CRUSHING

As I laid down last night to go to sleep I kept thinking about the crushing. What it means to be crushed, how it feels to be crushed and the purpose of the crushing. None of it sounds so pleasant or appealing.

In our world today people are angry. They are reaching far for a type of justice that will go way back and alter past wrongs. I am not writing this to express my thoughts or position on these matters. I will however express my sympathy regarding injustice. I for one despise injustice. I will fight for the underdog and will pretty much cut out of my life anyone who tends to bully another around. I despise a bully and I despise people who think they are anything more than another human being. Despise is a strong word but honestly I feel strongly about it. However, I do not think you will ever win using the “eye for an eye” method. I also do not believe you will ever be able to go back and rewrite history. Oh, yeah you can tell the stories as you so choose but what is done is done.

I said all of that to say this, a lot of people are unhappy about the crushing, mainly the crushing that came many years ago to their ancestors. I would have to agree with them. Pondering on all of this got me thinking about being crushed. If I have said it once I have said it 20 times, every human at some point will face injustice of some sorts. Unfortunately no one is exempt because we are all humans fighting a daily battle with our very own ego and when ego wins someone else will be crushed.

Before I went to sleep I began to read about Lucy Farrow, who they call “the first lady of Pentecost.” The more I read the more I found out that she went through some real deal crushing in her life. Yet, she was the key player in the Azusa Street revival. She was a key player in spreading the good news regarding the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. We do not speak much about the things she faced in her life but we glory in her victories. We are a product of the environment that she created, even years and years later. If you have not researched her, I urge you to do so.

Then there is our own Sis. Willie Johnson. I think I asked the Lord 20 times during reading her book, why? Her life was so hard. The crushing. Yet, I can remember when she would visit my church and I, as a child would sit in awe of her anointing. But I never heard of her crushing until she was gone. Oh, how her legacy still moves on from generation to generation, still blessing each of us. There are so many I could write about today.

The crushing. I laid awake thinking why must such great people be so crushed? Then it hit me, the greatness came from the crushing. I woke up still thinking about the crushing. I begin to read Leviticus 24. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.”

“Beaten for the light.” WOWZER. Chills sprung up my spine. “Beaten for the light.” It all begins to make sense to me. You see the candlesticks in the tabernacle had to be filled with the purist of olive oil in order to burn continually. Back in the bible days olives were put through a crushing process in order for the purest of oil to be released from them. This oil held such a high value but it came with a price. A crushing stone was tied to a large lever. When the lever was pulled the crushing stone would come down on a basket full of olives and crush them, squeezing the oils out. Why such a large stone, for such a small olive? But it wasn’t about the olive or the stone; it was about the oil and the purity of the oil.

When test, heartaches and trial come our way and we want to lie down and say, why such a large crushing when I am just one small individual? Take heart my friend. It is not about the trial or even you but it is about the anointing that God himself is trying to purify in you so that you may be that light that sits upon the hill shining bright for the world to see, so that you may be used to change lives for generations to come. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)

Oil will produce light but the purist of oils will produce light that lasts through generations. Do not despise the crushing, it has a purpose. And do not diminish the purpose of your ancestors; it was because of their crushing that our world was changed for the better throughout time. So it is true, when God is in it, crushing is always followed by light. The more crushing that comes, the more pure your lamp with burn and truly during these last days it will take the PURE light to reach our world.

 

 

The thumbprint of Poppa

Driving to work this morning I was reminiscing about all the lessons my father has taught me over the years. I use the word ALL lightly, as there have been so many. I am a bit hard headed I must admit and most lessons I have learned the hard way to say the least. I am extremely grateful for a Poppa who knows how to handle all of me.

The past few years have come with some great lessons. I can honestly say they have not been easy ones. However, nothing seems to come real easy for me. Some days I pray that He will just let me understand without teaching me…”don’t learn me that.” However, I know for myself that His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. You may have understood these things for many years. I have heard them, I actually believed them because someone told me but I did not know or understand without the lessons.

