Monday, October 26, 2009
Self-control. The best one (and hardest one) is always the last! Self- control is defined as the ability to exercise restraint or control over one's feelings, emotions, reactions, etc. WOW! How many of us have that one down?! (I ain't where I need to be, but thank GOD I ain't where I used to be!) Early on in my marriage self-control was non-existent for me. My husband called it CRAZY ( I have since graduated to Complexed in his book), but nevertheless, I was out of control! I would say whatever I felt like saying and did whatever I felt like doing at times. 98% of my responses where merely off of emotions and nothing else. It is a dangerous thing to operate off of feelings and emotions. I am a very emotional person. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and when things don't go just the way I planned (notice I said I), then it's WWIII!
But if you notice in the bible there is hardly any mention, if any at all, about feelings and emotions. We MUST get somewhere in God, learn and practice his word, and stay away from the ungodly things. A lot of the time we act off of emotions because of some void that we have in our lives. Some voids that we have include but are not limited to, shopping, eating, spending, men, drugs, alcohol and so on. We must get to the root of our issues or voids, ask God to deliver us from them so that we may begin to live productive, righteous and Godly lives.
The Fruits of the Spirit is an awesome guideline for our spiritual walk, but we must first fall in love with the Lord and allow him to lead us. It's time out for playing Christian. We must be leaders and examples for the younger generations as well as one another. We have to teach them what we did not learn, but we have to be able to recognize what that is first. Lay before the Lord and ask him to show you yourself. You have to make sure you are ready because it won't be pretty. Trust him in all things and he won't lead you wrong. I hope you all have been thoroughly blessed by the Fruits of the Spirit and this blog. I will continue to post things as God reveals them to me. You all are beautiful and awesome women of God! Let's start letting our lights shine before men. It will make a world of difference.
I will leave you with this, 1 Peter 1:13 says, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Be blessed and have an awesome day!
Gentleness is defined as considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender. Meek is another word we may relate to gentleness. As a mother, wife, and an educator, sometimes it is difficult to be gentle. I think with kids we expect them to understand or "get" certain things and when they don't we almost treat them like adults! They require us to be gentle especially when we are teaching them right from wrong. We must be gentle with not only children, but with adults as well. Ephesians 4:2 says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
I think about when our children are sick how tender and attentive we are. We are there for their every beck and call, we speak mildly to them, and we are very considerate of them because they are in such a vulnerable state. I have been home with my daughter through this bout of sickness that she has had and it was like God revealed to me that I needed to administer this same gentleness that I was showing toward my daughter toward EVERYONE, ALL THE TIME! God is so amazing and has such a clear way of getting things through to us.
In gentleness we draw people near to us. People have a way of letting down their guards when they see that we have a genuine care and concern for them. This is the perfect opportunity to allow the power of God to shine through you. We have to take advantage of every moment. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." We have power in our tongue. We have the choice to say the right thing or the wrong thing. I have learned from experience that gentleness leads to peace and there is nothing like peace everywhere you go! But in order to exhibit gentleness and have peace we must have love in our hearts for one another.
I will leave you with this, "2 Timothy 2:24-25 (NIV)
24And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth."
Be blessed and have a wonderful day!
There is so much going on in the world today that it is almost overwhelming to watch television or read the newspaper. There is disease, natural catastrophes, wars, and so on. After September 11, I was a nervous wreck! My husband was living in one state and I was in another. I would have an anxiety attack if I saw the newspaper, much less read it! I was driven by fear in my life! It was literally controlling me from day to day. I have since grown in my walk with the Lord and have received what his word says to me. I am challenged everyday by something. Satan is on the prowl and as John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." That verse alone gives me so much peace and hope. Satan will come in and try to attack our family, friends, jobs, anything he can get his hands on. But we MUST remain faithful and remember who has all control! When I feel attacks coming on, I repeat the verse "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. I have faith in that scripture! I have faith in God!
