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Godly Wisdom - Seek It

Godly Wisdom – Seek It
Our women’s ministry is currently reading and discussing a bible study entitled, Wisdom: Making Life Work by Bill Hybels. The fact that we like many realize we need God’s wisdom in order to be effective in this world. The absence of God’s wisdom is like riding a carousal. You are going around and around and nothing in your life is changing for the better. Our way of thinking, our choices, our conversations, and even the company we keep are still the same. Wisdom is the key to progress and promotion. Bill Hybels shared a truth that he noticed between a wise and an unwise person. He stated, “I can think of a number of people who have neither dazzling talents, stellar credentials, nor charismatic personalities, but who nonetheless have risen to places of strategic importance because they have handled themselves wisely in their workplace over a long time.”  “The foolish (unwise) person, however eventually fell by the wayside.” The principles of Godly wisdom can be found in Proverbs 2:1-5.
It reads, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
If insinuates a choice, our choice to come into an agreement with the word of God. Store up my commands within you means we must be ready and willing to carry out God’s word, applying your heart to understanding is accepting God’s truth, if I call out, once again is the choice that you and I have to make as it relates to our relationship with the Father. Is He your top priority in whatever situation? And if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure means we must CRAVE the wisdom of God more than the tangible things of this world. If we do these things, God promise us that we will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 
 

Change Your Perspective

Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. Particular means a choice. The way you and I choose to see or interpret a person, place, thing, and/or situation. I remember while being in college, long pass the allotted time; I use to sit and think about all of my friends, sorority sisters, and classmates that entered college the same year as I. They had graduated college and gone on to pursue higher levels of education. Some had nice cars, beautiful homes, no kids, and traveling the world. I on the other hand was embarking upon my sixth year of college because I transferred to another school. No nice ride for me, instead my husband and I opted for a van for our growing family (two boys and one on the way) and the only trips I made was to the Headstart center, doctor’s office, and grocery store.
Honestly, I wasn’t happy. I based my happiness and success on what I saw in the lives of those I perceived to successful and happy. I came to the realization that the choices I made in my life, created my present state. Even though, my choices were not bad, they were challenging. I had to change the way I looked at my situation and begin to embrace my journey. My journey of being a young wife and mother. My journey to completed college if it killed me. My journey to separate myself from my old ways to seek the ways of my Heavenly Father. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
My anxious to have what was not time for me to have caused an uneasiness in my heart and mind. We are encouraged pray and petition God’s throne with a spirit and attitude of thanksgiving. We are to have His perspective about our situations. Yes! It is indeed challenging, but it is doable. You see, my prayer life had to change and so will yours. As you pray, shift your mind, heart, and emotions off of you onto the Lord’s desire. 
 

Are We Relevant

Recently I was invited to a Pastor and Minister meeting to discuss how well the church had been serving God’s people. It is always good to come together in one body, mind, and spirit. Our Bishop wanted to make sure that we were clear about the Lord’s divine calling for each of our ministries. The question posed was “Is Your Church Relevant?” This gave my husband and I time to really think about everything we had been doing in our lives and the community we serve. The word relevant means are we aware of what’s going on in our community. Had we been keeping abreast of the people and their struggles? Are we meeting their needs? Are we sharing the gospel? It also got me to thinking about the church as a whole. How many churches are comfortable in the way they currently operate? Are we really seeking the will of God? I have noticed that many of us only witness to people who look like us because it’s easier. Many of us invite other Christians to our churches or programs because there are no reservations in asking a believer. Making these observations has shown me how far off we are in obeying God’s word.
Luke 14:23 (NIV) says, “23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
This commandment reveals to us that if we are to go out, that means the people we need to minister to and become relevant to are still out there. Christians are already in. We have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and that is wonderful, yet it should not stop with us being saved. We have a GREAT work to do and honestly those HE is calling us to will look different and will behave differently. I challenge all of us to trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to those people. They are in the roads and country lanes. Don’t allow fear or man-made tradition hinder you from being walking epistles in the name of Christ.
Our becoming relevant will begin and end with God’s love flowing through the church. Judgment has no place, but God’s grace and mercy does. Preaching our personal beliefs has no place, but teaching the uncompromising doctrine of Jesus Christ does. It doesn’t matter what our title may be, if you are a True Believer, you have a call on your life to serve God’s people by sharing the gospel with His love, His grace and His mercy. Trust Him in helping you and your church to become relevant.
 