I hate being weak. It actually makes me mad but all too often I find that I am weak. Learning to be okay with you can be a difficult journey. If you are anything like me you can spend hours upon hours replaying conversations, questioning did you say everything perfectly or did someone take that wrong or replaying your actions questioning did you do it just right. Living this way is exhausting.

For a few years I have felt like I needed to walk around with a resume on my back. I have carried the “am I good enough” question around like a purse I would have hung on my shoulder. Recently I decided I could and would not do that any longer. If I was ever going to fulfill my calling I had to change my thought process. I had to stop over thinking me. Yes, I do care how other’s perceive me, of course I do. I would be ignorant not too. However, I am choosing not to make that my focus any longer. How could I sincerely focus on another who may need me, if I cannot get over myself? I do not mean get over myself in an arrogant sense. I just mean stop spending so much time trying to cram myself into a cookie cutter pattern. Life is real short and if we aren’t careful we will miss our purpose trying to fit ourselves into the purpose. Comparison brings fear; fear will shut up our calling. Nothing or no one can remove the purpose unless you allow it.

As I was driving this morning the word thumbprint came into my mind. Me being me, I wanted to see what the true definition of thumbprint was. This is what I found, Thumbprint: something that identifies especially.  Which lead me to look up especially: in particular: b: for a particular purpose. I began to look around and see God’s thumbprint everywhere and how perfect it all is, the sky, the trees, the birds, the colors, you and me. We are all made differently but yet all beautifully and wonderfully made. We are all made to fulfill the great commission but yet in a very specific, particular way.

When we come to understand he has sealed us with His thumbprint we can be confident in who we are in Jesus. We can be confident in our place in His Kingdom. His thumbprint cannot be mimicked or copied; it is genuine, unique and specific. You do not have to spend your time trying to fit in, or be just right but rather find yourself lost in the hope that you are able to extend to another because of his thumbprint on your life, specifically. The grace he extended to you, He expects you to extend to another.

We all have a story to tell, a testimony to share. Not one is greater than another but yet all fits so perfectly in His Kingdom. Do not ever rob the Kingdom of God by trying to be like someone else. The mighty hand of God created you to be you with all knowledge as to what you would bring to the world for such a time as this. Grace is our teacher and it is through our weakness He is made perfect. Just as I am amazed when I look around at nature and understand each creation has a purpose, I also can look into the eyes of ALL of His children and realize they also are His handy work, beautifully and wonderfully made with a specific purpose for such a time as this. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS on others, reach deeper and reach harder so no one gets left behind. I am so thankful for my Heavenly Poppa. I would not be here today if it was not for the lord.

 Esther 4:14

14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

 

Slow Down

 

Let’s Make A Trade

The passage of scripture below has been ringing in my head all week long. My husband and I spent a few days away, to relax. It was wonderful. The last few months have been mentally hard for each of us. God is so gracious to give us sweet rest.

The last few months I have been experiencing a sense of heaviness. I cannot pin point exactly what I feel all I know is how I feel. We often talk about prayer. I’ve used the term “We’ll pray” so much throughout the years, it almost feels cliché. I am a firm believer that prayer changes things. I do not only believe it, I truly know it for myself. I have experienced the power of prayer in my life. Because of those experiences, I trust in prayer. I also believe there is no way to hear from God, for Him to lead you, if you do not pray. God knew Abraham because Abraham had a relationship with God. As we have heard many times before, we must maintain our relationship with God. You cannot do that without speaking to and listening to Him. I enjoy prayer, I love prayer.

That being said, these past few months I have had a hard time in prayer. The heaviness that I feel makes me so weary. I keep hearing we need to engage in war and all I can think and tell the Lord is that I am so tired of war. I am tired of warring. Then I feel so guilty and worthless. Am I not called to war, to intercede, to be of a help in this time? I am tired. I do not want to fight. I do reach the throne of God here and there. I do breakthrough after I continue to push through the weariness in my mind. But my initial response is I am exhausted of warring.

