By Carla Cannon
I believe now more than ever that we must have an ear to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying and develop a solid relationship with the Him. For everything is vanishing except God’s word. We see people who are here today and gone tomorrow. We experience people who walk closely with us, but suddenly turn their backs on us. We see mothers against daughters, and sons against their fathers; just complete chaos in families. But God is one who sticks closer than any brother. He doesn’t choose us today then cast us away the next. God is the same today, tomorrow and forever.
"God is one who sticks closer than any brother. He doesn’t choose us today then cast us away the next."
God is calling His house back in order. This is the season in which those who are of the world all hell appears to be breaking loose, but for those of us that belong to Him, those that obey Him, those of us who have accepted Him as our Lord and personal Savior don’t have to worry. For God is our keeper, He is our refuge and strength. In Him we can rely on. No longer do we depend on our jobs for they are only our resource but God is our source!
"God is calling His house back in order."
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, ‘to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven’. I stand to declare that now is the time to discern the season we are in and to submit to the will of God for our lives. No longer doing what we want, saying what we want and living how we want. But we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. No more cussing folks out just because you feel like it, for there are consequences when we disobey God.
"..Now is the time to discern the season we are in and to submit to the will of God for our lives."
So shift with God, release all hurt, all pain from your past; no longer ponder on those that hurt you, but forgive them and live a life of liberty in Jesus. Un-forgiveness will keep you bound and draws a wall of separation with you and God. Release people and let them go! This is a season of favored blessings and you don’t want to miss God as He makes His rounds. Position yourself to hear from Him daily & remember now is the time to. . .
DISCERN YOUR SEASON!
By Carmen Miller
We’re already two weeks into the new year, and today I will continue with the second and final part of the theme: God’s plans for your life. If you need to catch up you can read part one here
.The passage is based off of Jeremiah 29:11-14.
3. God’s plans are better than mine
. Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts,and my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord. “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,so my ways are higher than your ways,and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. ” God is omnipresent, so he is already in the future and because of that he knows what’s best for me. God knows everything. I do not
. I can pray for a particular situation, and I can be completely honest and tell the Lord what is my desire and dare to think that my understanding seems to be better. But I’m not omniscient, so I have to trust that the result is better in God’s hands than mine .
God’s thoughts are above mine. My way of thinking is clouded by sin, by my limitations, and defects of a fallen world. But not God! All of His thoughts are perfect, and pure. Therefore, any plan I make, I have to submit to God, my schedule has to be written in pencil, not in ink, so that God can erase and change at His will
The apostle James speaks very clear: “Pay attention to this! You’re saying, “Today or tomorrow we will go into some city, stay there a year, conduct business,and make money.” You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans.” However, you brag because you’re arrogant. All such bragging is evil. Whoever knows what is right but doesn’t do it is sinning.”(James 4:13-17). Does this mean I should not make plans? Of course not! What it’s trying to tell me is that I have to submit my plans to God, depend on Him and know that he can change and even cancel them. And I have to remain content in that, because His plans are better.
4. God’s plans require faith and perseverance.
(V. 12-14). The million dollar question is: Will I know God’s plan for my life? The answer is yes, and no. These verses reveal God’s heart. He tells us that when we pray, and when we seek Him, we will find Him.
In Jeremiah 33:3, we have a promise that we may know, but have not studied in depth: “Call to me, and I will answer you. I will tell you great and mighty things that you do not know.” The original word toknow
in this verse implies [to discern, distinguish, learn from experience]. If we ask, God can reveal many things. But these things are not always what we want to know. Sometimes those great and mighty things (mysteries, things inaccessible) are the spiritual realm: peace that surpasses all understanding, joy, strength.
Many times we feel, as I said last Monday, we are going through a dark tunnel, and we see no light at the end. But look at what God says through the prophet Isaiah: ” Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? Let those who walk in darkness and have no light trust the name of the Lord and depend upon their God” (Isaiah 50:10). The reality is that God’s plans require faith. While you walk through the tunnel, in the dark, without a ray of light, you have to trust in God’s plans which He will reveal in His own time.
