Same ole Same ole

I grew up in a foster care system and there were two things that was gospel in our home:

1. You had to go to school every day whether sick, rain or hurricane! I laugh sometimes on that particular childhood memory. If mama didn’t hear on the radio there was no school we were all shipped out of that house each morning to catch the bus for school.

2. Every Sunday you had to go to Sunday School and church. No excuses! And if the bus didn’t come for you then you walked to church.

Amazing and well cherished childhood memories, but our foster mother truly believed in “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭

That training stuck with me into adult hood instilling strong work ethics and the desire to always have God in my life.

As with many teens and young adults, the rhythm of going to church weekly became “boring”. As an adult, the passion to grow closer to Christ increased, but I found myself sometimes being trapped in the cycle of doing things because it was required. It was the same ole same ole, day in and day out.

patterns of a Christian life - Godly Woman 911

As Christians we have to be careful of falling into a pattern of doing Godly things or participating in religious activities out of habit or to conform to others rather than out of passion, heartfelt love or obedience for God. God only wants our deep burning desire to be righteous and not an empty ritual.

““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Matthew‬ ‭6:1‬

God wants our desire for him to be hot and not cold.

When we come to HIM in this way then we won’t thirst anymore as HE will quench our thirst. We won’t have to search anymore as HE will be found.

Serve, praise and give him all the glory with the right attitude, heartfelt love and obedience.

Thought: Is your heart and mind in the right place when you enter the presence of God? Has your spiritual life become a habit instead of an attitude of devotion and praise? Let us be like David who said “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm‬ ‭63:1‬

Prayer: Abba Father, you are good and your love endures forever. Renew a steadfast and obedient spirit within us that we will always earnestly seek you with an open and loving heart and mind. Amen

Helping friends that are struggling

The devil wants the saved ones. HE already has in his pocket the unsaved …. but he will do anything to get the saved.

One of my very dear friends has been in a battle with the evil one for quite some time now. She has been struggling with her marriage, health and now her purpose in life.

There were times when I heard things that came out of this woman of God’s mouth that left me shuddering! Many times it made me consider the bible story of Job and what he went through.

After months of prayer, consoling and talking with my friend I started to understand how toxic she had become and it filled me with despair.

image

And then the Lord heard my cry and answered when he lead me to this reading:

I sought the Lord , and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Fear the Lord , you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;  The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;  he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Psalm 34:4‭, ‬8‭-‬9‭, ‬15‭, ‬17‭-‬20 NIV

Even though my friend is still going through her struggles I am comforted on knowing that God has heard our cry. He has promised a way out for all of our testing and struggles … we just need to have faith.

Thought: Are you praying daily for your friends and their fight with the evil one? What passage of scripture can you share with them to provide comfort, assurance and hope? Are you willing to go to battle for your loved ones?

Prayer: Abba Father, shower us with your comfort and love. Your word promises that nothing can snatch us from your hands! Fill us with wisdom, empathy and love to help our friends and family in their struggles. In Jesus name. Amen 

Praying for Pastors

Many of us understand why we should pray. Not many however, think of praying for their Pastors.

Shouldn’t they be praying for us? They do, but Paul also encourages us “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians‬ ‭6:18-20‬ ‭

Here is a daily prayer you can pray for your pastor or any spiritual leader.

[…] means that you should insert your Pastor’s or Leader’s name there when you pray.

Holy Father, I bring before you today Pastor […]. May Pastor […] have the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains in a world that is becoming increasingly jaded. May Pastor […] worship remind your sheep that only you Lord deserve our honor, adoration and praise. That in everything, our purpose is to decrease so that you will increase Heavenly Father. The enemy is at Pastor […] door but in Jesus name we pray that you will strengthen their soul, guide and protect. May they be of good courage and prepared for every good work. That they will never work in vain and will always do so with joy and not groaning.  I pray that Pastor […] will seek you first in all things and their prayer and teachings will always be God breathed using your Holy word. I pray for wisdom and strength for Pastor […]. And lastly Lord, we pray the Aaronic blessing over Pastor […] “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” In Jesus name. Amen

What is your purpose?

