So this past week, was not my best – at all.
I fell off my diet. I didn’t work out as much as I should have. I didn’t post on my blog. I missed one of my real estate conference calls. I didn’t meet my supplemental income goal with my Uber/Lyft driving – in fact I didn’t drive at all! I was supposed to be getting up early for morning devotions and I pretty much slept in at least 5 out of the 7 days this past week. I’m pretty sure I yelled at my kid several times for no reason. There were at least 2 days where I slacked off on my reports at work. I didn’t complete half my errands because I simply didn’t want to go out in the rain. And overall I just had a negative, unmotivated, lazy attitude. Every evening I felt mentally exhausted and drained, and the lack of accomplishment just made it all worse. By Thursday I was even more “over” everything and developed a nagging headache that just wouldn’t go away. Even when the weekend finally hit, I realized how many things I had to do, because of what I didn’t do during the week, so I couldn’t really relax. It was just a really “blah” week.
Saturday evening I had a bowling event with some family and youth from the church. I had a great time and my spirits were up for the first time in a week. Later that night I was able to have some quiet time to think, pray and hear from God. The first verse I opened up to was:
It was such a comfort to me as it reminded me that not only am I going to have “blah” days or weeks, but that God was going to be with me through each and every one of them, holding my hand, and giving me the strength to get back on track again.
So often we as Christians try to give the impression that we have it all together; that we’re doing everything so “flawlessly”; that life is just awesome everyday, all the time; that we don’t struggle, get discouraged, lonely, frustrated, worried, fed up or even depressed sometimes. But the truth remains that in our humanity we will all have our highs and lows – whether its physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, relational, financial or circumstantial. Life is hard – that’s a fact. Its ONLY because of our relationship with God that we can truly live with a purpose and enjoy life amidst the chaos that surrounds us.
I don’t know about you, but I know, in fact, I willingly admit, that I don’t have it all together. I’ve got a lot to learn, a lot to overcome, and a lot of molding left for God to do in my life. But thankfully, I have a God who loves me, never leaves me, holds my hands through my not-so-good days, and forgives me for my sins. And according to the mirror of His Word, that is what will get me through any “blah” day!
Started from the bottom
Now I’m here
Ain’t nothing I did
Just the God that I fear
Saved me when I was twelve
Embraced me with open arms
Changed my entire household
Silencing my spiritual alarms
Like a flood, pouring in His love
Bringing our spiritual pain to an end
Didn’t erase all my problems
But took them on for me – my best friend
Just in time for my teenage years
I was a quiet, short, nerd
Picked on, laughed at,
But my tears every night He heard
Committed to saving myself for marriage
Was the dumbest thing to my peers back then
But thanks to His strength
I remained dedicated – my best friend
Senior year finally came
Couldn’t wait to change scenes
Graduated valedictorian, yet went to a Bible college
To fulfill my own personal dreams
Another big mistake – or so they said
“you could be a doctor, lawyer, anything in life,
Why in the world would you get a biblical degree,
Graduate, and go on to become a preacher’s wife?”
Happy Friday everybody!
Funny how we sometimes like to plan out every little detail of life. How we’re going to spend our day, our weekend. What we’re going to wear, and where we’re going to go and with whom. Or even if we’re staying in, we plan the shows we’re going to watch, and what desserts we’re going to indulge in. All our plans start to shape up and then it hits……a cold, an infection, a stomach virus, a migraine, or worse yet, the flu or pneumonia. Some sickness that sweeps us off our feet for a day, or two, maybe even a week or more. All plans come to a halt, as our bodies just don’t want to cooperate with our plans. For someone like myself, who likes to go a mile a minute and doesn’t like to waste time at all, a “sick day” can seem devastating! I don’t get to accomplish what I want. I fall behind in a project. I miss work (although for some this is not a bad thing). I have to postpone a fun activity. I get off track with my workout schedule. I don’t make it to church to teach my little ones. And just like that, what was supposed to be a 3 day weekend is wasted – see devastating!
This past week I have been mostly laid up in bed with a really bad cold/allergy turned sinus-infection. I honestly can’t remember my last “cold” – it had to have been at least 3-4 years ago. Apart from the occasional headache, stomach bug or half day allergy spell, I just haven’t been sick. So when this whole thing hit, it really knocked me down. All I could think of everyday was how much I wasn’t getting done or what I was missing. Then God spoke to me and reminded me, that it was okay and that He was still in control.
