He Lives

Cross

Over 2000 years ago our precious Lord and Savior Jesus was slain for each and every one of us. Our loving Father sent His one and only Son as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins. Whether or not you accept and believe this truth is totally up to you—Jesus doesn’t force salvation on anyone. However, He took every whip, flog, smack, and beating for our sake. Though we were not there to personally witness it, the Bible (God’s living Word) allows us wisdom and insight into this account which resonates deep within Christians around the world. We all are descends of Adam and Eve, which means we are all born with a sin nature, the only way we could be reconciled to God is through the blood covenant of grace through the blood of the Lamb.

Now that I’m no longer bound to Hell for eternity, I’m grateful beyond expression for what God has done for me. The One True Living God has forever changed my life. He’s my personal Lord and Savior and I can shout that with conviction. If you can shout about the way Jesus has changed your life, and you know He lives, say Amen and share it with someone!

Also, if you’re on the fence about what you believe about Jesus Christ, I pray that the message of the cross will touch your heart.

If you’re ready for a personal relationship with Jesus, to learn more click the link above that says Invite Jesus In.

Lord Take It Away I Don’t Want to Suffer

Just saying, I’m not a fan of suffering and going through rough times, I hadn’t quite found out how to rejoice in them at all times. For the most part many of us are not there yet—and some are. Truthfully, I’d rather be comfortable and experience good times every day if I could—like Heaven on Earth. I love what I am called to do, but if I could get by with no effort and make a decent living I’d be all for it. If I’m able to awake every morning to paint or write, while overlooking clear blue tropical waters, I’d embrace it with no complaints. Not to mention, receiving every desire of my heart would be a bonus too. But, at the end of the day I’m a co-heir with Christ and I’m also here to share in His sufferings and do my assignment.

See, through my trials I finally learned that it’s not all about me. I wasn’t put on this Earth to experience Heaven right at my fingertips or get any and everything I want just because I decided to become a Christian. I’m here to love and grow in relationship with God, be selfless, work for the kingdom, and love others. While I’m here I can store away my rewards, for my perfect life to follow, by being a good soldier for Christ, or I can spend my time throwing tantrums when I don’t get something I feel God should give me.

Romans 8:16-18 NIV says, The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

What??? When I signed up for this I didn’t know I had to suffer. As a little girl all I know is I loved Jesus and wanted Him in my life. This is why I’m writing about this side of the journey. There are so many happy go lucky types of teachings that many professing believers only gravitate towards. Some of these teachings keep one with tunnel vision believing that they can get whatever they dream of and whatever they want from God. For instance, just speak it and it’s yours, just name it and claim it, just treat people right and forgive others and you’re good to go, you are the head and not the tail and you deserve the best etc. etc. etc.

I can go there with this subject because I’ve personally listened to enough of these messages and read the books in my research. However, I’ve listened to many biblically sound bible scholars and read many of their books too, and there is much more God wants us to gather from our Christian Journey that you will never hear some of these preachers mention.

For starters, it’s true; God wants to bless every single one of His children. He came that we would have an abundant life along with power over our enemy. Through Christ’s death we inherited great and mighty gifts and became a part of a royal family. There are many promises God made to us, and we also have the right to boldly approach His throne of grace whenever we want to and ask Him for anything.

Just because the above is true, does not mean that God will grant our every command. He is not a weak God that can be manipulated and controlled by His own creation. But I find it funny that some think they can. Ha! Unknowingly, I used to think like this to an extent, until God hit me with the cold hard truth.

Trust me, I wish I could teach that life as a Christian will always be happy-happy joy-joy, but I do not want to fit in with those that are doing an injustice by not covering and recognizing the Word of God in depth. I don’t want to be guilty of assisting to steer believers into La La Land while shielding them from the realities of living in a sinful and corrupt world.

As I mentioned in a prior devotional, Are You Selfish, many sound teachers aren’t looked at as popular, but what I admire about them is if they only reach one person, they’re going to teach the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—the pretty and the not so pretty. They know their rewards are eternal and they don’t set their eyes on temporal things that won’t stand up against the fire.

