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.