Me being sick for a week, wasn’t going to stop the world from running. In fact sometimes God sidelines us because He wants to get our attention. He wants to speak us when we’ve been too busy to listen. Sometimes our body just needs a break and being sick is the only way we’ll take one! Sometimes in our “planning” we get ahead of God, so he halts us temporarily to get us back on track with His plan. Whatever the case, being sick is not the end of the world. Now granted, it’s no fun either, but go through the process, medicate, rest, listen for His voice amidst it all and leave the everyday stuff to Him. Work and everything else will still be there once you’re better.
It’s been a challenging week, but I got more sleep than I have in a month, I’m 8 lbs. lighter, I am more enlightened spiritually, got an answer to a prayer, and the world around me is still here – parenting, my job, housework, bills and all! LOL
Remember: God is in everything – our good days, our great days, our bad days, and our sick days!
I want to take a few moments today to just say “thank you” to all my wonderful followers and readers! Your support has been everything to me this past year. It’s not easy to promote love for and attention to the Word of God in the society we live in today – not even in the Christian arena. I am grateful to be a vessel for God, to be used to encourage and motivate others toward greater things in Him! I pray that each of you will continue to be blessed and inspired through this blog, and that His Word will bring changes that will draw you closer in your walk with Him.
To express my gratitude and appreciation to each of you, I would like to extend FREE lifetime access to my recently published online course “Learning the Bible 101: Benefits, Methods, and Hindrances”. If you have already signed up for the course, please share the link as a gift to any and everyone you know who could benefit from it:
May you enjoy the course and feel free to send me your comments, as I would love to hear from you. Most importantly, please continue to join me in this mission to promote the relevance, value, importance and divinity of the Word of God in a world that has strayed so far from its principles.
Stay focused on Him and saturate yourself with His Word always!
Love in Christ,
Happy New Year Everybody!
It’s 2019, and I’ve been asking myself what does that mean or look like for me? I personally love New Year’s, because for me it represents a new start, a fresh beginning. It’s also a time of reflection to look back at the ups and downs of the previous year. But most of all, it’s a time to reflect on the fact that God brought me through it all, and I’m still standing.
Statistically, it is said that 80% of the people who make “New Year’s resolutions” fail by February! Not only is that sad, but I believe it’s directly aligned with the society we live in today. Simply put, we are lazy, unmotivated, undetermined, distracted and confused people, who constantly procrastinate, have little to no goals, and a lack of clear vision for the future – and yes, this includes those of us that are Christians as well.
We too, so often fall into a trap of just “existing” on earth, when God has placed us here for a purpose. I’m not writing to convince or influence anyone to make a list of resolutions. I’m writing to motivate and encourage having a vision that is aligned with the Word of God. A vision of where we want to be or go; of what we want to become; of what we want to accomplish. After all, the bible dictates who God wants us to be as believers. Our entire Christian journey is supposed to be about getting there. The problem is that most of us don’t want to align ourselves with God’s plan for us, so we result to simply having no vision at all when it comes to our spiritual growth.
This lack of vision on the spiritual side, so often coincides with a lack of vision in all other aspects of our lives: physical, mental, social, educational, financial, relational, etc. Other believers may even find themselves at the other end of the spectrum, where their entire vision focuses on all the other aspects of life, while the spiritual side gets little to no attention. Either scenario is detrimental.
God has called us as believers to grow in our relationship with Him and to become more Christlike. How do we do that? Well, like all things spiritual, it all starts with spending more time in His Word. It always baffles me how Christians want and expect so much from God and yet we do so little to cultivate our relationship with Him. The more time we spend in His Word, the more His Word can convict and change our hearts, attitudes, words, thoughts, desires, actions, and our goals to align with Him. I promise, in fact I guarantee, that everything else in our lives will begin to fall into place from there.
Whether you want to work on having a better attitude, lose weight, save money for a new car, get your master’s degree, buy a home, learn a foreign language, travel overseas, get married, or start your own business – whatever the goal may be (short or long term) – aligning ourselves, our goals, our lives, our everything, with God and His plan for us, is the best way to ensure success! In fact when you align your vision with God’s Word, God begins to work in ALL aspects of your life, in ways you could have never imagined!