2 Timothy 2:3 NIV says, Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

If we have truly accepted Jesus into our heart we are going to suffer at some point in your walk. Every single one of the twelve disciples did too. As you see I sent out a prayer request last week because I haven’t slept in my own bed for three months because I’m fighting for my peace. God never promised that we would have it easy breezy and it’s important that we realize this so we won’t stop trusting Him when we find ourselves dealing with something that is bigger than us. Our life belongs to Him and since we are God’s property we have to take on a new outlook.

In a marriage there is always a lot of good but there is also some bad that you have to deal with and go through. Maturing in this and going beyond the surface will help to secure your anchor. Most couples grow in love on a deeper level when they endure testier times together. It strengthens their bond, builds a firm foundation, and draws them closer.

Well we are married to our Lord too, and when we face tough times together it brings us closer to His heart. He trusts us with more, and we trust Him with our life. Abraham, David, Paul, Joseph, Moses, and Noah went through some things that many of us never will face, and the songs in their hearts were full of joy because they deepened their bond with the Lord. They experienced spiritual blessings worth more than the material and tangible things. There was no greater experience than to share in it for Christ’s sake. They welcomed the suffering, will you?

Behind a Perfectly Beat Face

make-upThese days a beat face is a big deal. It tops off the girly-girl look and compliments the hair, clothing, and accessories. Budgeting for these services within the entertainment industry, for weddings, and special occasions is nothing new. Years ago when I worked in the beauty industry, make-up and eyebrows were big business, but definitely not the way it is now.

As of late, tons of everyday women and young teens are jumping into this colorful world, spending several hours per week, in their bathroom mirrors perfecting their contoured look. Some are seasoned while others are just beginning. You Tube has contributed to making this much more sought after.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with making your face beautiful, but I wonder how much is too much? When does it become a crutch, an addiction, and/or a mask one hides behind? I ask this question because there’re women that will not dare leave the house without doing their face. And just imagine the billions of dollars spent on these colorful palettes, foundations, and glosses annually.

 

lil-kim make up

I wear it myself and believe in applying it to enhance your natural beauty, but not to define it. Then again there are some Christians that believe modesty means to eliminate the make-up along with the other beauty trends.

But I’m interested in your take on this. Do you wear make-up and why, and if so how frequently? If you don’t wear it I’d like to know why you feel that Christian women shouldn’t wear? Do you feel it’s a such thing as too much make-up?

What They Meant For Harm

God-Will-Turn-It-Around

The story about Joseph has been taught many times from church pulpits around the world. It resonates with us so much because many feel like the Joseph of the family or in various situations. As with everything ordained by God, there is always a plan behind the reason. This teaching of Joseph’s life has helped millions of people—over many thousands of years—weather storms. It overflows with love, forgiveness, humility, patience, favor, faith, and triumph. It demonstrates time and time again that God is always in control and everything happens for a reason.

When Joseph (one of Jacob’s favorite two sons from the wife he loved—Rachel) was seventeen he told his brothers about a dream he had. They already disliked him because of their father’s love for him, but when he shared the dream with them they hated him even more. One day the brothers plotted to kill Joseph when he came out to the field to catch up with them. They didn’t move forward with that plot so they sold him to some Midianite merchants for twenty shekels of silver.

After some time, the Egyptian Potipher purchased Joseph from the Ishmaelites. God was with Joseph and he prospered and lived in his master’s home. He was very loyal and trustworthy. It’s documented that he was quite handsome and was heavily lusted after by Potipher’s wife. When he refused to submit to her seduction, she then accused him of trying to seduce her and he was thrown into prison.

Some years later the Pharaoh needed his dreams interpreted and Joseph was the only one that could do it. Once Pharaoh found out that God was with Joseph he was able to kiss prison goodbye, became second-in-command, and was put in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

His life was back on the ups!

God’s purpose for all that Joseph had gone through was starting to come full circle. It would also turn out that the lie the brothers had successfully gotten away with for many years, about finding Joseph’s robe drenched in blood, would come back to haunt them. Yet, these same family members that meant to harm their brother needed him for food during the famine.

Genesis 45:4-7 NKJV And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Wow! If could only imagine the look on Joseph’s brother’s faces. During their visits to Egypt they had no clue they were talking to their own brother until that moment. Joseph held no hatred towards them. He understood that they were not the ones in control of things and they were used to bring about a greater purpose. He was overjoyed when he realized he would see his father and his younger brother again too. The separation from his loved ones was hurtful, but God’s strength pulled him through and made him the great man he created him to be.