The Lord placed this passage upon my heart this week. When I began to read it my heart leaped with a refreshing joy. It is almost as if the Lord is saying, “lets make a trade” Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….I began to think of the goodness of Jesus, I began to testify to my spirit. When I think of where He’s brought me from, I cannot help but to have joy in my heart.

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness really stood out to me. I have read this passage many times but the word “spirit” weighed in this time. A lot of times we do not understand what we are up against. We can take ownership of what we are feeling. However, a spirit that lingers in the air does not belong to you. If you have been born again through God’s grace and mercy the trade has been made. Every single good gift comes from above. It is through His grace, the ultimate sacrifice made that day paved the way for the trade. Do not take upon yourself the feelings of the principalities that roam the air. You may be opened up to feel them because you are called to pray against the attacks they’re trying to make upon the children of God but they are not yours to clothe yourself in. He has traded the heaviness for garments of praise. You have traded in those old garments for praise.

Is it possible the Lord is allowing you to feel what is oppressing the earth so that you may pray? So that you may understand how others are feeling that cannot fight. So that you may push through, stand in the gap for your city even your country? The weariness, the heaviness brings a sense of hopelessness. When people are bound in hopelessness there is no prosperity or growth. That is the plan of the enemy. Do not own the hopelessness. The trade is done for you. When we begin to speak of the goodness of Jesus…when we begin to humble ourselves and pray…when we begin to share the “good news”…the atmosphere will shift. The more people who make “the trade” the more liberty you will feel in your city. Do not allow “feelings” to bind you. It will stunt the movement of the right spirit, the spirit of the Holy Ghost. If you do not break through the weariness, if you do not continue pressing on, not only will you lose out but those around you that have not made “the trade” are going to lose out. Someone needs you. God has sent you to bind up the captive, the hopeless, and the brokenness in your city. He has allowed you to feel the pain and exhaustion so you understand the urgency. Do not own feelings, own your salvation, own your heritage and own your commission.

What a beautiful trade we read about in Isaiah Chapter 6. Every single person in this world needs to experience this. I know for myself the things that the precious blood of Jesus Christ has buried and the things He has brought to life personally. Let’s share, let’s give, let’s push through the what we do not understand and share Jesus with our world, more today than ever before.

-MY HEART

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

 

4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

 

6But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

 

7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

 

8 For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

 

9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

 

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.#decketh: Heb. decketh as a priest

 

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

 

 

HATE

Black

Hate, what a strong word! It almost stings as it comes out of your mouth. You can feel your body tense just thinking about hate. I woke up this morning with HATE on my mind. The news media is full of hate. It is almost like a plague. It starts in a specific area and before you know it, like wildfire it has infected millions.

My initial thoughts were on a national level, the outrage that is flowing across our country on the basis of racism. I actually HATE racism. Growing up my best friend’s skin color was different than mine; however her being was much like my own. I never looked at her and thought of her any differently in a negative sense. I loved her. She was my friend. She felt the same feelings I felt, she had the same struggles I had, she laughed the same as I laughed and smiled the same as I smiled, she got angry just as I got angry and was ornery as I was ornery. We did life together. We fought battles together. She stood up for me because I wore skirts every day as I stood up for her in other ways. We both, because of “class” or “religion” faced some tough ridicule during our school age years. We both survived. I periodically will check to see where she is in life now. She is a mom, the same as I, she works and has a career the same as I, she loves her family the same as I. She is now a beautiful lady that I honor because of her strength and endurance.

That being said I did see color in the way you would open a crayon box and see color but I also saw people in the same way as I saw those crayons, as people. The crayons all were a different color, no doubt about that. The crayons were all still crayons, no doubt about that either. Pretty simple, right? So I thought, until lately.

