This month has been an amazing one for me & my family. I’ve resolved that this year will be our best one yet. And that despite all we’ve travailed through, we will see the glory of the Lord in our lives manifest this year and so far, we’re seeing it. I pray you’re experiencing the same results or better in your family. God can do awesome things through us if we’ll just let Him. In Michan 4:1, it says “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” How I want to be one of the first people at that mountain. Living on it and experiencing the love of God through it. When we seek the kingdom of God first, everything else will be added. When we’re obedient also, God will satisfy our souls. It seems so challenging to let go of so much control, but when you put that power in God’s hands, He’ll take care of you in amazing ways. Remember, our greatest plan is still less than God’s lowest plan for us.
How are your relationships going this month? Are you seeing improvements? Slowly, but surely, they will come. And when they do, they’ll lift your spirits in such an indescribable way. There are few greater joys that can be experienced than when you put God at the center of your relationship and let Him manage the reigns. I pray that you and your husband will also desire to be an inhabitant of the greatest mountain that will be above all other mountains, situated with God at the helm.
I’d like to leave you this week with a prayer that will help uplift your current situation. Tweak it any way you desire so that it fits your needs best.
I know I’m a sinner. Please cleanse me from every iniquity and wash me white as snow. Come into my body, mind, soul and spirit and take over. Completely overwhelm me with your love and remove my own desires from every action plan I’ve made. Control my life so that I can begin to bask in your glory. You are an amazing God, one that compares to none other. One that asks no one else for permission to do anything. And One that parted the Red Sea with your right hand. Do a miraculous work on my life as you did in the lives of your people when you freed them from slavery from the Egyptians. I’m expecting the best for me, my husband and my children. Glory to your name!
Letting go of old habits & idiosyncrasies can be more challenging than we think. After all, a lot of the habits we’re trying to change have been built up in us over a lifetime. Adjusting decades of who we are is not easy, but it’s possible. It will take lots of prayer, commitment and focus to change those negatives into positives. It can sometimes seem like an awful and grueling process especially if you’re heart isn’t truly into making the change. Oft times we change because our spouse or friends or co-workers point out a bad habit that we think is ok or that we simply don’t see. So while we’re trying to change, we stagnate the process by not truly embracing the fact that we have a problem. It’s important to ask God if it’s His will for you to change that habit. Don’t just begin the process of changing based upon what others are saying. Seek God’s face & guidance first.
Once you receive confirmation from God about the traits you should adjust, the next step is easy. Know that regardless of what you’re experiencing, you can do it! Remember what the Bible says in 1 Cor 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” As easy as it is to return to bad habits, know that God can and will help you make the change, permanently. If you’re earnest about the process, it will come even easier than you think because you’ll be side by side with God moving forward. Before you know it your spouse & friends will be commenting about how you seem different, for the better.
Be open-minded, stay focused on your heavenly Father and continue to envision yourself as your new self. Claim the victory and it will be yours. Enjoy this selection called Brighter Day by Kirk Franklin
as a source of inspiration for this week.
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Happy New Year everyone! I pray you entered this year with the word of God on your lips and His strength surrounding you in every direction. This new year brings a lot of freshness to our lives in many respects. Whether it’s proclaiming a resolution (or 10 lol), simply feeling “new” inside or declaring that you’re going to accomplish more of your lifelong goals this year. Whatever 2014 brings, go before God with your request(s) and He will help you fulfill them. If you attempt to do it all on your own, you will find yourself sorely disappointed. Unfortunately, will power, simply doesn’t stand up to it’s name! There’s very little to no power behind our own will. It takes the mighty will of God to help us accomplish our most challenging goals.
In a marriage, with the many dimensions and emotions that are involved, it also takes a lot of will for us not to get ourselves involved in unintentional relationship(s). Whether it be a male friend you don’t want your husband to know about because you’ve bonded so much or full on cheating on your man. The bible tells us in Hebrews 1:4-5 that “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” The teachings of the Bible should be taken seriously with all respect. They will help lad us to heaven, which is our ultimate goal. In an effort to uphold this scripture, this year, start off with your outlook on your marriage intentionally with success in mind. Love aka God at the center, and unbelievable faith surrounding you. Stop and drop everything that you’ve been doing that you’d be afraid to do in front of your spouse. Stop sinning intentionally because of frustration. It will only lead you on a downward slope.