I’m sure you can relate to this in one way or another. Were you treated badly and tossed aside as if you didn’t matter? Did you experience the betrayal from a close family member, fiancé, friend, or co-worker? Did someone disregard you when you shared your vision with them? Did your spouse deceive you and find someone new? Did your employer let you go after several years of reliable service? Were you cheated, used, laughed at, shunned, bullied, or something worse? Were you moved around in foster homes all of your youth? What is your Joseph moment, what have you endured over the years?

Just like Jacob’s son’s played a role in God’s plan, those people that hurt you are playing their part in God’s plan for your life. It’s something you had to go through to get to where God wants to use you in a mighty way. No matter what it is God has already worked it out for good. Your tears and prayers were deposited and accounted for and you will reap something amazing.

If you don’t know how astounding God is by now you may want to start by reading the book of Genesis again. I am thankful for this passage. There are several unique treasures in each chapter. The wonder of the great I Am leaves me loving Him more than the day before when I read about His goodness because He is so real.

Just like the famine in Egypt, we are winding down to something really big here too. This nation can’t go on in the condition that it’s in and continue to thrive and prosper. We are quickly becoming a nation that does not want any part of God in our schools, government, or life. It’s like we don’t need God and we can get along fine without His interference. We don’t want His name mentioned and we definitely don’t reverence Him.

This can’t go on long and I strongly believe that you are being stretched hard right now because you will play a role in what’s ahead. The head will become the tail and riches will not be enough to get where God is taking His people. So thank God in advance that He will be using you for His awesomeness that is yet to come.

 

 

God Is So Quiet

We all have moments when God is quiet in our life. We can feel lost, confused, alone, and like we’ve been abandoned. This can be especially painful when we’ve been so used to His presence daily. Just months ago it seemed as if God was so near but now it’s like He’s gone into hiding. The more you pray it’s like a mute button is pushed. Pressure builds because you long to hear from Him. You don’t want to go down the wrong path and you need His guidance. His approval is everything and you want to be in His will.

But where’s He and what’s He up to?

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When answering that question let’s think back to Jesus’ life. As a man, He experienced separation from His Father. Though they were connected spiritually, they were not together as they had been for all of their existence. While Jesus suffered for our sins on Calvary, He quoted Psalm 22:1 My God, My God why has Thou forsaken Me? During these hours of quiet and darkness, Jesus felt alone beyond what we can phantom. Yet, in order for Jesus to fulfill His assignment and perfect God’s plan, God had to turn His face away from His only begotten Son because He could not look upon the evil of sin.

That didn’t mean The Almighty disappeared, but silence and feeling like you’re not in God’s presence is excruciating. I’ve come to realize God being mute is a huge part of our growth. It is at these times when He’s revealing our level of faith to us. He’s showing us how much we really trust Him and it’s all done out of love. You see, we can tell Jesus that we trust Him when things are going good—it’s easy to feel good when you want for nothing, but what do we do when we must find our way through the quietness?

It’s like that final you take in school. The teacher is silent during this phase. He/she will only answer the basic questions, which have nothing to do with the problems you’re being tested on. They don’t give you clues or help you out like in an open teaching session. You’re left on your own to demonstrate what you know.

Well God was the inventor of tests and there comes those moments when we must take our exam in order to move to the next phase. The good thing is He’s with us and has already provided us with the answers in the Bible. If we don’t pass we will need to retake the exam while remaining at the same level.

Imagine if Jesus didn’t fulfill His requirements for our redemption. I don’t know where we’d be but I’m thankful for His faith, obedience, and sacrifice.

Over time The Holy Spirit has been a patient teacher and has provided you with hour upon hour of instruction. He’s helped you by sharing on time words through pulpit teachings, the Bible, books, family, strangers, even devotionals. Some of those times He confirmed His presence with feelings of warmth, joy, and connection—but now it’s noiseless—and the perfect time for self-examination and fervent prayer.

God is waiting on and listening to your response to the silence right now!