When I see a person, I truly just see a person. The hate that seems to dictate our world today, I cannot pretend to understand. It truly breaks my heart. I cannot wrap my mind around such a driving force that would persuade anyone to feel above another human. I really do not care about your status in life, your color or last name. What I do care about is YOU. YOU are a human, designed directly from The King’s hands. YOU are beautifully and wonderfully made. God’s Word says so. How could I ever believe it for myself, if I first cannot believe that for you? I cannot. We are children of God. His Word says, He desires for NO ONE to parish but for all to have eternal life. How could anyone feel the right to take another human’s destiny in their own hands? I will never understand.

As I laid there praying this morning, I became convicted and burdened, burdened for myself. I know strange, however I know me better than anyone knows me but God. The hate had me confused and examining. I have to examine what I know. I know myself. I began to dig, dig deep within my soul, checking out my inner being. As if I was taking a scope through every inch of my body. When I would come across a wound, a scar, a misunderstanding a failure it stung and my body would become tense, just the same as when I mention or think of the word HATE. I realized that unless we deal with life’s circumstance, unless we allow Jesus to heal us, hate lingers, hate becomes an ulcer that in turn will make the entire body sick. When we are sick physically we physically cannot act or react in a healthy way. When we are sick spiritually we cannot act or react in a healthy way either. Life is life; we cannot always avoid everything that will bring us harm. We can, however, allow Jesus to sift through our brokenness and heal our mind and hearts. We cannot carry the weight of  hate. It is the silent killer. It will wreak havoc on your mind, eventually destroying your body. This morning I was confused as to how such HATE could so quickly become so widespread. The answer is it has been lying silently in the heart of many. It has been widespread for years watching and waiting, ready to kill, steal and destroy. The devil uses our personal triggers, our personal wounds, our personal misunderstandings to bring division. The division feels justified because; after all we are hurting for legitimate reasons. But reacting to hurt with acts of hate does nothing more than cause more hurt and more open wounds, leaving a cycle of hate for generations to come.

No entity can survive under these circumstances. I do not care how spiritual you are, how right your doctrine is, how much you attend church….if you allow hate seeds to set in your inner being, you will never be a productive member of any entity. If hate is fed from one person to the next, this encompassing jealousy, envy and strife, that entity will never reach its full potential. You may have a victory here and there but you will never have complete success. HATE sabotages health and stunts growth. Each of us has some work to do, from the loudest protestor to the quietest person on the pew. We all have the potential to carry these weights. Until we learn to release them, to allow the blood of Jesus to flow through our veins, to allow God to heal, even when you feel justified, you will stay bound up in the current events. HATE is strong but quiet until it leads you to react. Every single time that reaction will cause some sort of hurt. Do not think you are above the person screaming in the streets for justice, if you’re quietly spreading hate seeds through gossip and strife. You are not! You’re destroying this land. You’re destroying people! This is a time to clean up the insides of our hearts and get right before His returning. We cannot help one single soul if we are sick ourselves.

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7)

 

 

The Victory Garden

This morning my good friend sent me a youtube channel to watch. The videos were about war and survival, focusing on gardens. So I decided to read a little more outside of the videos. I came across articles regarding Victory Gardens. Being that I love to feed people that may be hungry, I was very intrigued by this concept.

A food shortage came about During the World War 1. The burden to feed millions of people fell on the United States.  A man named, Charles Lathrop organized The War Garden. This promotion prompted Americans to use their land to cultivate gardens. The flyers and posters read “Sow the seeds of victory.” Everyone got involved from the government to the land owners. As a result millions of new gardens were cultivated over a period of time. There were pamphlets sent out for those who were new garden cultivators. Canning “how too” instructions were even sent out in order to preserve the food longer. Everyone worked together, from the top to the bottom, for the cause. Because of the combined effort, millions of people were fed. Millions lives were saved. Generations and heritages were afforded the opportunity to live on. A nation was fed.