Choose the Never Changing God

1 John 2:15-16 says, “15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
I use to have a big problem with this scripture. I questioned how I should not love the world? I mean, everyone I love lives in this world. My husband, my kids, my parents, my siblings, my friends. Sure a loving God would want me to love my family – sure a loving God who created the trees, the mountains, the lakes, streams, and ocean would want me to appreciate the magical and majestic beauty of HIS creation. What was the big deal? I did not understand how people and/or things could become a BIG problem for me.
I remember sitting on my porch one evening reading this scripture and asking the Holy Spirit to show me. I wanted to grasp God’s infinite wisdom concerning this scripture. What is it you need for me to know and embrace about this truth Lord? First of all, God wanted me to understand that love is a powerful word. Love means to sacrifice, to give my all, and to hold in high esteem. He showed me that I had a choice and will always have a choice to love Him or the world. You see, the world is forever changing. Our laws, our lifestyles, our families, even our beliefs. The world is and will continue to be a revolving door. Nothing in this world is constant. Think about it. Even our days and what can happen within a day changes. We can wait up happy and cheerful and the kids wake up yelling and screaming. You could finally receive that promotion you’ve worked so hard for and the next year you may be looking for a new job. Nothing in this world is guaranteed, but the Lord wanted me to know that HE is!
That moment in my life was everything for me. It changed my perspective on how I see this world and how I value my relationship and the love I have for a never changing God. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever and Malachi 3:6a tells us, For I the Lord do not change. I encourage you to literally take one day at a time. Deny your flesh from those things or people who will draw you away from the Lord, realize that everything you see that looks good may not be good for you, and always seek the Lord about the choices you make. We do not know everything, but He indeed does and He will never change.
 

Understanding Prayer Pt.1


 I want you to understand that prayer is NOT something you have to do. Prayer is something WE get to do.  Many of us dread the thought of prayer because of our understanding of it. Case #1 Being taught as children to pray over our food and pray before we go to bed has become more of a routine than a hoping to talk to and hear from a Holy God. Case #2 Not seeing the manifestation of our prayers being answered in the manner in which we wanted and Case #3 Never really understanding the importance and power of prayer and how it relates to our everyday life. In Case#1, understand there is a difference between routine prayer and intentional prayer. When we pray routinely, there is no thought about what we are saying and why we have said it. As a little girl, my mom taught me how to routinely bless my food. I would say, God is grace, God is good, let me thank Him for my food… Amen.” Never was I taught what that prayer of thanksgiving really meant and over the years, it became a robotic type of prayer.  

In Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) it reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” In this particular scripture, we see how God was very intentional about our creation and what he called us to do and be. He gave our lives thought. Every last one of us was carefully thought out in detail. That is the kind of prayer the Lord has called you and I to give. When someone asks you to prayer for them, stop what you are doing, be mindful of them and do it right at the moment. Even during mealtime, thank the Lord for the hands that prepared it and thank Him for the provision of your meal. Matthew 14:19 (ESV) says, Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” Jesus understood that God is deserving of thanks for all our provision, and He is intentional about praying to the Father and giving thanks. Let us not continue in our robotic routine of prayer; rather let us become more intentional. 
 