Can you keep pressing forward when the tears keep falling and the pain is too great to bear? Can you believe God for a miracle when you can’t see a way out of your circumstance? Will you trust Him to do what He promised He would when it looks like a lost cause? Will you continue to sing praises of His wonder, beauty, and awesomeness when you don’t feel like it?

Psalm 62:5-8 NIV says, Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.

It will take you leaning on many scriptures like this to keep going when you hear nothing.

Right now I’m sure we all know someone that is going through one of the toughest times they have ever experienced in their life or you may be one of them. I am one of them too and if it wasn’t for my relationship with The Lord and my support system made up of family and friends, I’d be in total despair. Now, six years into my valley experience, I’ve seen so much beauty come from pain. I’ve been blessed to experience God in ways I’ve never imagined and have passed tests I never thought I would. I have learned to find contentment and appreciate the small things. It not always easy but it was God’s silence that kept me chasing after His presence.

As long as you acknowledge Him for who He is, you’ll realize that in His sovereignty He’s allowed to be silent—He’s God.

If you keep Him first you’ll come out of this stronger than before. You’ll be surprised about the work He’s performing in your life through stillness. You have to lean on God’s promises. You are never alone or left to carry any burdens by yourself. You will pass the test when you apply God’s awesome Word to your situation. Walk the tight rope of faith and take it one day at a time. Nothing is too hard for God. Trust Him to see you through because He’s so much more than what you already know Him to be.

 

My Situation Is Never Going To Change

No one likes going around the same mountain over and over again. And it’s frustrating to work so hard at something that seems to not be progressing. It’s a new year but same problems. And let’s not forget about the brick wall that suddenly appears when you finally have a running start.

The passion and vision once known exited long ago and has been replaced with bitterness and resentment. You’re emotionally worn out, physically exhausted, and believe God has better things to do than to tend to your issues. Family and friends say “stay positive, things will turn around for your good because God has a plan.” For the first few years you believed them along with the promises of God. But now, some years later, you just want out—you want to be free now!

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You want out of debt, for the court case to end, to carry a baby full term, to move to the next income bracket, your child to behave, the business to prosper, your talent to be noticed, to have more time for family, a vacation, healing, a home in a safer neighborhood, or to find love. But it feels like it’s so far away. The lengthy and rocky season of disappointments has taken a toll on you and your entire outlook.

If this sounds like your situation, God has a word for you.

I know it’s tough to see family and friends moving up and on with their lives while yours seems to be standing still. They’re being blessed (with some of the things you’ve been praying over for years) while you’re stressed. Some conceive a child on the first try while you’re in the fifth year of praying, fasting, and consulting with the doctor. You work every day, spend money responsibly, give tithes and offering, but still can’t break free from the grips of the financial struggle. Whatever your personal situation is, God has the outcome all planned out.

Everyone’s relationship and assignment for the Kingdom is different. There is always a reason behind the why and we can only find that intention if we don’t give up. Then and only then will you see why God had you to go through such a trial. You never know what the people that appear to have it all had to go through or what they deal with behind the scenes of their life. As such, God allows certain things to happen for others that don’t seem fair to us because He knows what He’s doing. He extends His grace how He sees fit according to His perfection.

You see, when God finally blesses you with the desires of your heart there will be others that don’t know your back story. They will view you as being lucky or they may envy you. It may appear to them that you have it easy because you’re blessed with something they want. But the truth is they don’t know about the nights you cried yourself to sleep, the times you wanted to throw in the towel, or the pain you carried.

God handpicked you to do something special and He knows what it takes to prepare you for it. He is with you every step of the way. What you are going through is bigger than you. Whenever we experience a trial in our life, God always has others in mind that will benefit from the hurt. The day will come when you will share your story with someone that can’t see a way out of their situation, but when you share your testimony they will see God’s glory and you won’t be able to take any of the credit.

Remember, just because your vision is blurred doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. And it’s possible that you’re spending your energy looking for it to happen your way while God is working it from another angle.

So know that your life is never at a standstill. Oh yes, it can appear that way but it’s not true. This is actually the best time to strengthen your bond with God and learn new things.

God won’t let you fall and tough times don’t last forever!

Greater is on the horizon and until then you can write a list of all of the things you are grateful for. God wants to teach us that He is always enough and none of our desires should come before Him. He is the source of everything we will ever want and need. He can fill every void you have and fix you where you’re broken. When the time is just right He will do just what He promised.