What if we once again decided to support, promote and cultivate “Victory Gardens”? I look around and I see people dying slowly. Sometimes, yes, it is of starvation. This breaks my heart. My new goal in life has been to scout out backpack people to see if they are hungry. Honestly, it is truly just a passion God has put in my heart. However, that is not what I am referring to today. I see people dying of hopelessness and bitterness. It is everywhere. There isn’t a certain class of people these diseases attack, it is everywhere. They didn’t see it coming, they weren’t prepared for the war and now they are starving.

Last Saturday I woke up and I couldn’t shake the feeling of “we are in a war.” Sometimes I get this feeling and it is a feeling that I have no doubt about. It is stronger than a surmise, a hunch or a thought….it is impressed upon me in a way that I have no doubt about it. I cannot explain it other than that. Well Saturday, this happened to me. “We are in a war.” Funny thing is before this I was unsure of anything. When I am unsure I am a fighter, I try to fight to figure things out my way. However, surety brings me peace. You may ask how the surety of war can bring you peace. It is because I know this one thing; The Lord God will fight for you. Deuteronomy 20:1-4  “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ The scripture tells us that there will be tribulation in this world but HE has overcome the world. John 16:3333 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. So, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

So many people believe in God, so why the hopelessness and bitterness in times of war? Is it lack of faith? Is it lack of relationship with God? Is it fear? Truth is I have no idea. I cannot pin point anyone’s shortcomings, as I have my own to bare. However I have the answer. It is in the Word of God. When we decide as a collaborative team to cultivate gardens by planting seeds of His Word in every single peace of land we come across, millions of lives will be saved. No longer will we see people malnutritioned because feasting on the true’s of Jesus Christ will fatten your entire spiritual being. Distractions can sow seeds of hopelessness and bitterness but His Word brings life. Distractions will keep your mind and heart so bound up that you forget the big picture, millions of lives that need saved. Stop and plant. Stop and plant. Stop and plant. Stop and plant. “Sow the seeds of victory.” Your focus will soon change. While you are planting seeds for others, you’re enriching your soil, your land…the land you and your family dwell. You’re busy ridding weeds, rocks and thorns out of your own life/garden to ensure lives are saved/fed.

Stop throwing stones, stop trying to figure it all out, stop hogging it all for yourself and become a cultivator and a promoter of “Victory Gardens.” Everyone was apart of the “Victory Garden” process, from the top to the bottom. Every single part was of equal importance. Remember every single time someone passes from this life that never understood the goodness, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ an entire generation could die there. But if we choose to stop over thinking, controlling and stone throwing and start weeding, plowing and planting generations will be saved. Our course in life is to live out His Word in every aspect. When we do this we will have a life of “Victory Gardens”, others can glean from, even in the middle of a War. Greater is He that is in YOU, than he that is in the world. Let your table be full of grace and mercy to who so ever will sup with you. Show the love of Jesus Christ daily. Spread the good news. Some may never enter my garden but they will yours, we need each other. We need to work together to fulfill this great commission. Don’t let the war distract you, allow it to enable you to live out the greatest commandment that was ever given to you. …Matthew 28:18-19

 

gardenThen Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, (JESUS NAME) and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”… Change a Nation.

 

Letting Go

I was thinking about the little things in life. Sometimes letting go is so difficult, letting go of small things that we think ties us to a specific identity. However, as good as they may seem these very things could very well keep us from our destiny, experiencing everything that was meant for us to experience. I was thinking about an article I read in regards to a man who built a castle. Yes, he built it with his own two hands. He brought in stone from the river and when that was exhausted he made his own brick with milk cartons and cement. He spent 50 years building this castle. As noble as this may sound, there is something about this story that just did not sit well with me. He spent over half of his life building a castle but the man died alone. The castle today is a dry, cold, empty monument for people to pass through.

