Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Have you ever looked around and saw all the world’s travesties and wondered, “Where is God?” Have you ever felt weighted by the burdens of your own life and questioned whether God exists or whether He cares for you? Well, if you answered “no” to either or both of these questions, then this post is not for you.

A few weeks ago, I was watching an episode of a popular cable talk show. The host quoted a statistic stating that the rates of those who identified themselves as Christians were declining. The numbers were particularly low among Millennials. As I was wondering why such was the case, God laid Joshua 24:31 and Judges 2:6-12 on my heart.

“The people of Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him–those who had personally experienced all that the LORD had done for Israel,” (Joshua 24:31, NLT).

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger, (Judges 2:6-12).

Get this! The passages say that the people didn’t turn from God until after Joshua and those under his leadership had died—those who had personally experienced what God had done for Israel. I read this the other day, and it stopped me in my tracks. Notice what the passages were saying. The younger generation did not believe nor worship God because they neither saw nor heard of His goodness. Much like today. Many of our youth have never seen nor heard of the goodness of God from their predecessors. We can’t talk about God at work. We can’t talk about Him at school. We can’t talk about Him in government. So, we just stop talking about Him. Many of us who have seen the goodness of God have become conditioned to being quiet. As a result, we are raising a generation that does not know the God of Israel and are worshiping the gods of the people around them. I wonder how many time when we ask the question, “Where is God,” we miss seeing Him because we don’t recognize what He looks like. Are we so wrapped up in our circumstances that we are not telling the younger generation the miracles that we have seen and experienced? I know that I have been guilty of doing so in my life. There have been so many good things that have happened in my life that I have kept to myself. How could people truly know my God if they cannot see Him working in my life?

Here is the simple truth: Life IS challenging. Sometimes the road before us is toilsome and difficult. But in life we only get two choices: Roll over and play dead or dig our heels in and press forward. We must remember that God hears and answers our prayers—ALL OF THEM. What many of us fail to realize is that when we moan and worry, that too is a form of prayer, and God WILL answer those prayers.

26 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die, (Numbers 14:26-35, NIV).

Thank God, that by grace, each day, we are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and that God is faithful even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). With that said, we must still remember that Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death lies in the tongue. Day after day, the Israelites complained and declared that God would not promote them. So, finally, He answer their prayers, and many of them died before seeing the promises that God had in store for them.

Lord, I know that there are people reading this devotional today who are hurting. Right now, it might feel as though they are barely putting one foot in front of the other to keep going. They might just be going through the motions. They might even feel as though you have forgotten about them. Lord, I pray that you touch them in the ways that only you can. Remind them that you are faithful and that you have a plan for their lives. Heal them, Lord. Restore them. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Advertisements

20140218_002633-1

 A little over a year ago, I made a Joshua 1:9 declaration over my life. I even went as far as to post it on my wall. Lesson one: Be careful what you pray for. Lesson two: God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Becoming strong and courageous did not occur in a vacuum. Over the past year, God has developed my courage under fire. During that time, I’ve learned who I am. I’ve also learned who I’m not. Most importantly, I’ve learned not to allow myself to be a “whipping boy” and not to allow others to define me through their insecurities. Oftentimes, insecure people tend to project their short comings on to others. Lately, I’ve become good at deflecting other people’s projectile. I’ve learned that I am not who people say I am. I am who God says I am.

In a world where everyone seems to have an opinion on everyone else, we have to make sure that when we are dealing with our issues, they’re actually our issues and not ones that other people have weighted on our shoulders. The truth is, each one of us has a heavy enough cross to bear without taking on someone else’s.

One of the best, and probably most important, lessons that I’ve learned this year is that it is okay, and even necessary, to evolve even if my evolution is not well received by everyone. For some of us, we have allowed ourselves, for too long, to become a doormat. The problem is, when we try to break out of the “whipping boy” mold, some people get very upset because they like the status quo. They have grown accustomed to being placed on a pedestal, and when we decide that we want off their emotional rollercoaster, they will often say things like, “you’ve changed” or “you have an attitude” to try to evoke guilt. Here’s what I say to that: MOVE ON!!!

Being strong and courageous during this season has taught me a lot about myself, especially in the areas of life, love and friendship. I have learned that relationships, whether business or personal, are meant to edify. If BOTH parties do not bring out the best in each other, then there are no fruits in that relationship. The most important lesson here is to know who we are and know what we deserve. We should not be made afraid to move on if we are made to feel less than worthy. This year, I’ve had to move on and distance myself from people who deliberately see the worse in me and who consistently try to convince me that I am who I’m not. They try to define my life by their parameters.

My parting thoughts are this: You are strong and courageous. Find people who will reaffirm you and remind you of this. Know that words are powerful and have a lasting impact. Distance yourself from people who have negative speak. If someone ALWAYS sees the worse in you AND/OR others, then that’s not the person you want to be around because they will destroy your spirit and steel your hope. Trust me. I’ve been there. Move on! You will NEVER be who God had called you to be if you don’t have a spirit that is ready to embrace His blessings. You CANNOT develop that spirit in the midst of negativity. Think about how many Israelites missed the opportunity to see the Promised Land because they were sorrounded by negativity. The Bible says that an entire generation died and wondered the desert for 40 years because of their negativity, disbelief and lack of faith. In part, many missed the promise because of their environment. You see friend, your environment does matter. The wrong environment could cost you your future.  Remember, despite what any one else says, you are STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!

Screenshot_2015-05-03-19-15-13-1

It’s so easy to want to give up. It’s so easy to throw in the towel because we feel like we’ve spent forever planting seeds with no signs of a harvest.  In a world filled with billions of people, it’s easy to wonder whether God even knows our name or whether He even knows that we exist.

Recently, I was thinking about my blog. I wondered whether I was truly making a difference or just wasting my time.  I wondered whether a few words on a computer screen could actually make a difference in someone’s life. That’s when God reminded me of what He said in Matthew 18:12:  “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost,” (NLT).

Many of us erroneously think that God only care about the masses.  However, while He does care for us collectively, He also cares about us individually.  According to the passage above, God notices when even one of us has wandered away-when our hearts are broken; when our faith is low or even when we have given up on Him and walked away. The above passage assures us that He will leave everything to pursue us and bring us back to Him.

As God gave me revelation, I began to apply it to my blog. Even if only one person were to ever read my blog, God’s purpose would have been accomplished because he cares about the one. While my blog might not be read by millions of people, I am still able to see God move through my expression of His words.  My blog has been accessed in nations where the Gospel isn’t always welcomed. Therefore, if one person in a foreign nation “accidentally” stumbles onto my page and is introduced to the Word of God, then my job is done.

Tonight, if you are feeling overlooked and as if God has forgotten about you, remember that you are one out of a hundred.  Know that God see, and most importantly, He cares.  “What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it,” (Matthew 10:29, NLT).

Know that if you are waiting for God to move in your life, He will.  If you feel like everyone around you is prospering and you are standing still, know that God hasn’t forgotten about you.  Keep faith. You’re up next! You are the one!