Psalm 34:17-19 NIV says, The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

God hears your cries for help and He will come through!

In the meantime it can be helpful to take your mind off of your situation by praying for others that are hurting. There are those that are in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, children being sexually abused and sold into sex trafficking, individuals with life changing health issues, homelessness, and those that don’t know Christ as Savior. Remember that you are blessed more than you know so don’t give up hope.

The Wolf in Sheep Clothing

Angry guy, fists up

Early last week I met a seemingly nice guy. We didn’t exchange phone numbers but I accepted his. After contacting him privately (by blocking my number) we had a few decent conversations. I explained my reasoning for calling private and he completely understood. He also knew that I was a minister as I shared that with him right off the bat.

Over talks were fine,  though we didn’t dive too deep in our conversations, it was noted that he claimed to be Christian (then again some people profess to be one without knowing what it means or entails). After those chats I felt comfortable enough to share my number. A couple of days passed by with no problems and by Thursday I was talking to a totally different person.

As it would turn out, this seemingly “cool” guy, was being used by the enemy.

By now you know that I run the art business as well as the ministry and Thursdays are the days that I dedicate solely to LQM. On these days I study more intensely, research, take care of any administrative tasks, and do most of my writing etc. That’s why I shouldn’t be surprised that this happened on that day.

Around 8 p.m., while finishing up some work, the phone rang and I answered in a good mood. “Hey preacher girl.” The guy said.

“Hey what’s up?” I responded.

His words were “I’m fine, what are you doing over there praying?”

“Okayyyyyyyyy, and why would I be answering the phone if I’m praying?”

“I don’t know I thought you prayed all day or something… ha ha ha!”

Though the questions resonate different with me now, I didn’t take them that serious until the talk proceeded. As we went deeper into what I expected to be a normal conversation, he asked “have you ever had any crazy experiences or met any crazy people since doing this?”

So I explained one incident in particular I’ve experienced since starting the teachings. Immediately thereafter, I’m being hit with a series of new questions, like, “have you ever studied the characters in the Bible, outside of the Bible?” I wasn’t clear on what he meant so I asked him to clarify.

Before I knew it, I was bated into a conversation that originally appeared to be about obtaining clarity and understanding, but turned out not to be so. When I noticed what was happening, I got quiet, just listened, and remained non-confrontational. I could have hung up the phone, got offended and defensive, or even got angry. But that wasn’t necessary.

He then went into detail about how the Bible is a folk tale of lies written by the “white man.” He expressed how there is nothing that proves the bible as being truth and there’s nothing noted in history about any characters in the Bible. He concluded with “history doesn’t lie.”

Proverbs 26:4 NKJV says, Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.

Though I responded a few times about what I knew to be true about God and the Bible, overall I let the militant-know-it-all stand on his pedestal to express his book smarts. The brief dialogue was a deliberate call to attack me. This guy showed hatred towards me because I am a Christ follower. He was especially irritated because I have the audacity to share the gospel with others.

Within the last year I’ve experienced some pretty obvious spiritual attacks, and here is another I’m adding to the list. This guy never wanted to know me, he wanted to throw stones at me.

But how was he to succeed with that nasty approach?

I ended the call by stating “okay I need to get back to work.” He responded with a snide remark, “okay you keep on living and trusting by faith.” Geez, if only you could’ve heard the evil in his voice when he uttered those words.

When that craziness was over I called my dad. During the first two minutes of me conversing with my father, this dude sends like eight text messages back to back. The militant warrior for the enemy was angry because I didn’t feed into his trap. I didn’t read the messages, but from skimming a few, he expressed how ignorant I must be for following a made up God.

See, it’s situations like this that assure me I’m doing the right thing. Jesus said that we will be hated for His sake. I never see or hear about Christians going after people and hating them because they don’t believe in Jesus.

John 15:18-19 NKJV says “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

People recognize that beautiful light in us. They want to snuff it out—but they can’t. Therefore, we have to constantly guard our heart and ask the Lord to reveal people to us—especially if we are single and dating, married, making decisions, raising children, or believing for something.