I can not help to think about the time and energy we put into man made castles. The things we perceive to bring us contentment and stability, sometimes are the very things that hold us back from moving forward. We can work our fingers to the bone, we can spend all day and night surmising how to reach our goals and one day, at the end of our life, live in a cold, dark castle alone, never reaching our true calling and leaving a cold, dry, empty shell to the next generation to walk through.

Territorialism keeps us holding on to the little stones. Yes, eventually if you keep pulling the little stones out, stacking them on top of each other, you will build something but what for? There is a season for everything. God brings you to a place to mold you and teach you but not hold you hostage there. We hold ourselves hostage because we tie up our identity in those things rather than in God. We become dependent on the false stability and identity that is there for just a short time. If we never move, we never grow. Fear is a liar and the fear of letting go of the little stones, the little dreams, the little pats on the back; the momentary self fulfillment is a destiny thief. Oh, are the little stones important, they sure are but they are not your entire future…they are the foundation of your future. The foundation God uses to build upon but they are not the end, they are just the beginning. Do not use up the beautiful stones and when the river runs dry continue building with your own brick, your handmade brick, spending half your life working for no real cause? As noble as it seems to build a castle on your own, if God is not in it, you will be a dry, empty, exhausted, cold house of clay…where once dreams and destinies flowed through but you couldn’t let go of your own preconceived, territorial notions to grow into the vibrant, thriving work that leaves a legacy for other’s to thrive in not just walk through feeling empty.

The old man may have found great security in the big castle he built with his own hands; however his death was a result of intruders mixed with his own paranoia. There is truly no stability in a man-made castle, nor is there protection. Do not leave a monument for spectators, leave a school that enlightens, brightens and teaches students.

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”

― C. JoyBell C.

 

Diseased

I woke up one day a little over a year ago and realized I did not feel well. I could physically move around just fine and my appearance was not sickly, but I just did not feel well.

I had spent many days before this morning, brushing it off or having an episode then pushing right through to the next day. However that gnawing in my gut was always hidden deep inside my belly. Every word, look or gesture from other’s there was a question mark that came into my mind. Yes, it only would last a second or two but for sure it always arose out of no where, I thought. I often found myself shutdown, withdrawn or unemotional, my coping skills at their best.

Every single morning I read Ephesians 4:31-32 ” 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Why, you might ask? Well, it is simply because I have it handwritten and taped to my monitor on my computer. However, it is not by coincidence that that scripture is the one I chose. You can plunge right through life with a grin all the while knowing there is an underlying issue within. It seems that this is the normal in our world today. Suck it up, keep moving forward, do not look back….all advice given to each of us daily. I do agree with these things. We can not go around swimming in a sea of emotions and never moving forward. However, when there is a seed of uncleanness living inside of you, never underestimate the power of that seed. Oh, you may not have planted the seed, it could have been dug, plowed and planted by someone else, nevertheless the seed is there. And to go a bit further the seed is there and it is YOUR responsibility to seek to remove that seed.

So my great revelation was, I was diseased by a seed of bitterness. I say diseased because diseased means “abnormal and corrupt.” (www.bing.com) My heart became abnormal, in turn made my mind abnormal, in turn made my life abnormal. The seed of bitterness will derail an entire lifetime if you do not take care of the root. As we all know this is January 2019. I was in church during watch night service and I was praying, praying for myself. LOL I told the Lord that this was the #1 thing I wanted in 2019. I wanted healed of this. I no longer wanted to trudge through life smiling, laughing outwardly but never be able to trust fully, think of good first, be lighthearted and worry less. I needed this seed depleted out of my heart. As I stood there, I could literally  feel a festering in the middle of my chest. Like it was the place that I held all of the yuck, for lack of a better word. The hurt, the anger, the misunderstandings, the judgment, the falsehoods, the faults, the failures…..all of the YUCK!  I could feel where I held it all, close to my heart.