I love this passage from Hebrews 10, because many times when we can not see or understand what God is doing, we become discouraged. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (v. 35-39) God wants a people who persevere—who trust.In Conclusion:
We have started a new year that often we set goals, and resolutions for. Maybe you are “exiled in Babylon” and you can’t see an exit, or a solution, or a future. You feel as though you’re in that dark tunnel. Remember these truths and make them yours in 2013:God knows the plans He has for you, and for me.They are plans for good and they are good.They are better than any plans you and I could ever make.He asks us to seek Him, to believe and persevere. So that He can fulfill his purpose in us.Photo Credit: A Well Traveled Woman
By Marquisha Harden
I love the Lord, I really do. I love His Word, guidance, consistency, and correction. I am in awe at how he moves in my life and the people he sends to minister to me. However, sometimes the words spoken by others have no affect on me. I pray to receive their words, but there is a blockage and I’m not moved or compelled to want to listen to another word from them. I get tired of the same messages I’ve heard before. They worked in the past, but for whatever reason it doesn’t seem as though those words are working for me right now. I need something else a little stronger; I need a new word!
I know what you are saying; all Word is good for building up and teaching. I believe it; those are God’s words. Its not that I don’t believe what he is saying, but at times it seems as though a change isn’t coming; it seems like those words were only meant for the last situation. This new problem is different. This new problem is testing me a little more than the last; this new problem is just too much. Nothing seems to be working. Not quiet time, not journaling, not prayer, not the words of others. I am just not getting the breakthrough people keep telling me is on the way! So, what is a girl to do?
Be still, Trust and Praise God! BE STILL
Be still says the Lord, because I am God. I have created everything including you. I know everything you are going through and you shouldn’t be surprised to be going through because this is exactly what you asked for. When you signed up to serve God, you declared that you would allow God to move on your behalf, even when things seem to be tumbling down. You told God you trusted Him in every circumstance. That means that when the sun is shining and when the hurricane comes to rip everything from under you, you believe that he will bring you out of the storm alive. You signed up to say that even though you are going on 35 and not married, he is preparing you and your mate to serve him at the appointed time. You signed up to say that even though you lost someone close to you, you are not alone in this world. TRUST HIM
Trusting in God means that you will wait on Him. You say this time the problems are worse than the other, well the testimony and the reward will be far greater as well. You cannot expect to grow in God if you are not willing to allow him to stretch you. God knows your breaking point because he created you, so he knows what will destroy you. He knows the road he wants you to travel and understands that every person you are appointed to will need this particular testimony from you, in order to save them. Trust that he will not forsake you regardless of how much it hurts or frustrates you. God is faithful and his words never return void.
Think of Job. God told Satan he could do anything to him, except kill him. He allowed Job to go through because He knew Job wouldn’t change the way he felt about Him. Regardless of the loss of family, friends, and fortune, Job refused curse God.
Job 1: 12, “Alright, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically…”
God trusted Job with the walk he gave him. He trusted Job to stand firm on the Word. He trusted Job to face every sort of loss during those times. He trusted Job with the process that he assigned to him. Job knew there was no power, person, or principality that could go against God and survive. He realized he was in this and he was on the right side of the battle. Job stayed the course and everything he ever lost was restored; God trusts that you will stay the course as well; otherwise, he would not have given you the assignment.
Job 1: 21, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” PRAISE GOD
During this season, it is the best time to praise God. Praise opens up the doors for blessings and it confuses the enemy. Other people will think you are crazy or you are supposed to be wallowing in your anguish, but praise God! Prove to God that you are on His side and that you believe he is working things out.
Trials are never easy to face, but you cannot allow them to change your thoughts about God or His Word. During the rough times understand that the situations may have changed for the worse, but God’s Word never changes. Take on Job’s attitude and be still, trust and praise God because He loves you and is working things out for your good. Godly Reminder
Psalm 119: 160, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of they righteous judgments endures forever.”