We are a target in this spiritual warfare and when we get weak or step into things blindly without asking for God’s help we will easily become distracted. This is why I spent the last two months teaching on the importance of a solid relationship with God and knowing who we are in Christ. Relationship and identity are detrimental to us living in these last days. Though this attack was obvious—some are not as obvious! We have to know how to defend our faith.

We can never get too comfortable believing that we got this just because we are close to God. We always need Him every moment of every day. We need wisdom, protection, guidance, and the spirit of discernment. I urge you to keep studying and praying for all of the saints. Some are not as strong, are lost, and are confused. Some are not sure if they are saved or cannot explain salvation to another. Even the strong can stumble and get hit unexpectedly. No matter where we all are in our walk, we are all family and we don’t want to see our brothers and sisters falling for the okie-doke.

 

Do You Know Who You Are? Part 3

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We’ve already explored the fact that you are not your career or social status, you’re definitely not who Satan says you are, and you’re no longer condemned because you’re e a child of the One True Living God. You’ve been adopted by the King of kings into His royal family and you are a new creation. The old nature that made you His enemy and a child of wrath has been replaced with a fresh living spirit. The Holy Spirit has made His home inside of your temple and you are a citizen of a new Kingdom.

When you believe on the Son of God, you are an heir and co-heir with Jesus and a royal priesthood, holy and acceptable in His sight. So He looks upon you with approval and great joy. All of these things say a lot about you. They also say a lot about our Sovereign God.

You were chosen by the Creator to be in a one-on-one relationship with Him eternally. You are a big part of His plan and very special in His eyes. You are alive to carry out a significant job. As much as you feel that you aren’t qualified—He says otherwise. As a soldier in Christ’s army and one of His ambassadors, you must be clear not to confuse what side you are on. Your identity always keeps you aligned with kingdom principles opposed to those contrary to our Lord’s. As His representative you are to protect His kingdom and guard your heart from allowing anything inside that does not belong. You stand up for Him and let no one drag His name or what He stands for through the mud. He admires your loyalty and it strengthens the bond between you two.

When God’s Spirit is deposited inside of you, you will reflect it. For instance we all know of many people that look just like one of their parents or someone else in the family. There is great resemblance. It is no different with you. When Christ came to the world His light shined so bright that people hated Him to death. Many didn’t want to accept the fact that He was the Christ. He reflected His Father’s glory. His very presence screamed King!

He knew who He was and regardless of who accepted Him or not, He had to complete the mission.

Since you resemble Christ, you too have a mission to complete. No matter what or who gets in the way there is something you were born to do. People should be able to look at you and notice that you are not like everyone else. You stand out from the crowd and your light and confidence keeps people wanting to know what the special thing is about you.

Your love for Him shows through your willingness to obey His teachings because you are His child. Also, never let anyone make you feel as though you don’t count or that you are not enough if you didn’t always follow the right path. Though the world may reject you, toss you out, shame you, use you up, or minimize your worth—God’s arms are always open, ready for you to come home like the prodigal son. Regardless of the damage or the issues you faced yesterday, you always have a Father that will pick you up when you fall.

Romans 8:38-39 KJV, For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You are loved unconditionally and nothing can separate you from that love—absolutely nothing! There is never ever a time when He isn’t there for you—He has you surrounded with His arms and an army of angels even when you think you are alone. Because of the nature of the Holy Spirit that resides in you, you have His grace to bear good fruit and start anew. You no longer have to depend on your works—total reliance on God is where you find your strength.

Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  

God has deposited potential along with His power inside of you to live as a conqueror, and He will lead you along the journey. The flesh does not have such stunning attributes, but we are blessed with these life-giving fruits of the Holy Spirit, which allow us to walk upright.

As a royal daughter, your worth is far above rubies, money, or any material possession. Underneath the make-up, nail polish, or designer labels—you’re a stunning beauty to behold. Your organs and vessels run like a well-oiled machine. Your body was sculpted and handcrafted as an original. You are delicately woven and stitched with care. He blessed you with a reproductive system that brings life into the world. If you don’t know by now how precious you are to the Lord, I pray that you will soon know how His heart beats for you. Your freedom from whatever you face is intertwined within your identity.