I begin to think about that. Why do I hold these things so close to my heart? I in no way, shape or form want them there, right? Who in their right mind would? As I thought and prayed more about this subject a question came into my mind. You see, nothing ever comes easy for this girl. I could not say, “Lord take it away from me” and then it would be gone. Every single thing for me is a process. I am sure due to my own lack of trust and overthinking. But that question was, “do we tend to hold on to past hurts to justify our past failures or current emotions?” Are we too afraid to let go and forget about those horrible things because we or I can not fully trust in the grace and mercy of God? Instead do I rely on those old sores, seeds to relieve my conscience for my reactions?

There comes a time in this life that you literally have to let it go! We hear all the time forgiveness is not just for you it is more for me….well this is so true but maybe we have to just let it go, let it all go. Do not say “I am forgiving you because it is better for me.” I do not know if that is real forgiveness in my heart, personally…no judgments toward anyone else. I have tried that. I feel better but if something comes up that triggers a memory, I have to start forgiving over and over. Well that is exhausting too. I mentioned trust earlier….you know when you were a kid and fought with your sibling…it would go something like this “he said….” “She said….” and the battled raged on. Well bitterness for me is kind of like that….”you did this…” “I in turn done that….” and somehow there is a false sense of peace in this. Somehow you kind of feel ok because if you hold on to what happened then you can be okay with how you reacted. In order to get rid of it all you have to forget about it. I heard a guy testify about someone he knew that got blessed and his life changed. Someone later brought up something he used to do and the individual could not even recall what he used to be or do. I thought, wow what a blessing, not to even remember. So why was he blessed in this way? Was it because he was willing to forgive and forget the very thing that may have led him down the road of destruction in the first place? Being that he would have nothing to rely on for his own behavior but the grace and mercy of God.

Be careful with what you get comfortable living with. Be careful justifying your anger, your attitude, your disposition because of what another did. You may be cutting off your very own healing. God is not in the tit for tat business. He will release you of all bitterness but you will have to release those who planted the seed in the first place. With that comes responsibility for your own actions and a trust in Jesus who so perfectly extends to you mercy and extends mercy to the other party as well. In that release, a true healing virtue can flow through, your mind, heart, body and spirit. I virtue that will reveal the joy of The Lord that can bubble in any circumstance.

Rainbow

It is a melancholy kind of day. The rain is pouring down and the sunshine is hiding its face for the most part. I do not necessarily despise a rainy day. I enjoy hearing the water drops on the roof, it is relaxing.

I was sitting here thinking about tragedy vs. victory. How so many times in the midst of a victory, the storm will peak his head out. Or in the midst of a storm, the sunshine will show up. Why is that? I remember a time in my life that the greatest of events were taking place. The sun was shining brightly and I felt the favor of God in my life. However, at the very same time God was answering prayers little storms would roll in. I wanted to celebrate the blessings and I would find myself tearful from the storm. Talk about a rollercoaster of emotion.

I look back on those days, and see how God’s hand and plan prevailed at the end of the day. All the while my heart would stay heavy, He left signs all through those few years that He was fighting for us. I am thankful today for those signs. I may have had to experience the storms to teach me but He always provided a sign to show me He was right there, all the time.

This morning I was thinking about the rainbow. God sent a rainbow to signify his covenant between Him and earth, And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures: Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.…(Genesis 9:12-15)

The rainbow signifies God’s promises to us. Did you know that you cannot see a rainbow without the sun and the rain? Without the victory and the pain? Wiki explains a rainbow like this: A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. It takes the form of a multicoloured circular arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun. Rainbows can be full circles.(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow)

The “meteorological phenomenon” can be better named “A God Thing”. Without the sunshine and the rain, we would know no promise. How do you come to “know”? I believed when I was taught by my momma, there is a God. I have come to KNOW through experience. An experience that keeps growing broader and broader each day. He has allowed me the promise of the Holy Ghost, He protects me, He keeps me, He guides me each and every day. Through out my life I have seen His hand pick me up, mentally, financially and physically. I first believed and now I know. Oh, let me just tell you, to come to the place of “know”, I had to endure some rain. The scriptures tell me, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) What a rainbow, what a promise. I would never come to understand His strength, if it hadn’t been for my weakness. I would never come to understand His grace, if it hadn’t been for my shortcomings.