Photo Credit: A Well Traveled Woman
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1: 35-37
Now after six months, Elisabeth is visited by her younger, pregnant, cousin Mary. “When Elisabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear. I But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
Imagine for a moment that you are pregnant with promise. The promise totally contradicts the stage of life you are currently in and the stigma’s that have been placed upon you. You can’t share your vision with everyone, because if it weren’t for the sense of knowing
you’re pregnant, it would seem impossible even to you. Elizabeth is six months (the number of man) pregnant with purpose. She too is “chosen” by God. She is pregnant out of season & out of barrenness. She’s full of expectancy! The signs are all there and the evidence that she is carrying something inside of her is apparent. But why hasn’t there been any movement? Has God put something inside of you to do that seems to be growing but dormant? It’s almost oxymoronic that the two (growth & dormancy) can co-exist at the same time.
God’s word over your life is the same today as it was when you first received it. It hasn’t changed. Just because you haven’t experienced movement by man’s standards doesn’t mean there is something wrong. God operates in seasons (His not ours) and he always has purpose in mind. Sometimes, He will send other anointed individuals into our lives who are also carrying purpose. In their presence, purpose, destiny, and promise “leap” on the inside of us.
Have you ever doubted your calling? Do you find yourself bombarded with clamor and feelings of insecurities? Are there those around you who remind you of your past and how God could never use you or your time has past? Any strongholds you just can’t seem to overcome? In affliction, do you doubt if you are really
chosen by God?
There’s a weight that goes along with being chosen that many won’t bear. This is that in which Mary pondered and Elisabeth questioned. Not many can stand ridicule, or being ostracized and misunderstood. Not many are willing to release the familiarity of the ordinary & receive (by faith) the uncertainty of the extraordinary. So although many are called to do great things in the Body of Christ, not many are willing to pay the price.
Jesus paid the price for our salvation by dying on the cross. Like Jesus, our anointing is going to cost. For every anointed man or woman of God, comes a great price of sacrifice. We see the Glory but seldom will know the sacrifice of getting there. The sacrifice of being anointed is great but the reward is greater still.
We weren’t meant to be “self sufficient” in bringing fruition to the vision God has given us. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence,”
1 Corinthians 1:27-29. We must rely on Him & Him alone. “Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
Luke10: 34. God specializes in going beyond our insufficiencies to accomplish his purpose. Elisabeth’s baby with
a man seemed impossible. Mary’s baby, without a man, even more. Both were pregnant with purpose. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
Your being Chosen is totally independent of the affirmation of others or even your own self-image. It is because He has set you apart for his use. He knew what he put in you from the foundations of the world. But you won’t fully know it apart from a relationship with him. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
God created you on purpose. And you are pregnant with it. His Chosen are those He bestows his favor. Even though we cannot comprehend the how and only the basic gist of it, we’ve had a divine encounter with The Holy Spirit. Our spirit bears witness with his and our hearts are open to receive. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God,”
Luke 1:35 He wants to do something in you that cannot be duplicated by anyone else. You’re neither accident nor an afterthought. You are “Chosen”! And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her,”
Luke 1:38 He called you. Now, consider this (ponder if you must), will you receive the gift of being Chosen?
In case you missed it. . . Here is The Gift of Being Chosen: Part One
. Photo Credit: A Well Traveled Woman
By Mickela Rutledge
What makes you and your best friend so close? You may share things in common like similar hobbies or the fact that you both love pepperoni pizza or shopping at the same stores. Lets go a little deeper, what keeps you and your best friend as best friends? I know for my best friends and I, conversation and spending time together keeps our relationship in tact and enjoying. I can and do talk to my best friends about everything going on in my life. But what if we never talked to our best friends? What would happen to our relationship? How would you feel if your best friend only talked to you when something was wrong? Without constant and consistent conversation our relationships would die. Well my beautiful sisters this is exactly what happens when we don't take part in constant conversation with Christ in prayer.