We must have the faith of a mustard seed, but so many times we want to try to figure things out ourselves or we will even waiver. When we do this, God can't complete his work in a thing. We have to be completely faithful regardless of what the odds are. I know that God can do anything that he wants. And when we have faith in a thing and God does deliver, we have to share it! Don't sit on it and keep it to yourself. Go out and tell others about his GOODNESS! When you do that, they are going to try and figure out how they can experience that same goodness!
When we have faith God strengthens us and guards us. How do we get faith? Prayer, studying God words, and allow him to dwell within you. That comes from loving ourselves and others, having joy and peace, being kind and good...you get the idea. We have to trust God and lean and depend on his word. He is able. He just wants us to give him the opportunity to show us how. Now one problem we do have is we want to have faith, but not play apart in it. James 2:20 says, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" We can't have faith in God for us to get a job, but you haven't filled out one application or made one phone call. We have to work at it to show God that we do believe.
I will leave you with this (it leaves me with chills and a huge smile on my face), "It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.Lamentations 3: 22-23
Sunday, October 25, 2009
So often we say, "God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good!" He truly is! He allows us to get up in the morning, we have breath in our bodies, jobs to go to, families to care for, roofs over our heads, clothes on our backs. The list is endless. Anytime I feel myself getting down or discouraged, I always think of his goodness (it quickly gets the devil off your back too). I find something to praise him for, because there is always something.
Kindness and goodness run parallel to one another. It is by God's goodness that we are able to receive forgiveness for our sins and have good things within our lives. God is kind and good. As a matter of fact, God possesses ALL of the fruits. It is so amazing to know that regardless of how lowly we are, that he is still kind and good to us and available to us. We have to practice those same things. Being kind and good to others will not only bless them, but you as well. God sees and God knows. Ephesians 5:8-9 tells us, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)." God looks at our hearts and if our hearts are right, that's what matters to him. Let's be women after God's own heart! Let's practice being "good."
I will leave you with this, And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Exodus 33:19
Be blessed and have an awesome day!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
We as women, especially black women, have a tendency to get somebody "told" real quick. I am guilty of it myself. What I have learned is, this isn't always effective, if ever. We must practice being kind, and as the scripture says, it should not leave us. I know from experience, and Jeremiah 31:3 says it best, The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. I was in a retail store once and the salesperson was just the rudest you could ever imagine. My first instinct was to get an attitude back and find her manager! But I remained calm, kept a smile on my face and spoke very politely through the whole transaction. By the time I was leaving out of the store, she was a completely different person from when I first walked in. I drew her and I was excited about it! That is the kind of stuff God wants us to exhibit in our walk. It's real easy to act a fool, but how wonderful it is to win someone over with kindness!
My husband often tells me, you can be real nice in the streets, but when you come home it's Brunhilda the Witch! The sad part about it is that it's true! We have a tendency to take our frustrations out on those closest to us. Not only do we have to practice kindness in the public, but in private as well. We think a lot of times if no on sees it, then I'm good. God sees it and ultimately he is the one who matters! I love the Proverbs 31 Woman! That virtuous woman in verse 26 opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Kindness allows us to stay calm and know how to do what God expects us to do.
Kindness is defined as the quality of being warmhearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic. Kind acts can be seen through a simple smile, a kiss on a baby's hurt knee, a mild tone, or any type of thoughtful gesture. A kind act may turn someones day completely around. Let's practice being kind always!
I will leave you with this: "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night..." Psalm 92:1-2.
Have an awesome day! Be blessed.
Patience is the ability to bear trials without grumbling; perseverance. James tells us in the scripture that trouble will come, but don't worry one bit. Rejoice because all it's doing is perfecting you to become a complete person in God, lacking nothing! It is my desire to be whole and complete in God, but we have to go through some things. I parallel that to how can you relate and truly understand the word of God and other people if you have never been through anything. What we cannot do is allow the devil to come in and deter us through that process, because a lot of times when we are being tried, we justify or try to find our own way out instead of waiting on the Lord, which in turn causes us not to experience that transformation in God, because we did not learn the lesson. And we all know when you do not learn the lesson we must be retested!