Do You Know Who You Are? Part 2

Who-Does-God-Say-You-Are

Since I’m focusing on Identity this month, it will be hard for you to understand who you are if you believe that God is not pleased with you.  He’s not looking at you with angry looks of disgust at every little thing you do or don’t do. When we feel that we aren’t measuring up as a perfect Christ-like follower, it will keep us from understanding the full picture of God’s love for us.

Condemnation is defined as the expression of very strong disapproval. Strongs describes katakrima (the Greek word for condemnation) as punishment following condemnation, penal servitude, penalty. In short condemnation is judgment. There will be judgment when we all stand before God to give an account for our life, but right now we are discussing day-to-day.

As I mentioned last week in part 1, I used to feel a lot of guilt and shame after confessing my wrongs to God—I’d feel absolutely terrible!

During my marriage, it seemed like I was always before Him asking for forgiveness. I didn’t understand why I was angered so easily or why marriage seemed so hard. I thought God was mad and appalled with me for not having a handle on my raging temper or some other things I repetitively did.

The guilt and shame I felt was overwhelming.

When I tell you I felt like a loser—I really did! I was heartbroken, and the shame contributed a lot to me being depressed throughout most of my marriage. I was mentally exhausted, and not to mention I felt that I contributed to my abuse, so I blamed myself. I was bombarded with wrong negative thoughts, and I held my head low before the Lord. I wanted Him to understand that letting Him down was really hurting me.

What I’m describing is not just the guilt you feel when you sincerely feel bad about something you did which leaves you with feelings of remorse. When you sincerely want to please God, and then hurt others, it’s natural to want the situation to be healed. So, what I’m talking about is a lingering guilt, the kind that does not come from God—but is of the devil. It’s the one that taunts you and makes you question if you’ve truly been forgiven by God or if He really loves you. The one that makes you feel low and unable to forgive yourself or accept the forgiveness from another.

Romans 8:1-2 NKJV says, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Since the scripture plainly teaches that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, it means I was the one opposing judgment upon myself. I accepted defeating guilty thoughts from the devil while thinking they were from God. My lack of self-forgiveness and understanding kept me in deception. I allowed the devil to contribute to my identity. He set booby traps in my mind and I kept falling for them.

What me, and so many other children of God are experiencing is something that does not line up with scripture. And when something does not line up with scripture, it’s a lie. Since the devil is the father of lies, then he’s clearly using this guilt trap to keep you from knowing who you are in Christ Jesus.

We are looking through life from what the law used to do—condemn. We are not judged by those standards anymore because Christ put it all to an end. Animals would be sacrificed continually to atone for sins—but no longer are. However, Christ, the innocent sacrificial Lamb, stood in the gap for this process so He is the final sacrifice. Now His grace covers everything that we could never get right before He came. Though there are definitely consequences for our actions and decisions, this is not the same thing as a guilty sentence from God. We are to bounce back and acknowledge that God’s love is powerful enough to set us free from sin because it defeated death.

As God’s child, you are forgiven, loved, cherished, rescued, and valuable—no matter what you have done, who you’ve done it with, or what you have been through. Only His blood and grace can cover over the hick ups in life. He’s gentle and truly wants you to know how great life can be when you discover the truth about Who He is.

When you fathom that there is no condemnation, you instantly draw closer to God. God never forces us to come to Him or to do His will, but His love is like a magnet and the sincerity and depth of it will pull you closer. The authenticity about you being so special to Him is incredible. It’s no secret. His love allows you to accept who you are because you are not a mistake. You are His masterpiece—flaws and all. You were designed as an original with unique traits and beautiful expression from the Spirit of the Artist—Jehovah!

In order to know who you are, you can only find that out from the One who made you. He has freed you from holding yourself prisoner, so please stop believing lies about who the devil says you are. Accept God’s forgiveness. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Take up your issues with God, learn from them and ask Him to see you through.

 

Do You Know Who You Are

Who-Does-God-Say-You-Are

This sounds like a rather simple question, but you’d be surprised—when asked, we normally explain what we do. You’ll likely ramble off a list of things like your physical description, accomplishments, or career. That’s cool if you’re auditioning for an acting role or a job interview, but this question isn’t related to getting a gig—it goes beneath the superficial. Why? Because if you are a child of God (not just His creation) we find our purpose in knowing who we are, what God means to us, what we mean to Him, and why we exist.