God loves us and calls us his friends!! (John 15:15) And guess what?! He longs to engage with us in conversation! Isaiah 55:6 says " Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near". As Christian women our prayer life with Christ is vital. It is what keeps us connected with God and ensures growth for us spiritually. We can talk to God about absolutely anything. We can talk to him about our fears, our struggles, our victories and hopes and dreams. We can talk to him like we would talk to any close friend. Philippians 4:6 says " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God". That scripture alone offers so much freedom to us!! God does not want us to worry about anything, but in conversation present our concerns to him!! With that being said, I would encourage you to get real with God this year in your prayer life!! Open up and tell him anything and everything that is on your minds. Ask of him anything that your heart desires.Tell him about your dreams or about that co-worker that works your last nerve at work or tell him about how it seems everyone is in a relationship but you and even tell him about the last argument you had with your mother.! Mark 11:24 says " Therefore I will tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours".
God delights in our conversations with him. He longs for us to share the deepest and most intimate part of our hearts and lives with him. I found that when I talk to him consistently, my days are much more peaceful and I feel the closest to him. I often hear many young womentalk about how that know they need to pray more but they just don't or feel like they know how. I feel that when you are talking to God, itshould be while you are doing something you enjoy. For example, I love journaling so I write out my prayers like a journal to God. Here are a few suggestions:
• If you enjoy drawing or painting you could get a canvass book and while you are drawing or painting talk to God! You can relax and share your thoughts with God.
• Or if you enjoy running or exercising of any type you could talk to him while you are jogging or shooting a few hoops.
• Or if you enjoy talking to God out loud, get alone and pour out your heart.
• Maybe you feel close to God through music. You could turn on your favorite christian song or instrumental music and journal or talk to him out loud.
These are only a few ideas to develop your prayer life but do anything that you enjoy while you are praying. I encourage you sisters to communicate with God daily in 2013 and watch your lives change even more and your relationship with Christ grow!!!
By Carmen Miller
Plans. We all have them. Some more detailed than others. Some rushed through, and others organized and long. Sometimes done consciously while others, we can make without thinking. But we always have plans. What happens is that many times our plans don’t come out as, well, planned. Sometimes we find we made the wrong plans. In other cases, we can say that simply they were bad plans.
The new year has begun, and I would like to talk about plans, but not my kind of plans or yours—I want to talk about God's plans. Yes, God has plans. Plans for your life and mine... which, honestly, I find amazing. And in God’s Word He reveals something extraordinary about those plans.
Read these words with me, that you may already know, but between now and Friday, you tend to forget.
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster. Plans to give you a future filled with hope. 12 Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me, 14 I will let you find me, declares the Lord. I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I’ve scattered you, declares the Lord. I will bring you back from the place where you are being held captive. —Jer. 29:11-14
The context of the story: A prophecy from God to the exiles of Israel in Babylon. When one is banished that means you are without a country, without roots, without the known, without the familiar, and no future.
Have you ever felt this way? Are you entering the new year like that? As if you were in your own Babylon: like you're walking through a tunnel with no light to see at the end? Even so, God has plans for your life. And I want you to focus on what this word is going to teach you about that.
1. God knows the plans He has for your you. (V. 11a) I know the plans. Many times the world around us makes us wonder if God really knows what he's doing, or at least, if He is doing something in our lives because everything seems to be stagnant, and we will not ever leave Babylon. Yet look at what it says in Psalm 139:16: "Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place." God knows the plans from the beginning . No war, financial crisis, global famine, pandemic or epidemic that comes our way can change God's plan for our lives. He is God! His capacity is unlimited. God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it. (Num. 23:19)
King David understood that God had great plans for his life and in one of his psalms he wrote: "The Lord will do everything for me. O Lord, your mercy endures forever. Do not let go of what your hands have made" (Psalm 138 : 8). He lived with that certainty and so must we. God knows the plans He has for your life and for my life, he does not walk improvising.
2. God's plans are for the better. (V. 11b) For some reason we sometimes think that God is some kind of cosmic killjoy whose plans for us consist of suffering, calamity, etc.. But God does not lie, and His word says the plans he has for us are for good.