Justify Your Faith in Christ Pt. 2

Justifying our faith is all about taking a stand for what is right in the eyes of the Almighty God - not man. We as human beings are fragile. We tend to falter in making decisions and keeping promises. In this falling state we even tend to create our own moral standards which too many of us have felt the consequences of. Knowing that we are not perfect really should bring a sigh of relief and a curious mind in seeking the one who is perfect. The bible is indeed the good book because as we and society slowly deteriorate, the bible has set the standard for us all to thrive.
Many people choose not to believe the word of God, many people choose to denounce Christ as their Lord and savior and for those people, I simple pray for them, love them where they are and allow the teachings of the bible to lead and guide me in such a way that my life will cause the doubtful to believe. Yet even for the true believers there is a need for us to rediscover the differences between right and wrong, good and evil. This requires denial of self and acceptance of Jesus. Proverbs 30:5 (NIV) says, “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” There are no mistakes in God and when we decide to accept and believe in HIS word it goes on to tell us that HE will be our shield-our protection. Believing is easy, but living our lives (making choices) that line up to the God we serve is totally different. It will take more than self-will to justify your faith.
In order for us to justify our faith, we must stand firm on the word of God. 1Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” At the end of the day, it’s not about proving yourself to people, it’s about pleasing a loving, faithful, forgiving, and mighty God! Justify your faith for HIS sake!
 

Justify Your Faith in Christ Pt. 1

Justify means to show (an act, claim, statement,) to be just or right. It also means to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded. Have you ever felt like you had to defend someone who had been mistreated? Have you ever been in a situation where you were wrongly accused? How did either of those instances make you feel? We live in a world that invariably force their right way of thinking or doing onto us. As we continue to grow in our faith, we will be constantly challenged in our faith. Think about everything you and I are encounter on a day to day bases. Radio, television, internet, the workplace, employers, and our employees. There is a wide range and variety of information and energies streaming our way. So many ideas, suggestions, and accusations come to shake up our faith in an all-knowing and loving God.
Yet in the midst of it all. God has given us someone GREATER to help us justify our faith. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit in my life and in the lives of all true believers. He acts as a filter for this unclean and ungodly world. He teaches us how to master every accusation, thought, and social media trend that is readily available to sway us. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV) says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The word demolish means to tare down, therefore we are to go against (destroy) everything that goes against the will and way of God and understand the way we fight and how we fight makes the difference! The Holy Spirit will also strengthen our discernment to those things that are frivolous and incoherent to our faith, which will help us to guard ourselves and our families.
Lastly in being able to justify our faith, it is imperative for all of us to seek the Holy Spirit in obeying the Word of God. The world around us will come to know Jesus not by how many times we go to church, not by the I Love Jesus bumper sticker, neither will they come to know HIM by any of us saying We Love Jesus. The world will come to know Christ by the way we live our lives. As my pastor so kindly reminds our congregation, “the greatest sermon we will ever preach will be the life that we live”! So as we justify our faith, let us be reminded that God has empowered us to live a victorious life as long as He is the center of our lives. 
 

Now That's Love


Webster defines love as passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment, as for a parent, child, or friend and it even defines love as a sexual passion or desire. As you read those simultaneously listed, yet distinctive meanings; ask yourself what does LOVE mean to you? Many people may agree to one or all of the meanings listed, but it is also safe to say, that many of us will define LOVE based off of our personal experiences of the word. We must be careful, because our experiences could lead us on a fictitious path of seeking love. I know people who believe LOVE is when someone buys them expensive gifts. I know people who believe LOVE is doing exactly what their spouse or significant other wants them to do. Sadly, to say, when their expectations are not met, they do not feel loved.
I want to set the record straight for every single person who is impatiently waiting to be married because they feel once they walk down the aisle they will be loved. I want every married couple to understand that no one is perfect, not even their spouse and he or she will never be. I want every young girl and young boy to know now that LOVE is not only the feeling they get when they see their crush walking down the hall; LOVE is accepting a person for who they are; flaws and all and this is exactly what CHRIST did for us. Isaiah 53:3-5(NIV) shows all of us in vivid detail what LOVE really is, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Now that’s LOVE! LOVE is sacrifice. LOVE is giving up something so dear to you for the benefit of someone else. CHRIST is LOVE!!! HE gave up HIS very life, so that you and I could live and not just live (exist), but for us to live for HIM and in HIM. HIS sacrifice empowered us to LOVE others in spite of their shortcomings and our own.
Let us pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us how to LOVE like CHRIST. Not the Sunday morning LOVE, not the easy LOVE because you look like me, but the seven days a week LOVE, that when I really don’t like you or your attitude kind of LOVE. It’s tight, but it’s right.
 I LOVE ALL of YOU with the LOVE of CHRIST, BE BLESSED
 