Start by looking at the bright side of things. Start speaking affirmations over your relationship. Begin claiming what the Bible says is yours: Mark 10:9 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people that will help support your new outlook on your relationship & life. If this is a monumental anniversary year (5, 10, 20, etc) plan a special party to celebrate, renew your vows, re-dedicate yourselves to Christ together. The options are endless for how you can rebuild your relationship and it starts with God. Enjoy this song by Michael W. Smith called A New Hallelujah
and shout hallelujah for your new marriage!
The holidays can sometimes be a difficult time because it’s when families gather together that haven’t seen each other in months , maybe even years, and emotions can begin to flare. Whether it’s confronting a sibling that you have unresolved feelings with because they didn’t help take care of mama during her last days, or facing a relative that you thought would help you out of a difficult situation, financially, emotionally or otherwise, but they instead backed away. Those harbored, unresolved issues can manifest in ways like arguing over who should bake the turkey or cornbread or whether you should use fine china or Dixie (Pro 17:1). Here are some steps that can help you resolve arguments with either your spouse or other family members or friends with a quick turn around.
1. Step Back
Take the time to step away from the situation and release your anger in a healthy way. Meditate on God’s word, go for a walk, play some music, draw, grab a healthy snack. Allow your emotions to get out of the way because emotions can be very deceiving. This will also help you gain a broader perspective on the issue at hand. This is a great opportunity for you to ask God to intercede & simply give you a hug.
2. Think about the situation
Try not to revisit the situation over & over again in your mind. It will only increase the anger. Instead, consider all the options, especially the other party’s position. Look for both positives and negatives to each. Be positive and lean towards desiring a Godly solution, not just getting your way or giving in to the other side for the sake of peace. Ask God to step in & have His way (Pro 3:5-8).
3. Humble yourself
Regardless of who you believe is right or wrong, humble yourself so God can use you to execute a solution. Pride comes before the fall (Pro 16:18). There’s no glory in “being right.” All glory belongs to God (Gal 1:5), not to us. Your humility will help open the doorway for a win-win solution to be found. When anger & pride persist it’s difficult to see the opposite side. Remember, the meek will inherit the earth (Mat 5:5) Go back to the person you have issue with & ask them if they can speak with you. If they’re not ready, give them their space, but before you walk away, let them know that you can now see their perspective on the situation. More than likely that will open them up enough to either speak to you at that same juncture or shortly thereafter.
This is one of the most important steps of resolving an argument. Emotional injury can occur when resentment or anger continues after the conflict has been resolved. It’s important to forgive & ask for forgiveness. Remember, it's important not to go to bed angry (Eph 4:26-27).
5. Post steps
If all else fails, duke it out in a pillow fight. It’s amazing how letting off some steam can help bring perspective to a tense situation. And if that still doesn’t satisfy, then seek the counsel of a Godly leader, whether it’s a pastor, professional counselor or otherwise, a neutral voice can often times help us more clearly understand what our partner is trying to say.
Enjoy this upbeat song by Francesca Battistelli called Christmas Is
This week as we continue to enjoy the Christmas spirit surrounding us, let’s remember the reason we’re so happy, joyful and giving. It’s because of the birth of our savior, the one & only Jesus Christ. He is the reason we put up decorations, search for the perfect pine tree for our home, decorate our office space at work and have a jolly, merry spirit in general. It’s because of the love & respect we have for Jesus that we celebrate His birth. We all know he probably wasn’t actually born on December 25, but the date has come to symbolize the blessed day on which He was born. So while we’re shopping for family, friends, coworkers, caretakers & the like, let’s maintain our focus on Him. Know that regardless of what you gift people with this season, the most important thing is that you lift up Jesus in your heart and their heart.
James reminds us in Jam 1:17 that every good & perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights. This season, try doing something different that reflects a gift from our Father. Instead of buying expensive gifts for everyone, give of your self. Oftentimes it seems overwhelming because our hearts are usually much larger than our bank accounts & credit card limits. We can end up spending thousands of dollars for one day on people that will likely forget what we gifted them a few weeks later. Then we’re left with the responsibility of paying off that debt (with interest) for the remainder of the year to come. Let yourself be used as an example to glorify God. For example, you & your husband & kids can volunteer to serve Christmas dinner at a local soup kitchen. Or you all can join up with a food pantry that delivers hot meals to the sick & shut in & deliver some meals for a few hours in the day. You can donate a portion of your gift spending money to an honorable cause like one that helps widows, orphans or the poor. Not only will the recipients be blessed, but your family will bond as well.