My family and friends can attest to what God did for me in 2018 – far beyond what I envisioned, prayed for and set out to do via my list of goals! And now, I’m all the more motivated to continue to seek His face through His Word even more in 2019, because I know for a fact, that it will indeed be an even better year for me!……..and yours can be too!
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So often we try so hard to help others. Whether its by giving advice, writing a recommendation letter for a job, letting their kids carpool with yours to school, loaning them money in times of need, letting them sleep on your couch for a night or two, keeping them from literally beating the crap out of someone, taking them to AA meetings, making sure they have a ride to bible study, being an accountability partner to keep them out of trouble, or even bailing them out of jail – these are all great gestures and acts of love and kindness.
Sometimes these gestures are exactly what the recipient needs to keep them from making a bad choice, going off the deep end, ending up in prison or even committing suicide. But sadly, sometimes, these good gestures only yield temporary results that keep the recipient off the ledge for only a day or so. Then the next thing you know that same person does the exact opposite of what you advised them to do. They take your money, spend it on something completely different from what they said it was for and never pay you back. They start drinking again after 5 years of sobriety. They stop coming to bible study and church. They get fired after a week from the job you helped them get. They bash their neighbor’s head in and end up arrested.
Whatever the outcome may be, I am learning that in either scenario I am NOT God. My responsibility is to do what God has called me as a Christian to do – show love, in whatever way I can. So many years, especially in ministry, I used to try to “fix” so many people, solve their problems, answer their prayers, and patch up their lives. In short, I tried to be God. Although, He definitely uses us a vessels to accomplish His will and influence others’ lives, we have to remember that ultimately, He does the “fixing”, the “changing”, and the “problem-solving” in the world around us. We shouldn’t feel guilt, or pressure for that matter, to try and be God – not even for our family or closest friends.
I’ve even been guilty of changing my own personal goals and dreams just to allow myself to be a “savior” to others. God has recently taught me, that I should definitely help if and when I can, but that I should continue to walk in His plan for my own life in the process. The awesome thing about all this is that when we do “step aside” and allow God to work, time actually passes. Then you look back and see not only how God has worked in your own life but also in the life of the person you were originally trying to help. Its even more amazing when you realize that God works things out much better than anything you could have done.
As cliche, as it may sound – do what you can to help, pray, and then let go, and let God!
It’s so important to realize that the moment you decide to accomplish something, especially if its for God, that the enemy will try to do everything he can to distract you, so that he can steer you off course. It’s even more important to realize that these distractions are not always blatant or obvious, but are often rather subtle. Distractions can come in the form of person, a thing, a place, a circumstance, thoughts, or temptations.
The moment you decide to go back to school, a good friend you haven’t hung out with in awhile suddenly becomes available to hang out several times a week, distracting you from your studies. Having gotten drunk 3-4 times a week for the past few months, you get your first semester grades which show you’re failing half of your classes.
The moment you decide to quit your job so you can start your own business, you get a job offer from a company offering you $10K more a year than what you were making, distracting you from the fact that your goal is to work for yourself and eventually earn six figures. Six months down the line, you’re making more money, but you’re physically burnt out, never see your kids, hate your job, and haven’t thought about your own business at all.
The moment you decide to write a book with the vision that God gave you, negative thoughts rush into your mind with every reason why you shouldn’t do it. Now its a year later, and you haven’t picked up a pen to write anything since then.
The moment you decide to relocate your family to another state for everyone’s benefit, a gorgeous new home becomes available in the next county over, distracting you from why God told you to relocate in the first place. Three years later, you’re behind in your mortgage, neighborhood violence has impacted your teenager who now sells drugs, and you just got a notice that your job will be laying you off in three weeks.
The moment you decide to get out of a bad relationship and spend time focusing on your independence and growing in God, a new guy/girl comes along that makes you think its love at first site. Three months down the line, you find out they are married and have been lying to you the entire time.
The moment you decide to focus on growing your blog community, every technical issue imaginable begins to arise, discouraging you immensely to the point that you give up. Nine months later, a friend shows you a free online marketing course that you finish in two days that solves all your technical issues.
