Lies You Tell!

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11 Amp

I spent a good part of my life believing that my past, my failures and what people said or thought about me dictated who I was. I’ve even spent time defending my character to those who have or are trying to hold the past over my head. But something that was said in Sunday’s morning service shifted something in my thinking… My husband said to all the women in church, ‘You have power’… He has said this before, but that day, in that moment, I had to deliberately face those words. I had a choice to make: Believe what was true about me according to what GOD said or slide backwards and believe what the enemy tried to continuously plant in my mind for so many years.

See, the struggle has always been real for me…  Self esteem issues most of my life and it’s taken me all these years to realize that even the enemy believes in the principle of sowing and reaping; he starts early in the life of those who are hearing the word and can possibly choose a life serving God. He drops seeds of deception in the form of doubt, guilt, shame, self hate and whatever else he use against us to keep us from believing the truth of God’s word about us. Then when we are deceived, he escorts us further away from the plans God has for our life.

When you continually hear something about yourself, you believe it right? But what happens when you start to hear something that contradicts everything else you ever heard? What happens when the one who created the devil, the one who created you makes sure you hear another story? The manufacturer is the best source of information about something he created. Only the maker has naming rights; It’s time to reject every label that doesn’t agree with what God called you! The best way to do this is to focus on those things that mirror the truth of God’s word. It’s not only our daily instructions for living, but it helps our minds regenerate so we can have the mind of Christ, so we no longer buy into the lies the enemy continues to throw our way.

Tamar Lies We live in a time when deceit is at an all time high. I was so caught up in the lies of the enemy, it caused me to lie about some details of my life because of my own insecurities. It made my trust in God waver, and almost cost me my life, my marriage and so many other things. BUT GOD!!

As I reflect on the reminder in Ephesians 6, I arm myself daily to combat the lies of the enemy. If you take nothing else away, remember this:

  • The TRUTH of God’s word stops the lies of the enemy in his tracks. Jesus shut the enemy down in Matthew 4 with the Word.
  • Speaking the Truth aligns you with what God has said. Checking what you hear against His Word also ensures that you have the right information. A counterfeit can always be tested against what’s real and true.
  • Having faith and trusting in what God has said about us and about his promises for us is a weapon against the lies of the enemy.

Your failure did not negate the purpose God has for your life.

Being deceived and falling into sin did not make you ineligible to be used by God

Your wavering faith does not intimidate God! He is waiting for you to believe he Loves you, to submit to him, to submit to the process, and receive all that he has for you.

 

Maybe this isn’t your struggle; maybe you’ve never lied or fallen for a lie. But I encourage you to get into the Word of God; speak it over your life, speak it over your family and everything pertaining to you. When you change what you hear, you change what you believe!

 

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32

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The Stunted Step, Thrown In Towels & Peace

You’re probably wondering about this crazy title and how these things could possibly be related. Stay with me, there’s a method to my madness…

Year around, we celebrate various holidays, birthdays, graduations and other milestones, etc. and it always makes my heart heavy knowing that there are people out there who are not as happy as some on those days. The truth of the matter is that life is not fun and happy for everyone. Stepparents are among those groups of people who don’t always feel like they have a blessed and highly favored life.

 The Stunted Step – Step Parenting is such a sticky topic, because in many cases, no one expects the step-parent to have feelings and be a real person. I can speak about this, because I am a step mom to 3 amazing young ladies. And while my life has not been the absolute worst when it comes to this, there have been enough challenges. I thank God for the relationship I’ve always had with them as well as their mom. I affectionately call her my Baby Momma. J  The fact that she’s allowed me to share in the lives of these young women, throughout their lives has been a true blessing.