Keep in mind, it doesn’t say that His plans for us are easy, or that we will have no problems, sorrows, diseases. The verse speaks of the goal of these plans: plans that are for the better... to give us a future filled with hope. When we begin to feel that we can not fully rely on God, because if we surrender to Him without reserve we’re going to "embitter existence," I can assure you two things: either you do not really know the God you believe in, or you are believing the enemy. Jesus said that the thief (referring to the devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy, but he came to give us a full and abundant life (John 10:10). We have to trust that God’s plans for us have that goal.
Romans 8:28 is a passage that all Christians know: "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan." Perhaps you can’t understand your present situation—you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have to trust that God's plans are for the better. He has a goal, and something you should want to accomplish in your life is to meet its purpose.
Good plans have steps. And if we want God's purpose to be fulfilled, we have to adjust to His plan and let Him lead, while we follow his steps. I recently read this quote that read "a goal without a plan is just a wish" (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). What God has for us is a goal, a purpose, but only "until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard” (Eph. 4:13). And that’s what God had for us—a goal and a purpose that will produce the good in all of us, but that is different for each of us . If you try to compare God’s plan for your life with God's plan for another person, you will just become frustrated. Each person is unique, and God's plan is unique to each person. The only thing that is common in that respect, is that all of God's plans are for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to his purpose. You have to say to God: "I accept your plan, whatever it is, because you love me and I know your plan for my life is for my good."
These are the first two parts of what God is trying to display in that verse. I invite you to take a pen and paper and write down appointments. Read and process them calmly, alone with God. Ask Him to help you understand and trust these truths.
Join me next Monday for the second and final part of this post.
I wish you many blessings, while living a full and abundant life that God designed, and planned for you.
By Marquisha Harden
I have a washer and dryer combination in my apartment. I vowed a few years ago that when I had the opportunity, it would definitely be an upgrade I wouldn’t miss out on. Ever since then, God has blessed me with one. However, growing up I was always in the laundry mat washing clothes. After leaving, we would hang the wet clothes in the house so they could dry. It became a habit, as soon as we got home; every door and chair was adorned with wet clothing.
A few months ago, my dryer stopped working and I reverted back to what I knew; I hung the clothes throughout the house. I didn’t even think to call the maintenance man to fix it. It’s a free service and I didn’t bother to call them to fix it, even though I was annoyed that it wasn’t fixed. Why? My way of old way of thinking seemed to have blocked my common sense.
It bothered me that the dryer wasn’t fixed, but I didn’t do anything about it. I was so used to things not working: relationships, finances, cars, you name it. If it was broke, I could conjure up an alternative to get me by. However, once my living situation was upgraded, my standard of living should have been too. Especially, since I had access to the maintenance man, who could fix the broken dryer at no charge.
We do the same thing when we accept Jesus in our lives. He upgrades our way of living, loving, and thinking. He already paid the price for our salvation, so it’s free of charge (Colossians 1:13-14; 1 Timothy 2:6). All we have to do is call on him. Put in your work order and let him be your maintenance man. There is no need for us to live broken in spirit about any situation because God can and will heal us if we call on him. He knows every intricate detail about us!
Its time to call on the best maintenance man there is; get the old way of thinking out, so you can start anew!
God knows the moment we have an issue and we have access to him in our prayers and worship. Sure, you can still maneuver in your current situation, but you will remain broken. Your process will take longer to be resolved because you’ve decided to come up with a temporary fix; you don’t have to live like this. You have to change your way of thinking because your ideas may not be the most beneficial. You don’t even have to use your own mind to think of a solution; he’s given you the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Just like your home is now cluttered with clothes hanging throughout the place, your mind will be cluttered trying to fix problems outside your abilities. Maybe you are more qualified than I am to fix a dryer, but you are not qualified to fix you! Go to the Father, the Son is waiting to intercede on your behalf.
What have you allowed to remain broken?
Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn and know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
2nd Corinthians 5: 17-18, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people back to him.”