The gifts are a symbol of the frankincense, myrrh and gold that Jesus received when he was born, they are not the focal point of the day. So when it comes to the time for you & your loved ones to open up gifts, instead of simply opening your gifts, pray before you begin. Remind yourselves of the sacredness of the day and be thankful that God send Jesus down to us to be born. Because it’s Jesus that painfully sacrificed His life in order for us to live (Phi 2:8-10). Give back this season and show the world that you do believe in Christmas, the celebration of Christ, not the celebration of gifts!
Enjoy this selection called Give Love on Christmas Day by Yolanda Adams
Ezekiel 18:30-31 “… I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit…
Many times, in relation to our spouse, we tend to want to group us in the same category as them. It’s a natural tendency. After all, the bible says that the two (Adam & Eve) shall become one in Genesis 2:24. After spending, months, years and decades together, we become so intertwined. Our habits, idiosyncrasies, spirits and bodies, become one and we sincerely believe that many times we are judged as one. And as much as that’s true in some senses, it’s not completely true when it comes to our responsibilities and our souls. As I’ve said previously, when it comes to our roles as women in a marriage, we need to manage what is ours and allow our husband to manage what is his. For example, if we know we’re to wash the dishes or take the kids to soccer, then it’s up to us to complete those tasks. It doesn’t mean that since our honey didn’t take out the garbage or wash the car, that we won’t wash the dishes. We are obligated to complete and held responsible for our own tasks and our own salvation.
In the aforementioned scripture in Ezekiel, God is letting us know that we need to abandon our old sinful, selfish ways. Because we will be judged as individuals, not as a couple or a group (family). And that if we don’t, we’ll see ourselves spiraling into a pit that gets deeper & deeper. We need to stop the blaming and bitterness and pointing of fingers and name calling. Let’s start to take responsibility for our own actions and know that God is seeing us as a unit in the group of 3 (you, your spouse and God). He gives you advice as to what exactly you should do to carry your weight: stop doing the negative things you’ve been doing and renew your heart and spirit; start fresh. How wonderful, how amazing, what a blessing. Receive the word from the Lord and know that He’s forever on your side & your husband’s side. He wants to see you flourish as an individual and as a strong leg in the trio of love.
This song called Second Chance by Hezekiah Walker
is for you.
The power of the Lord in your marriage is more impactful than a mountain moving in the alps and causing an avalanche. I want to take the time to celebrate marriages this week. To all those who are blessed enough to share your bed with a partner, whoohoo to you. It’s the foundation of what God has laid out in the bible. In Genesis, He talks about Adam & Eve coming together and becoming one and being comfortable with each other (Gen 2:24-25). At that time, they had not eaten of the fruit of the tree of good & evil so bliss was everywhere. Isn’t that similar to how it was when you first got married? Bliss was everywhere and you were super comfortable to share everything with your husband? Then slowly, we allow our friends, family, co-workers to begin whispering in our ear how we should really treat our spouse or react to what he’s said or done, and the foundation begins to crack. Kind of like Adam & Eve allowing the snake to whisper in their ear, then they eat of the tree of good & evil and they began to realize they were naked. The level of comfort between the two changed. (Gen 3:1-7) Marriage and family are the foundation of the Christian faith. It’s what God uses to disseminate His ministry. The power of God is shown forth when our marriages are successful.
So this week, I plead the blood of Jesus over every single marriage in existence. I say this week is the beginning of many great weeks to come in your union. Glory to the Most High who allowed you to become one with your husband. Honor him, cherish him and submit to him in every way God directs (Eph 5:22-24) It’s not a suggestion, it’s a commandment. We need to know and recognize that satan opposes everything that God supports. Which is why there’s such a vicious attack on marriages and the definition of a family unit. But we have the power to overcome. To live successfully with God at the center of our family unit. We have the power to show our enemies that God will shock them with how bountiful God has & will bless our lives. I encourage you to celebrate your marriage this week in a different way. Even if you’re not coming up on an anniversary, celebrate what God has blessed you with by in an awesome way. If you’re at a loss of ideas, ask God for suggestions, He’s the best one to advise you on how to please your spouse. If you feel like you're not hearing from God or aren't clear on what He's saying, then consider the ideas Alternatively, check out this website for ideas
On the cusp of this Thanksgiving, lets give thanks for the beautiful union we have and let’s celebrate the fact that we’re going to strive to make it better because we’re going to put God at the center. Pray heartily and listen to God’s directions for your life. Read the word of God and hold on to what He’s directing you to do. Believe me you’ll be supremely blessed! Listen to this song called The Marriage Prayer by John Waller
. And allow it to encourage you as you celebrate your marriage this week!