The story of Job is probably one that we automatically think of when we hear the word patience. We have often heard, "I just need the patience of Job." Job endured A LOT! Job wasn't your typical person. He was blameless and upright. He feared God and shunned evil (1:1). Job had a beautiful family, a nice home, a great job, and was a model Christian with a powerful prayer life! What more could you want in life? But that old devil just insisted to God that no one loved God from pure motives. He figures all people want God for are his material blessings. The more powerful point in this story for me is that God allowed Satan to strike Job. He was robbed and his servants were killed (1: 14-15), his sheep were burned from a natural catastrophe (1:16), ALL of his children were killed (1:18-19). Mind you, this all happened in a matter of minutes. It wasn't like he had time to recover from one thing before the next one happened! But Job didn't hoop and holler and question God. He immediately fell to the ground and worshiped God!(1:20). How many of us could do that? As the story went on, Job did complain and he had a bit of self righteousness going on, but he repented and acknowledged his own ignorance and insignificance. Once Job acknowledged God's sovereignty over his life, then he restored all of his worldly goods twofold!
God is a compassionate and merciful God. He intended all Job endured for his good! He doesn't want us to suffer. All God wants us to do is submit ourselves to him COMPLETELY. We want to hold on to what we THINK we can control and give God what is most comfortable for us. God wants to do it all. That's what he is there for. Let's allow God to do his job because we cannot!
I'll leave you with this: " By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls." Luke 21: 19
Be blessed and have an awesome day!
Love you all,
Friday, October 23, 2009
I love this verse. It is such a refreshing feeling to know that God is guarding us. There is no better protection on Earth! But not only is he guarding us, he is keeping us in perfect peace. The kicker comes in on the part that says "whose mind is stayed on you." A lot of times we pray for peace, but our hearts and minds are all scrambled up! We must fully commit ourselves to the Lord and lean on him to be in that perfect peace.
I am real big on everyone being quiet (considering I have four kids that almost never happens), but on those rare occasions when my kids are all quiet in the car and I'm not having to referee, answer fifty million questions, or listen to Sharktales on the DVD player for the 27th time in two days, it is one of my top ten best feelings in the world! To have peace is such an awesome and rewarding experience! Although I sit and write these blogs at 1:00 a.m. (when I should be in the bed), the peace of sitting here letting the Lord just have his way with me without a single soul stirring in my house just puts my mind and heart at ease.
Keeping our mind stayed on God is challenging considering we have to work, take care of the house, and children. When you are always moving and there are a hundred things going on around you, peace is hard to come by! Regardless of what it is, we have to make it happen. We have to find that moment to say a prayer, tell God Thank you, or even ask for strength. My kids seem to think they must go everywhere with me, even to the little girl's room. But at times I have to tell my husband to keep them away from the bathroom door for five minutes, all I need is five minutes. During that five minutes, I collect myself and get focused! It's in the small things that I go and find my peace. God sees our faithfulness and will reward us for it, but we must make that conscious effort to spend that time with him to find peace in our lives.
God desires for us to seek peace, live in peace, and be peacemakers. Let's break that down, shall we.
Seeking peace: Psalm 34:14 says, "Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." In order to seek peace, we must turn away from the things that are not in line with God's word and do those things which are. We must operate with a good, clean heart in order to even go after peace. So if you are not right, don't even try to gain peace. Get the junk out of your life and then go after peace. You are fighting a losing battle if you don't.
Living in Peace: Romans 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We have to look at ourselves and no one else and live in peace with everyone. We cannot depend on others for our peace, we must get it for ourselves! In other words, don't wait on someone else to do what you think that should do and then get peace about it. Get peace regardless of what is going on around you and let it be apart of you and you allow it to flood over into someone's life.