You see distractions can end up costing us time, happiness, peace, joy, money, and success. After all, John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy”. The good news is that its never too late to get back on track and redirect our focus to our goals. Even after we let our distractions steer us off course, ruin relationships, set us back months or years with our goals, or costs us money, our jobs, or our peace – God is still there for us, to give us the strength we need to try again and move forward. As we move forward, let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let us not allow the devil to distract us. Remember, even the most subtle distraction could cost us! And its definitely not worth it.
At what point are we as Christians going to start living our lives “with” God, rather than simply keeping Him on the sidelines and only “using” Him when we think we need Him or when it benefits us?
God isn’t someone we should call on only in times of trouble, need, or desperation. Rather, He should be a part of our daily lives. In fact He should be just as “integrated” into our lives as our family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors that we see everyday. Sooooo, are we just “using” Him or are we building a relationship with Him by spending time in His Word?
This past week was my first week of getting back into the gym regularly, and Friday was the day I would meet my goal of working out for 5 days. However, Friday morning I woke up an hour earlier than usual around 5 a.m. with a slight headache and couldn’t get back to sleep. Because it wasn’t time to get up yet, I decided to login into my banking mobile app from my phone and check my direct deposit since it was payday for me. To my utmost surprise – no direct deposit! Then I nearly fell off the bed trying to get up and stubbed my toe. With mixed emotions – tiredness from lack of sleep, anger from the missing money and pain from the headache and toe – my mind automatically started going with random thoughts: “I’m not going to the gym this morning”, “I’m not going to work”, “why can’t things just go right”, “OMG, my rent is due, where is my money”, “life sucks”, “I just want to go back to bed”.
Those few things that happened all within minutes of each other had already started impacting my entire day and it was only 5:15 in the morning! It’s so easy to get angry, frustrated, discouraged, depressed and lose motivation when things start to spiral downhill in our lives. It may start with something minor, then it may turn into something major that you may or may not have control over.
Either way, God’s Word tells us how to handle those situations, and no part of the resolution involves giving up, running away, or crawling back into bed for the day. All those reactions are exactly the way the devil wants us to handle all bad things that come are way – by retreating, quitting and getting frustrated. God created us with a ball of emotions, but He also equipped us with His Word and access to Him personally to talk to in moments just like these. We can find encouragement to push through in Scripture and we can talk to Him about anything at anytime.
So today I ask, what stops your progress on a daily or weekly basis? Is it your circumstances? Something someone says? A situation going on at work? A personal relationship or lack thereof? A negative friend? Financial struggles? Your health? Whatever the case is, remember that everyday life is going to happen to all of us. As Christians, God did not promise we wouldn’t have any troubles. However, He promised that we would be equipped with the tools to handle our troubles. We have everything we need in Him to face any of life’s challenges. The problem is, our most valuable resources are often under utilized.
In fact, the moment you start to set goals or set your mind to accomplish something, there will be several things that come your way that will try to distract you, kill your motivation, or hinder you from progress. If we prepare our minds for this by spending time in God’s Word and prayer, nothing should hinder our progress.
Sometimes the hardest thing to accept is that God is NOT always going to answer our prayers in the exact way that we want Him to.
So often we submit our “microwaved prayers” to God, expecting our “microwaved blessings” as a result. Listing every detail of what we want or think we need. We want it ‘made to order’ and ready in the exact timing that we select.
We pray for a new relationship, asking for a specific type man/woman and then the person He brings us is the exact opposite of the image we crafted in our dreams.
We pray for a new job, and the job He blesses us with is something we never thought we would end up doing.
We pray for an opportunity to excel and He blesses us with an opportunity that is less than ideal but comes with a raise. Yet, we’re still mad because its not as big of a raise that we wanted.
We pray for a new car and someone literally blesses us with one – free of charge – but its not the exact make and model we hoped for.
We send our prayers up like microwaved suggestions to God, telling him how we want it, when we want it, and dictating the specifics of our blessing.
But He’s been teaching me that His blessings are sometimes going to come in ways I don’t expect, through people I least expect, and at times I’m not even expecting it. At the end of the day, a blessing is a blessing. How dare we be ungrateful, impatient and even complain when it comes. Remember God ALWAYS knows best! And sometimes He even has jokes lol.