Oft times we look to someone or something as our source for happiness. It could be a parent for a small child, spouse for a married person, drugs for a junkie or porn for a sex addict. Whatever or whomever it is that you’re expecting to make you happy, eventually, that person disappoints. Why does it always happen that way? Well, it’s because we’re human. We have human needs that are satisfied by human beings that will eventually fall short of completely fulfilling our empty spaces. When it comes to objects or items or visions that fill our needs eventually they stop filling that awfully empty void because the level of satisfaction that we desire increases. And what we normally intake is simply no longer sufficient. We begin to try to fill it with more & more of the same old thing, but that also falls short. So we venture to find another version of what we’re used to that will intensify what we used to feel. But some way, some how, that disappoints us as well.
So from where can we find our true source of joy? In the word of God. In dwelling in His presence. He happily provides for His children & gives to us freely. He knows how to satisfy our souls from the very depth. He can give us the little things that tickle our hearts and the grand things that make our enemies cringe. He knows exactly what we need, when we need it and how we need it. He’s happy & willing to provide for us and to see us joyful. The kind of joy that no man can take away, because no man gave it to you. May this selection from Donnie McClurkin & Joann Rosario called Satisfy My Soul
accompany you as you read the Bible this week. Be blessed beloved.
Have you considered the love of God upon us, His children? I’m reminded of the Psalm of David 8:4-5 when he says (NKJV) “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.” What an amazing blessing it is to be so regarded by God. To know that we are immensely loved. If you have children, imagine the level of love you have for your young ones, and just know that God has even more love for us! We all aim to live eternally in heaven, but while we’re here on earth we can have an abundant life. A life that is blessed in every way, shape & form. The best & easiest way to grab hold of these blessings is to listen to what God tells us to do. Remember what Samuel said in 1 Sam 15:22 (NIV) “…To obey is better than sacrifice…” We can sacrifice our happiness, children, homes, cars and money. But none of those things are better than obedience to the Lord. He loves it when we abide in Him, regard Him as our first love and spend time with him endlessly.
The love that God has for us is so deep that it permeates all levels of hate, hurt, misunderstanding, unforgiveness and the like. It’s deep enough to cut through any level of sin and bring you right back to God in a loving and passionate way. Many times our friends and family can’t believe how our lives turn from sordid bad behavior to angelic good actions. It’s the power of God. It’s a reflection of the love He has for us that is now manifested in our lives. Revel in the love of God this week. It will carry you to places you never would have imagined. Remember, you deserve it!
Isn’t it amazing how God shows us how much He loves us by pairing us with someone whom with we can spend the rest of our lives (Gen 2:24)? When we fall in love and declare “he’s the one” silently in our spirit, we have a bubbling overjoyed feeling inside our hearts. Our souls are free. Our spirits are lifted. We’re in a state of epitome that no one and nothing can remove from us. That love spell we live in for anywhere from weeks to years is so beautiful, that it’s difficult to describe to others and fully give credit to those emotions. It’s something that someone simply has to experience on their own. How often do we fall in love? I mean really fall in love? Have you ever fallen in love, then out of love, then fallen in love again with someone else, then fallen out of love again? Until, you fell in love with Mr. Right. Many of us even describe our beau to our friends and family as a Godsend. Was it love all along with the others or was it a deep like?
Those same feelings of profound love are the same feelings God has for us. The exception is that God does not fall in & out of love with us. Although many of us would beg to differ considering some of the challenges we’ve faced. He loves us always & unconditionally. His love doesn’t waver, it’s ever present, consistent and deep. It doesn’t increase, it doesn’t decrease and it manifests itself in different ways. Love is not solely a feeling, it’s also a decision. We choose whom to love, whether it’s a parent, sibling, friend, lover or God. We make the decision to love them at to what level we will manifest that love.
I challenge you this week to choose to love God first, and then, your spouse (Luke 10:27). Examples of how you can love God are by praying more, reading the bible and doing acts of kindness to others. Regarding your spouse, despite what you’re enduring, choose to love them and manifest it in at least 2 ways every single day for the next week. Challenge yourself to turn your situation around and stand up strong with the power of God backing you up. For example tell them you love them, give them a loving card, cook their favorite meal, take them to their favorite restaurant, watch a football game with them, initiate the love making, whatever brings them pleasure, give it to them. Your relationship with God and your marriage can be just as wonderful as the love that Christ has for the church.
Be encouraged by this song called It’s Ok, by Bebe & Cece Winans