Then there are the low moments. Moments I’ve never really shared with anyone, because I’m supposed to don a cape and be a super – everything right? Not so much. I’ve always struggled with rejection. If I were a superhero, that would definitely be my kryptonite. It’s because of this that family events are not always easy. It’s hard to find your place as a stepparent; It sometimes seems that you’re important only when something needs to be done, when money is needed or when one of the biological parents can’t do something… Like you’re a last resort. It’s very difficult, because in spite of when you’re actually acknowledged, you’ve been there the entire time; like a silent spectator, an invisible person, who barely exists. I call the Stepparent a ‘stunted step, because anytime something is isolated from a source or cut off,  the growth is slowed down or halted. And it makes a person feel inadequate. You take the good when you can and you pray through the bad. Some of the time, you’re going along to get along. Especially when your marriage takes a back seat. Bam, there it is. The thing that some Christian stepparents won’t say. I can only speak about my experiences, but I know someone else has experienced this type of pain. You can’t really get in where you fit in; because it seems like you’re the square in the midst of a bunch of perfect circles. You truly have to rely on the power of God to pull you through these moments.

Thrown Towel

Even still, I’m grateful for those experiences. But will anyone keep it real and agree that there are times when life is so cruel, when the people who ‘love’ you hurt you… on purpose. When things happen that aren’t your fault, but you’re blamed anyway.. When you just want to gather up every towel you have and just throw them all in??? You may have a perfect life, all is well, or things never get to a point when you want to give up; but for some of us, we contemplate giving up at least once a week! Or so it seems… Seriously though. I’ve learned that throwing in the towel leaves a bunch of what ifs, would could have, should have or would have happened questions. It resolves nothing and more than anything, the issues that you have are still there.. If you give up, If I give up, it’s like slapping God in the face and denying him the power to work in our lives.

I’m preaching to myself: Don’t give up.. It’s easier said than done. But it’s easier than you think. It’s taking a stand that you will allow God to have the issues, that you will let him be God. He knows how to fight the battle better than we ever could. And in the midst of it all, he’ll give you peace if you’ll receive it. As hard as it is to stop thinking about and focusing on the things that cause you the most pain, focusing on the love that God has for you can release the peace that God has for you.

I’m not just saying this; God promises this. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’. Philippians 4:7. Our inheritance doesn’t diminish because of what we go through, and when we fail to focus on who and whose we are, we lose the joy that comes with being in fellowship with God.

 

Stay connected.

 

 

 

Traffic Jams

Pandora and YouTube provided the musical backdrop of my trip and although I ran into road construction and slow moving traffic, I was still set to arrive at our regional meeting in time to check a few emails and greet colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while or have never met in person. And looking ahead, there it was… The second traffic slowdown; But this one was at least a mile of parked cars on I-485S… Dang it! GPS was  telling me that I had 13 more miles before my exit. OK God, I’m just trying to get to where I’m going, can you help move this along? As seconds pass, I’m calculating the time it will take and hoping I can beat time. After what seemed like forever, cars finally start to move. Slowly but surely, I get to where I’m going with only 5 minutes to spare.

It wasn’t until I was on my way home (rushing to meet another deadline, Rehearsal, LOL) and stuck in traffic again that I realized that I potentially missed God trying to get my attention that morning. That afternoon, I submitted to the slow and stopped traffic, and listened, paying attention to everything around me. It was not ironic that I had been listening to a message on the prophetic and hearing from God. So I listened.

How many times do we miss the prompting of God, His instruction, His encouragement, His rebuke and His tender whisper of love because we’re always busy rushing to the next thing? When is He and He only the next thing? There are times when we desperately want to hear anything he is saying to us; but sometimes we miss it completely. 

I encourage you to be still and listen. (I’m seriously talking to myself) Take advantage of moments he may be speaking to you, answering your prayers and providing next steps. Turn the TV completely off and put your phone or other devices down. He is always there, waiting for us to take a break from busyness to give him our full attention.

The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who [diligently] seek Him and require Him [as their greatest need] will praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!        Psalm 22:26 AMP

I Could But…

A SITUATION really had me in my feelings recently.

I was almost to a point where I chose to do something that I would definitely have to repent for. You know what I mean? You’re just so hurt and so mad; you never thought you’d return to this feeling, to a point of tasting revenge… But knowing you shouldn’t do whatever your flesh was telling you to do. I just wanted to do me!

LISTEN, I WAS PISSED!!!! I’d been in this situation before, wishing there was something I could do, but feeling like my life was just rolling by scene by scene as I sat there watching it, paralyzed.