 

Hope

 
 
I had been praying for months concerning direction for the New Year. I had accomplished a lot of things in the past couple of years. Quitting my job, being more active in our son’s lives, spending valuable time building my marriage and ministry, starting two businesses, and building a team that helped and continues to help with the vision of helping girls in our community. What was next on my list to do for the Lord? What exactly should I be doing right now? I cringe at the thought of living an aimless life; no passion, no drive, no goals, therefore, I’m always thinking about how God views me and if I’m doing enough. One day, as my husband and I were arriving onto a job site, there was a book lying in the street in a zip-lock bag. Did I fail to mention it was raining that day? As I walked curiously towards the unaccountable object, I recognized the familiar face of the late Billy Graham on the cover. It was entitled, The Reason for My Hope – Salvation”.  
Of course I believed it to be a sign from the Lord directly for me because this was the second book I had received on the subject of hope in the same month. As I read Billy Graham’s book and reflected on the other book, I began to understand the answer to my question. God wanted me to see that everything I had done was because of hope. My hope in Him. Hope is never what I have at the moment, but what I am expecting to have. The Lord ultimately desires for us to have HOPE in Him which is the confidence in Him that our future is in His hands. Psalm 147:11 says,  “The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” – Job 11:18-19 also says, 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.”  We can’t be moved by our achievements nor our disappointments. He is and will forever me our hope. Lee Strobel said it best, “Hope is the inextinguishable flicker God ignites in our souls to keep us believing in the prevailing power of His light even when we are surrounded by utter darkness.” That darkness can be sickness, disease, a broken home, financial crisis, or even lack of understanding. Either way, let us have HOPE in JESUS this year!
 
 

Oh Happy Day


One of my favorite gospel songs sung by the legendary Mahalia Jackson called Oh Happy Day, is an 18th century hymn written by English clergyman Philip Doddridge  that was manifestoed into a soulful gospel music arrangement by Edwin Hawkins in 1967. The song’s roots came from Acts 8:35, as it states, “So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.”  You would have to or better yet, you should go back and read from the beginning of  Acts 8 to really understand the context and power of this particular scripture. In the beginning of Acts 8, the church (believers of Jesus Christ) were under attack. Saul (not yet Paul) was the villain during this period of history. He believed his duty was to kill as many Christians as possible. Believers had scattered left to right to escape the great persecution that was upon them. Stephen a believer had just been stoned to death. The saints were distraught, yet even in their despair they preached the gospel! Phillip is one of the heroes in Acts 8. He traveled from Samaria to Jerusalem to Gaza sharing God’s word and that word brings us back to Acts 8:35 the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It was a Happy Day for an Ethiopian Eunuch. He had heard the Good News, believed in it and received the Holy Spirit. He had encountered the Holy God. The one who came to save. The one who is still saving today!!! This song tells a story for all those who choose to believe. It is a song that brings excitement and anticipation of experiencing a life free from sin and filled with God’s love. It may not have seemed like a Happy Day for the persecuted saints, but they knew what we must know and constantly remind ourselves today and that is - Jesus is real, Jesus is all-powerful, Jesus loves us and Jesus saves.
 
 
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