Being Peacemakers: James 3:18 says, "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." We have to create peace in situations. I hate for people to fight or be mad at one another, so I am usually the one who tries and patch things up! God wants us to fix things! Of course we have to use wisdom in doing them, but he wants us to help others find peace. Psalm 29:11 says, "The Lord blesses people with peace." People with peace are an asset. They are making things right, because through peace we avoid a lot of confusion.
Peace keeps us focused on the things of God. When everything is in disarray, we cannot function effectively in God. Whatever it takes for you to find that peace, make sure you get it done. Don't go without it! Peace keeps us in tune with the Holy Spirit. We have to be at peace with our fellow man, we have to have peace on our jobs, peace is a must at home. Where there is disorder (which is the opposite of peace) the devil has a lot of room to work. He wants us to stay all out order and confused.
I will leave you with this, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." Colossians 3:15
May God continue to bless each of you!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I have been anticipating sitting down writing this blog tonight because I had, what I like to call, a mini-mental meltdown today! I started to feel sooo guilty about writing to you all about joy and I was searching for mine for a minute today! But we live and we learn and we share. I'm not perfect by any sense of the word, but I am constantly praying for the Lord to show me myself so that I can do better! So know that either I'm in your shoes on certain issues or have been at one point or another. God is good through it all because what I have done is regained my joy through the post despite what tricks the devil tried today! Now that I have had my counseling session, let's move on to joy!
John 5:11 says, "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
This verse alone tells us that God wants us to have joy in our lives. Not just any old joy, his joy! A lot of times we confuse joy with happiness. At one point in my life I would have argued that they were the same thing, but now that my relationship with the Lord has grown, I realize the difference. Happiness is something that the world gives us. We get happy if we get a new pair of shoes. We get happy when our kids bring home a report card with straight A's. Happy is when our husbands say, you don't have to cook, I brought pizza! And if y'all are like me, you aren't always happy. Especially when you have a parent teacher conference with your child's teacher about bad behavior or when you have slaved around the house cooking and cleaning and no one seems to respect it or care! But the good news is through it all, we can still maintain our joy!
Joy comes from the Lord, not the world. It cannot be taken away if we are operating in the holy spirit and trusting God through all things. "For his anger is but for a moment,and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. " Here in Psalms 30:5, it tells us that it may be some hard stuff for a moment, but we have favor with the Lord and when it is all over, there is JOY unspeakable! Because whatever we go through is all for our good and the building up of our character. We have to believe that and receive it in our hearts so that the Lord can start transforming us! Joy is wearing a smile when our heart is breaking inside so that we may bless someone else. Joy is, as someone put it, dancing in the middle of the storm! Ladies, whatever you are going through remember, it can always be worse! We have to find our joy, because that is what keeps us going. To me it's the assurance that God is right there blessing you through the rough times.
You may be wondering, how do I get joy? Joy comes from the word of God and our personal relationships with him. Not just reading it and talking about it in bible study, but by applying it to our lives. Going out and living it EVERYDAY and trusting God wholehearted!
I will leave you with this verse from Psalm 5:11, "But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits."
May the Lord continue to bless and keep each of you!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
What profound scriptures! If we could just focus on the Fruits of the Spirit, what a life we would have! In order to possess the fruits of the spirit, we must first be filled with the Holy Spirit so that God can operate in us and build our character. The spirit allows us to be more in tune with God's word. Sometimes the spirit operates in me in such a profound way, but then other times I wonder if it is even there! I know that it is there because God is always with me. I recognize that the latter happens when I have the wrong "junk" going on in me. When I get too bombarded with the things of the world, it weighs on my spiritual man and then I am not able to perform on the level that God expects of me (which keeps me from possessing the fruits of the spirit in its entirety).
I would like to breakdown the Fruits of the Spirit and do this particular blog in a series because you all that know me well, know that I can be a bit long winded! lol Let 's first start off with love.