As we close off another year and enter a new year, let us give thanks and all the glory to our mighty God.

It has become fashionably popular in this secular world we live in to give ourselves New Year resolutions. Famous ones include losing weight, spending less/ saving more, getting organized, enjoying life to the fullest…

For me, bringing in a new year isn’t about setting resolutions, it is about humbly giving thanks and prayerfully seeking guidance into the year to come.

As we end this year, consider your purpose. What is your purpose? Consider this…

“He must become greater; I must become less.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:30‬ ‭

Our sole purpose in life is to decrease so that God in us can increase.

The way in which Christ uses each of us to increase his glory will all be different but we all have the same purpose! How do you do this?

By prayer, supplication, fasting and worship. Seek Christ and ask HIM how you can increase his glory. HE will answer!

what is your purpose - @GodlyWoman911

Ensuring that Jesus increase means that we need to humble ourselves, get rid of pride and exalt the Most High God.

And guess what? The word tells us that John the Baptist stated “this joy of mine is now complete”. So HIS increase will bring joy.  How reassuring and beautiful that sounds.

Thought: With joy comes peace. Instead of the parties or the resolutions, prayerfully seek God’s wisdom on how you can decrease and he increase.

Prayer: Abba Father, forgive us our prideful nature where we want all the glory for the great things you have done in our lives. May you increase and we decrease. In Jesus name. Amen 

It isn’t about the messenger … 

At a recent dinner an elder was telling a story and at the end of it a community member’s name was mentioned. The name brought a lot of eye rolling and growling. Someone shot up and said, “Oh, did you hear? He is now an online Preacher”.

That got everyone in an uproar. They couldn’t believe it. A quick response was “Well, if it is listening to him that will get me to heaven, then it just won’t be happening!” The elder noted that the man had made a public apology on the community television channel and a radio station for all of his sins and as such we should all forgive. I remained silent.
message not the messenger - @godlywoman911
I wasn’t silent because I agreed or disagreed. My silence was in prayer for this man who sinned, was persecuted for his crimes, came out of jail and couldn’t hold a job and then became an online preacher.

I prayed for God’s strength to not judge. I was compassionate to this man who gave his life to Christ and was doing HIS work.

As I went home this was still heavy on my heart. And I felt the Lord saying to me… “Remember Saul”.

Saul was notoriously known to persecute Christians. Hearing his name brought terror to the Christian community. When God stopped Saul on that Damascus road and changed his life forever, he was giving the name of Paul and was one of the greatest apostles of God’s Kingdom. Except for Jesus, no one else shaped the history of Christianity like the apostle Paul. At first the people doubted Paul and many tried to kill him. God had plans though for Paul and bringing glory to Christ Kingdom.

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” ….and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him,… When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.” Acts‬ ‭9:1-6, 19-23, 26‬ ‭

God’s mercy and grace is such an amazing thing. God alone knows the heart and is able to forgive. He uses the least of us so that HE may be glorified.

Thought: Think of someone you know who you feel may be the last person God would ever use to preach HIS gospel. Pray for that individual and yourself = God may be calling YOU to lead them to HIM.

Prayer: Merciful and compassionate Father, your great wisdom we cannot fathom or attain. When we hear you voice Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” May I ever be ready and mindful to say “Here am I. Send me!”

Don’t go where God didn’t send you

let God lead you - @Godlywoman911

My friend and I had a great discussion today and I thought it would be a great post for everyone.

As with many of our discussions, we start on one topic and before you know it, time has flown by and we diverge into other areas. But we finished off our discussion with one very powerful reality, “If God didn’t send you there, don’t go!”

My friend was frustrated at some of his neighbors and I asked him if he prayed for them. He was very adamant in his response that he wasn’t praying for them… Their hearts were too cold.

Of course my response was that we shouldn’t judge as only God knows their hearts and his word tells us that we should pray for others. He grudgingly agreed but it was obvious he wanted to be stubborn on this point. For that, I prayed for him!

But he diverted and said, “If God doesn’t send me then I can’t go.”

Now that I full hearted agreed. God’s word tells us “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭32:8-9‬

God wants to lead us but not control us because of our stubbornness. He alone can offer the best advice and guidance.