The promises of God are true and amen! Do not despise the rain. Do not spend precious time questioning the motives of God. Do allow His promises to shine through your tragedy, your pain, your storm. There you will find the promise, the rainbow….there is where His power will rest and His glory will shine through your life. Let His light reflect through your tears to signify to the world His promises are true and amen.

DOUBT

Is it okay to struggle with doubt? This is a question that plagues my mind often. A lot of times I feel like a doubting Thomas. Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John20:29)

Jesus appeared unto the disciples after His crucifixion. Thomas was not there, so the other disciples began to tell Thomas what they had witnessed. Right now I would like to say that I would’ve jumped right in with the excitement and believed Jesus appeared after seeing Him hang dead on that cross; however I can almost guarantee I would lean more towards a “Thomas” that day. Truthfully, more days than I ought. Thomas wanted proof; he could not believe what he could not see. “ Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-25)

Since I was a young girl I would hear others say if your faith waivered you may be hindering your miracle. I try so hard not to let doubt set in, after all I do not want to hinder God answering my prayers, but I fail, a lot, and to top it off I feel somewhat guilty for allowing doubt to set into my spirit. I have often prayed that God would give me the kind of faith that I need to be pleasing to Him. It truly is my hearts desire to please The Lord, yet I stare doubt right in the face.

I can honestly say I do not doubt the ability of God. I do believe and know that God can do anything. My faith never ever waivers in that. I think I doubt in the midst of the situation. I know He can do it but I am not sure that He will in time, or I cannot see how it will all work out and everyone will be okay. At times, I will find myself praying over and over. I will wake up in the night praying. I still am not sure how my praying wakes me up out of a sleep, but it does happen. Is that doubt? Is it doubt to continually ask God to take care of something and not leave it there and walk away?

Well, as you can tell the intention of this blog post is not to answer the question, I truly do not know. However, I write to tell you how exciting it is to have a God that understands each of us so personally that He will show up time and time again to prove His power, His love, His compassion, His understanding to us. He does not say, I am done…I am God; I have nothing to prove to you or anyone. But he meets us right where we are. Just as he met with Thomas that day, proving himself, his power and yet His love for Thomas. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20-26-28)

That day Jesus proved to be the Lion and the Lamb. The tremendous power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is mind boggling and earth shaking, yet the gentleness, love and mercy that God himself would take the time to ease His child’s mind is so comforting and heartwarming. My goodness, He loves us. He understands us. He cares for us. He is such a good father.

Now, I am striving to be in the “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed” category. “ Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) I was listening to a lady that I admire last night. She was talking about praying for “God’s will” in a situation that I knew would be hard to pray that way. The entire time she was telling the story, I was thinking I want to reach that level. The level that I can trust in His will for my life and the life of others without actually knowing all the details. I was encouraged about her faith.

I love to learn. I listen to others to learn from them. I woke up this morning with an understanding. I understand that my faith in God will grow, as life goes on, as new experience comes my way. The hard times, the confusion and even doubt are lessons to allow me to grow in God. For that I am thankful. I am thankful for the generosity of God. I am thankful that while doubt still creeps into my mind, He still meets me where I am and shows me once again, each time, He’s got it under control. He never leaves me comfortless, even if my faith is weakened by the moment. He proves to me He is God. Nope, He absolutely does not have too but He does. The good news is He will keep showing up, proving to me His power, even when He is not obligated too. That is love! I, one day, will be the “blessed are those who have not seen but yet have believed.” He is still working on me.