Oh, good old love! We all love to be in love! I think one thing that messes a lot of us up with love is that we think it's strictly an emotion. So many marriages end because people think I'll have this gorgeous wedding, the house with the picket fence, and we'll walk off in the sunset! Screeeeech! Reverse! No ma'am. That's not exactly how it works, but when you go in blindsided like that, you want to quit! I know when I first got married I was like, "I didn't sign up for this!" Don't get me wrong, I would not trade my husband for all of the tea in China, but we've hit quite a few bumps in the road! That's where "in love" has to take a backseat and agape love has to move on in.
We have to have agape love for one another. Agape love is defined as a love that is always giving, never to be taken. Now that's some strong stuff, but do we truly know what that entails? God loves each of us with agape love. Think about all of the things that you do that is not in line with God's words. Think about all of the senseless violence that goes on everyday. Look at the condition of our world. God loves us unconditionally through all of that. 1 John 4:8 says, "He who does not LOVE does not know God, for God is love." God is love, he is our father, so we inturn have to exhibit that same kind of love. We like to love through the good times, but your love walk is tested when that husband walks in at 3 a.m. or if someone gets in your face and calls you everything, but the child of God. It's hard but we have to make LOVE a habit! We must love through the pain, the hurt, the disappointments, and the mistakes.
My mother in law once told me, "In order to love your husband and your children, you must fall in love with the Lord first." That stuck with me. It took me a while to get it, but boy when I did! It took my relationship with the Lord to a whole other level. When I started giving God that attention like I was giving my husband (which by the way would be classified in some states as a stalker), he made everything right! I do not have to worry about anything! Matthew 22:37-38 says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Now if it is the first and the greatest, y'all need to get on board. If we surrender to God, submit to his will, and give Him our all, he will make everything else right!
I challenge each of you to read 1 John 4: 7-21. It talks about loving as Christ loved. Verse 12 says, "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love has been perfected in us." God has done all of the work. All we have to do is love! The next time your husband does something to tee you off, love him! I have made love such a habit with my husband that when we are having a disagreement about something I'll just say, "I love you!" in the nicest tone possible with a smile! At first he would say, you just saying that because you know you're wrong." Now he realizes I refuse to give the devil not one piece of my ground. God leads me to get whatever issue it is resolved by any means necessary!
If you don't know what love is, read 1 Corinthians 13: 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Let's make LOVE a habit! I hope you all have a beautiful and blessed day!!!
Joy is next!
Friday, October 16, 2009
I was truly blessed this morning by a friend's post on the story of Mary and Martha. I wanted to delve into it a little more because of the inspiration that I received from it. We as women have a lot on our plates from being a wife, mother, friend, employee, etc... So often we get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle, we forget about spending that intimate time with God. We don't want to add not one more thing to our all ready long list of things to do!
I have learned that God is always there. We just have to get still long enough to feel his presence in our lives. He will provide us with what we need in any given situation. We all have trials and tribulations, God never said we wouldn't, but I believe at the end of the day if we just meditate on his word and APPLY it to our LIFE and not just write blogs, send emails, profess around the "right" people, then we cannot fail. We have to sit at his feet just as Mary did.
I must admit that I do have the "Martha Syndrome" at times. The song goes a little like this:
"Why isn't anyone helping ME! I have this, this, and that to do!" "I'M tired!" We get so consumed about the things of this world that we don't focus on what is important, Jesus Christ. Mary demanded that Jesus tell Martha to help her! She demanded JESUS! His response to her was this:
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Mary chose the good part! Ladies, we have to choose the good part to be successful in this life and in our walk with the Lord. We must nurture our souls with the word of God so that we can be good mothers, wives, friends, etc... If we take that energy that we use on the things that do not matter, that we cannot change, and focus on the things of GOD... WOW! What power would we have!
Let's get out of the Martha way of thinking and get a Mary attitude!!! God wants us to have life and have it in abundance! We deserve to have joy and peace in our lives, our husbands deserve it, our kids deserve it, our family and friends deserve it. Let's change our mindset and stop sweating the small stuff and get on fire for the Lord!