Anyway, I simmered with that hurt and anger over the course of a few days and today, God sent a word. The word EXPEDIENT rang deep in my spirit (convenient and practical, although possibly improper or immoral) Immediately, I knew that just because I was feeling some type of way and wanted to act on my emotions, God was trying to show me something. I’m like, God, can I just act out this time PLEASE…Oh don’t be fake and act like you haven’t just wanted to get away with a little revenge and then go back to doing the right things… 

So I read 1 Corinthians 6 and my toes were stepped on.. This passage says a lot, but  Verses 12-15 grabbed me. Paul was speaking to open immorality that was plaguing the church – Much like the body of Christ today. I read this in a few versions, just to get a full understanding of what was being said. The Message version was so straight up, I felt like I’d been slapped:

12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. 13 You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! 14-15 God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not.

Okay!!!!! I get your point Lord. I could have gotten a few minutes of revenge therapy BUT! Who am I living for? Who am I representing? Who am I blogging about, singing about, preaching about? Y’all, our witness cannot be destroyed because the enemy is busy. That’s his job! He’s faithful to his cause and we’d better learn to be faithful to the cause of Christ if that’s what we profess. It’s hard not to react or respond to the spirit that some people operate in; Shoot, that WE operate in sometimes if we keep it real! We have to daily commit ourselves to honoring God with everything we do: How we deal with and treat other people; how we react and respond to offenses and being wronged. We have got to get it. I have got to get it… Lesson learned.

God, forgive me for acting as if this thing was bigger than you; for giving it more attention than I gave you in that moment. Help me to focus on your promises to me, on your power that works in me; the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, the same power that gives me victory over any situation. God I pray for the person reading this now; endow them with more of your spirit and help them to remember that no situation trumps your love for us, your ability to pull us through whatever we face, even if it threatens to make us back track. Thank you for loving us in spite of the things we could do and decide to do, just because we want to, without giving your will for us any thought. Thank you for having a love that covers ALL our sins. I surrender to you God, I can’t, I won’t go backwards.. In Jesus’ name I pray and count it done, Amen.

T~

Just Me, Myself & I…

Some of the worst places to be are: left out, overlooked and feeling abandoned.

We’ve all been there right? Maybe you weren’t chosen to participate in a special project at  work and you looked on as others were chosen and acknowledged. Or perhaps your circle of friends planned an activity and somehow forgot to include you. You look around and see everyone involved in something and you feel like the fish in the fishbowl; Able to see everything, but you’re not a part of anything.

Well, you are NOT alone. I’ve been there and it’s not a place we’d normally choose to be. But what I’ve learned is that God sometimes allows us to be set apart from others, so he can have us to himself. It took me a while to understand this concept. But during one of those times, I decided that worship would be the company I keep. I would transform my atmosphere and not focus on who wasn’t there, but focus on WHO IS THERE.

God has never left us. We leave him to focus on so many other things, while he waits patiently for us to return to the only place we can truly be revived – In HIS presence. In Joshua 1, God reassures Joshua 3 times that he would be with him wherever he went. He admonished him in verse 9 to ‘Be Strong and of good courage and be not afraid’. Joshua was up against a huge task of leading Israel after Moses’ death. You can imagine the people who had a lot to say and already fixed in their hearts and minds not to support him. Even Jesus felt abandoned as he hung on the cross for a sinful world, crying out to his father, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’. If Jesus felt alone and left out, why would we think we’d never experience this?

I encourage you to cry out to the Lord. He is there waiting for your return, listening to your prayers. Take advantage of the blessing of being excluded; this gives you the perfect opportunity to sit at His feet and be reignited and rejuvenated. Stop looking for ways to feed your flesh and allow Him to feed your spirit. Read your bible. Turn on your favorite worship music. Or just be still and bask in His presence. He will let you know he’s there. “You make known to me the path of life; In His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore” Psalm 16:11

 

I’m praying for you and Love you!

T

I’m SO Offended!!

Good sense makes one slow to anger,  and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

I was highly offended today. I saw something that slighted me in a big way and I wasn’t expecting it. The irony of this is that I’ve been studying about how holding on to offenses will cause strife, bitterness, division, resentment, unforgiveness and even hatred.