Psalm 40:8, “I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”
By Amanda Casanova
It’s easy to have a goal this New Year. It’s easy to make lists and stick motivational notes on our mirrors, but most of the time, and we know the cycle well, time and life and laundry get in the way, and our “Let’s do this” becomes “Maybe later.”
Maybe you want to write a book, but just can’t find the time. Maybe you want to go back to school, but can’t make it to the application. Maybe you want to start a new career, but just don’t know where to begin.
Don’t let “Maybe later” block the goal.
The disciples didn’t tell Jesus “maybe later” when he asked them to follow him. They dropped their nets then and there and went with Christ. I want that kind of faith. If God is calling you to do bigger and scarier things this year, drop your nets and go.
You won’t win this year with inspirational messages and to-do lists. The book of Joshua gives us a glorious picture of our need for God. Just before Joshua is going to lead the Israelites into Jericho, they come to the Jordan. I imagine this not as a bubbling creek, but as a thundering river with alligators, something the Israelites saw and said, “Really? You led us to this? Why would you send us here Lord? We don’t want to swim across this. Camels cannot swim Lord!”
So God tells Joshua to send the priests out in front, carrying the Ark of the Covenant. “Follow it,” he says. “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
The priests step out, the river parts and the Israelites safely pass.
In every change in my life, I’ve never been that way before and I find myself asking why God would want me to do this. The only way I’m going to cross the river is if I follow that covenant, if I hang onto the Lord’s promise that he’s going to take care of me.
I’m suffering. I’m tired. I’ve lost hope. And that’s OK. That’s where we get something non-believers don’t — a way out, a river parted, a wonderful God.
By Nikki Johnson
“I've trained harder, I'm better, I'm stronger, the blood of a champion runs through my veins, I've earned this opportunity, I'll earn this victory, I've already won.” Laila "She Bee Stingin", Ali
There is nothing like a good fight. Especially if you’re on the bottom, and you feel like you’re losing. Have you ever been there? There is a point in life where it may seem as if all of the odds are against you. As I’ve said before, “Life happens”. And what do you do when you are on the bottom of the bottom looking up at the bottom? What do you do when you are at the top of your game and you have a career threatening injury?
The year 2012 for me has been one of holding on to what I know is true and healing from the challenges of 2011. To the natural eye it would seem as if 2012 was really a waste of time. 2011 was so devastatingly horrible, that it took whole 12 months to recover. I have taken 12 months to retrain my body, mind and spirit. It has taken me an entire 365 days to heal from the previous year’s landed punches and wounds. I can now without a doubt say that I am battle tested. I have spent this year reflecting on who I am, what I believe, and what I am to become. The bell has rung in between rounds, I have retreated to my corner, I have rested from my labor, I have received counsel from my trainer, I have gotten more Vaseline on my cuts and my gloves have been re-laced. I am ready to go. 2013 is here and now it is now time to FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!
Whether you choose to believe it or not, we are in a battle daily. If you profess Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God and Him as the Lord of your life, the bell has rung and the fight has intensified. Before you confessed Christ as Lord, you were still in a fight; you just did not have the proper training and weapons to ensure victory. The art of fighting a spiritual battle is different from a street fight or even a professional boxing match. This type of battle will not be won by sheer force, good foot work, or even by having the better left hook. For the type of fight we are in, there is a requirement of both finesse and fortitude. You may liken these requirements to having the grace of a gazelle and the determination of Job. Fighting like a girl will require you to use the fruit of the spirit called self-control and to be consistently diligent in the things of God. Fighting like a girl requires activity at a certain pace, but also the patience to understand that there is no deadline on your commitments. To F-I-G- H–T like a girl means that you have fortitude, pray in intercession, operate in gentleness, remain holy, and trust the Lord your God.
In the face of a great challenge, the Prophet Isaiah said, “For the Lord God helps me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.” (Isaiah 49: 7). Flint is a hard stone which produces a spark when struck with steel. There is no deterring flint. If you mess around with it too much, you will cause a fire to start. To fight like a girl, you will need this same determination. This attitude says that regardless of the circumstances, I am persuaded to challenge that which is challenging me. I will confront the very issues of my life with the word of God. Through prayer and great intercession, I will follow the plan for my life that was so wonderfully designed by the master architect.
