is one of my favorite scriptures to go to when I find myself in a place of guilt or shame. I have to remind myself that I am human and imperfect. I have to remind myself that Christ died for my mistakes and sins. Therefore, it is not my job to make myself pay for them over and over again. I don’t have to allow the weight of the things I’ve done to consume me. If I do, that pain is self-inflicted because Christ didn’t come to condemn me but to set me free. That means if we are experiencing guilt, regret, and shame it is coming from Satan himself because he is the accuser of the brethren.

I’ve also learned that if I ask for forgiveness and the person doesn’t grant it; that’s no longer on me. My responsibility is to ask with a sincere heart and commit to doing better moving forward. Then, it is out of my hands. Sometimes, people will try to project their guilt and shame unto you. If you are a feeler as I am, you will tend to carry the burdens of others on you which can become unhealthy. In times like these, you have to discern and recognize what is going on. Once you do, set guidelines for yourself and boundaries that will allow you to maintain your emotional health. Also, pray and ask the Spirit to show you those areas and guide you on how to steer clear of them.

The enemy wants us to remember our sin and mishaps constantly because he knows the destructive power that it has. In Jeremiah 31:34, we are told that when God forgives us, He remembers our sins no more. Therefore if He is the one whom we have transgressed against and He can forgive us, why can’t we forgive ourselves and move forward. Furthermore, when we reject the forgiveness of God, others, or even ourselves, we make room for spiritual traps such as pride. Proverbs 16:18 states that pride comes before destruction. When we become prideful and fail to forgive ourselves, we set ourselves up to fall and rob ourselves of the peace that comes along with true forgiveness. Not only do we steal our own peace but we rob those connected to us because we can make them targets for the hurt we are experiencing within ourselves. The longer we harbor those feelings and try to punish ourselves, the more likely we are to act out on others and hurt them.

Friends, it is so important for us to understand that we cannot take anything back that we have done or change anything bad that has happened to us. However, we can make a conscious effort to do better moving forward and live differently. Personally, I’m grateful that I have been able to release myself from the mistakes I have made. It has made me a better person and has allowed me to love the people around me in an even greater way. What the enemy meant for bad, God turned it around for my good. Where the enemy tried to tear me down and make his lies about me echo louder than God’s truth, the Lord has made His voice even louder. What have you not forgiven yourself for? What have you allowed others and the enemy to hold over your head? Beloved, there is so much more life for you to live on the other side of your mistake. When you forgive yourself, the enemy can no longer use those things against you. Will you be free and made whole today?

Forgive Yourself!

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