As soon as I thought about how this thing offended me, I caught myself; Nope, I will NOT be offended by this, not today. I refused to allow it to take me outside my character, refused to let the enemy get anything from me today. It’s what he wants, it’s how he is tricking us into sin in this season.

What is offense?  Greek: skandalon -The name of the part of the trap on which the bait hung that lured the animal into the trap; A hindrance or a stumbling block.

When we are easily offended, or when we hold on to these things, we open a door for the enemy to come in and wreak havoc in our lives and in relationships with others. And trust me, he WILL come in and take advantage of everything. The condition of your heart will be exposed by offense.

How do we combat it?

First of all, there must be a self examination. Are you holding on to unforgiveness? Proverbs 4:23 warns us to guard our hearts! When you’re offended by something, whether it’s justifiable or not, don’t allow the seed of offense to take root. Psalm 119:165Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.

Strive not to BE offensive. Yes, that means, you can’t do the things to other people that you hate having done to you. 2 Corinthians 6:3 says that we are not to put any obstruction in anyone’s way. We should seek to be at peace with people, knowing that no one will agree with us always. Selfishness, pride and immaturity is at the heart of most offenses.

Finally, FORGIVE. Regardless of the offense, have a heart that forgives. I heard Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church comment that Christians are the most easily offended people in the world. This is in direct conflict of what we believe! We believe in and serve a God that sent his ONLY Son, Jesus to die for EVERY offense that anyone in this world could ever commit. BUT YET, we are quick to be offended and even quicker to retaliate.

I know what you’re thinking; it’s easier said than done. Trust me, I’ve had to forgive under so many circumstances, that I know only God has given me the power to forgive. In my strength, it would not have been possible. I’ve had to ‘suck up’ my feelings, put on my big girl pants and allow God to be seen in my actions and reactions. IT IS HARD, because our flesh wants the final say, we want to be in control and we want to see our offenders punished immediately.

The key verse ‘Good sense makes one slow to anger,  and it is his glory to overlook an offense.’ Proverbs 19:11 Reminds us that we should be thoughtful and use wisdom before responding to offense. Consider the source of the feelings. Pray about it. Look at it from a different perspective. If you have to approach the person that offended you, go in a spirit of Love. Ask God to help you say the right thing, so you’re not returning offense for offense.

GOD, I REALLY need your help dealing with this. Although I feel slighted, I know that YOU love me and you will make this work for my good. Show me how to handle this situation, or if any action on my part is required at all. Shine a light on my flaws, on how I may be wrong or have the wrong perception of this. I forgive the offender and ask that You bless them in the area they may be weak; mend any brokenness they may be experiencing. Move as only you can. I bind the spirit of haughtiness and the effects of offense in Jesus’ name and loose a spirit of God’s Love, forgiveness and a spirit of humility and peace. In Jesus’s name, Amen!

What do you do when you get offended?

Just a Hint of Encouragement

There’s so many times when I wish someone had an encouraging word to say to me. As I started getting closer to God, He encouraged me in His word, He sent encouragement via calls, text messages, emails, etc. Then He gave me the ability to encourage others. It’s something I love to do!

If this finds you in need of a lift, a boost, a kind word, you’re absolutely in the right place!

·        Someone is buried under a ton of responsibilities, at work, home or in ministry… Some of which are not yours. But stay the course, your faithfulness will be rewarded; God sees you! Luke 12:6-7

·        Someone is thinking about the issues they face – financial, spiritual, emotional, troubles at home… lift your head, your issues are smaller than your God. Psalm 147:5

·        Someone is dwelling on something that happened years ago; bitterness has darkened your heart. Forgive who has offended you and then forgive yourself if necessary. Don’t hinder your destiny by holding on to the backpack of the past. Hebrews 12:14-15, Luke 9:62

·        Someone is wondering if they will ever be good enough; if they will ever get something right… Psalm 138:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9

 There are a million things you can focus on, but focus on the one who loves you infinitely more than you can ever imagine; the one who knows you by name, the one who will never leave you nor forsake you!

 Be encouraged today. What you face is nothing compared to our mighty God! Our Abba Father!

 #SpeakLife