From a young age, I sensed that God had something planned for my life, but just like most believers, I had no clue about what it was or who I was. Yes, I knew I was George and Lynette’s daughter, born and raised in Detroit, believed in Jesus, knew my name among other things, but that was about it.

I didn’t know God’s love had anything to do with my identity. I didn’t grasp the layers of treasure buried beneath Jesus’ death on the cross, and I certainly didn’t know many of His attributes.

Through most of my twenties, I always thought God was mad at me whenever I messed up. After confessing my wrongs, I’d always be ashamed and full of guilt. Since I spent most of my time stuck in the New Testament, I didn’t even know how to decipher the meaning and context of the Old Testament. So I concluded that God was pretty angry. I believed some of what I read was contradicting, so my natural mind went back and forth on a lot of it. I ended up taking what I could from it and settled for what I could make sense of.

That all changed when I started to spend more time in fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit began to show me many mysteries of the Bible. It was no longer “a book” that I took to church on Sundays, or one that I opened to read Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs and then the New Testament (all but Revelation). Nope, it became life—something I hungered for and looked forward to reading. I stared asking God for help. In my Tanya voice, I would read a passage and say, “God I don’t understand this at all, what does that mean?” And it also didn’t hurt that I could pick up the phone and ask my dad tons of questions, which I’m sure he was more than delighted to answer… (smile)!

I can honestly say my walk started going to new heights when I realized that I loved and personally knew the God of the Bible. It was exciting when I started understanding who and what LaTanya really meant to God. I was blown away—and I still am!

In order to know who we are we have to know our history, not just history about our race (which is still important), but our spiritual history. When this world passes away our Spirit will live on. We are who God says we are—this is how we should describe ourselves from now on. We must see ourselves from His view.

John 8:31 NIV says, …”If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

This passage has come to life for many Christians. There are countless beautiful testimonies about how God’s truth has set them free. Along the way they found out who they were and the mental chains of bondage fell off.

Whether you were adopted, raised in a single parent home, don’t know who your parents are, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, been abused and molested, feel abandoned, are struggling with your sexual identity, or feel you no longer want to live—you can heal and overcome through your attachment to Christ Jesus.

A warped identity leaves us looking for love in all the wrong places, believing that marriage or a baby will solve our problems and fill the void. Therefore, some of us take on whatever toxic or unhealthy situation that comes our way. Some fight to fit in or be accepted by worldly people because they want to belong. Then instead of seeking after God, we seek after money and material things, hoping that they will make the pain go away—but they don’t. When you lie down in the quiet of the night, you are still struggling with the same thing—it hasn’t gone away, no matter how you try to suppress it.

We are at odds with ourselves internally all because we don’t know who we are. Our life choices and belief system is heavily saturated in who we believe we are. If you believe you aren’t good enough, you will display this in your actions across the board—what’s in you, bad or good, will come out.

Romans 5:6-9 NIV says, You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him.

God does not see a person that has not accepted or believed on His Son the way He sees someone that has. He sees a sinner as spiritually dead and in need of a Savior. He sees the believer (who were once ungodly) as spiritually alive in Christ. He hates sin so much that He wants no part of it and He won’t intermingle with it. Contrary to what people “think” the only way you can approach His throne in boldness with prayer and thanksgiving, is if you believe and accept His only begotten Son Jesus. The only way to the Father is through the Son—there is no other way!

If you believe, you’ve been cleansed in the blood and redeemed. The Father now sees righteousness when He views you instead of death. Though He hates all ongoing sins, they are already forgiven because of your right standing through Jesus.

Because of the blood transaction and belief, you belong to God’s family. You are His loving son or daughter. You are a part of a plan that is bigger than you. You’ve been accepted into a royal family and are now privileged, loved, blessed, rich, and royal.

He erased all of the damage and hurt that anyone and every sin has ever bought upon your life. You are rescued from them eternally.  Because of who you are and Who’s you are, you should be walking in humility and self-assurance. You no longer need to hide behind the wall of shame for anything you have done or been through.

Live from your true identity my friend. Once you grow into the person you were born to be, you will no longer just exist—you can live a life full of hope because your Father will take care of you.