I will love my enemies and will practice that which is holy and righteous. Lastly, I will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not alone and that no weapon formed against me will prosper. That is not to say that the weapon will not be formed, but that the fight is fixed. When you are in Christ, the victory is assured. King David said in Psalm 23:5 “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”. Can you picture that? The best laid feast is prepared for you by God to show your enemies just who He is and who you are in Him. The prepared table uses the best china and silver. The prepared table has beautifully ordinate glasses and linens. There is no room for paper plates, plastic cups, plastic spoons, forks, and knives. Your enemies will look and be amazed at how you have been favored in the face of great challenge.
Verse 4 of Psalm 23 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”. Walking through the valley leads to a prepared table. (PRAISE BREAK!!). Fighting like a girl means that you have to get to the other side to obtain the promise of more than enough from the One who declared it to be so. Walking through the valley also leads to being anointed with oil and a cup which runs over. Processing and proper transition through the issues of life have an added benefit of becoming anointed. The more pressed you are, the more anointed you become. When you are anointed, the things that come at you next will have to either change because of contact or slide off.
In 2013, prepare for the fight of your life. Play your theme song. I have two, which I highly recommend. Freedom by Eddie James is a great war cry song. I especially love the version on the Onething Live – Holy to the Lord compilation. Then there is Tasha Cobbs’ newest release Break Every Chain. So, warm up your arms and legs. Roll your neck and shoulders. Throw a few punches. Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!
By Christina Stolaas
I got a speeding ticket a few weeks before Christmas. Today, I spent my time between the court house, insurance agency, and the driving school office with the arduous task of finding out how to reduce the effects of my infraction on my driving record. Surprisingly, this was my first ticket in ten years. I suppose you can say that I regularly speed, but, rarely get caught.
I’ve always viewed speed limits more like a speed suggestion. After all, most people speed a few mph over as it is what we as typical drivers consider “acceptable” and expected. Honestly, I’ve always tried to drive with the “flow of traffic” and when driving on a road alone have kept my speed to a ballpark range of what I have viewed as acceptably safe. In general I have showed little regard for the actual enforceable limit. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who drives this way?)
This morning I sadly became aware that if I don’t go to driving school the “ding” on my driving record will remain for several years and could potentially cause a rise in my insurance costs. Apparently, driving school is traffic enforcements penance system and attendance will actually esponge the ticket from my record as though it never occurred. Reluctantly, I decided a few hours of my time and a small court appearance would be the penalty I must pay (in addition to my actual fine) to take care of my unlawful driving.
As I considered all of the work associated with this ticket--- my annoyance at the time, cost, and penalty increased. What a pain! Though I very much deserved the ticket, being held accountable for the fact that I broke a law is really crappy. God used this ticket incidence to paint a portrait of how sweet God’s grace is when it comes to my daily law breaking and sinful habits.
Like speed limits, most humans treat the ten commandments more like ten suggestions. We pick and choose which laws to follow and how strictly to adhere to them. We unconsciously decide that minor infractions are okay because everyone is doing it. We are commanded to have no other gods, however, if it’s work, or family, or charity that comes before our worship it seems justifiable. After all, those are good things right? We know thou shalt not bear false witness, but white lies, well, those don’t really count do they? We know we ought to honor our father and mother, but regularly disobey, sometimes ridicule, and often disrespect them.
Every single one of us, daily breaks God’s rules. Daily we are guilty and deserve to be ticketed. Fined with a fee that we would forever be incapable of paying. But Jesus offers grace to the greatest humans among us and more importantly, the least. The poor. The neglected. The sinful. The outcasts. Jesus offers grace to some we wouldn’t even shake hands with.
Next time you fall short, remember the outrageous gift of God’s grace. You could never deserve it, but you don’t have to. It’s yours to just accept. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Grace says, the fine has already been paid. Grace says, your record is free and clear. The beauty of grace is that you owe nothing but gratitude.