But if we decide to go somewhere or do something without seeking God first then we have to realize that if things didn’t go the way we planned, it was because we wanted to do things our way and not God’s way.

Abraham is known as a man of faith for a good reason. I am very sure he didn’t want to take his only son Isaac to be sacrificed as God instructed him to but he went by faith. And because of his faith, God declared a beautiful promise to Abraham: “and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.””‭‭Genesis‬ ‭22:16-18‬

Even though we may not feel like praying for someone that has wronged us we should still pray for them. You may find it challenging to follow God’s will but if you are serving him we are called to all joyfully obey his commands.

And we can all be assured that “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah‬ ‭58:11‬

Thought: Are you going where God is leading you or are you doing it all your way? If you are not praying and seeking his guidance on a daily basis then you just might be doing things your way.

Prayer: Abba Father, we want to be useful in your kingdom and obey your will with joy as your angels do in heaven. Teach us to meditate on your word day and night so we are like a tree planted in a stream of water bearing good fruit in season. Amen

Do you KNOW Christ?

food for thought - Godly Woman 911

A family member of a friend passed away today and the questions on persons minds were “Did he have a relationship with Christ? Was he saved?”

It saddens me when I think of persons who have left this earth and you are not assured or comforted in the knowledge of their relationship with God. But what is even more discouraging and heart breaking is the fact that in many cases they knew of God.

This is very much so in the Caribbean where we have been blessed with the opportunity to not only know God but to openly worship and praise HIM. We know that not many nations have been given the same opportunity.

But so many turn away from the message and the Good News to do things their way. 

There is a difference between the knowing of God and KNOWING God! When you are in the knowing, it is as the Psalmist declares “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭19:1, 7-10‬

As I said to a couple the other day, accepting Christ as your Savior is the same as going to apply for a US visa… Each apply on their own merit. Neither could apply for the other. It is the same as with our relationship with Christ. Your mother, grand father, sister, Pastor or friend can have that KNOWING but you need to know and accept Christ for yourself.

“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!” Proverbs‬ ‭30:4‬ ‭

If you are not saved and not in the KNOW (through a close relationship with God your Savior) I invite you to call on him today.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Romans‬ ‭10:9-10, 13‬

Repeat this prayer:

Heavenly Father, your word tells me that by declaring with my mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believing with all my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, then I am saved. I declare this today in Jesus name. I am a sinner. Cleanse me dear Lord and renew my soul. I accept you as my Savior and Lord and want to change from my sinful ways and serve you. Help me to obey and do your will. In Jesus name. Amen

Food for Thought: If you are a Christian, have you prayed for someone to be saved today? For the next 7 days let us all identify different people we would like to pray for. That God will soften their hearts and they will accept HIM as their personal Lord and Savior.

My prayer today is that each of you that read this post will obey God’s command to spread the Good News and pray on behalf of all sinners as his Word declares in 1 Timothy‬ ‭2:1, 4 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—… [God] who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”‬ In Jesus name. Amen

Solitude in renewal

solitude in renewal - @Godlywoman911
Years ago my Pastor announced that they were going to be away for a few weeks for sabbatical …

Huh?

At the time I didn’t understand what that meant and frankly I didn’t even think it was my place to ask.

But just recently the topic of renewal came up and it reminded me how important it was for Christians to be continually renewed.

We all require renewal and there is a strong need for this discipline.

Many of us take to heart God’s word which tells us that “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Matthew‬ ‭9:37‬ ‭ 

This is good! We are to take seriously the work of God, ensuring that we follow God’s will and do his work. But sometimes we are so focused on the work that we forget that WE also need to take time out to come to him.

Your renewal should be in solitude and quiet.

In Jesus’ ministry he showed us the importance of solitude for renewal. Jesus time of solitude was spending time with God. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke‬ ‭5:16‬

As Christians we need that continuous renewal as well. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.‭‭ Mark‬ ‭6:31-32‬ ‭

When we seek that discipline of solitude we will not only seek Christ first in all things and have the knowledge to do HIS will, but it will also deepen and strengthen our relationship with Christ. And this discipline is through our prayer and worship when we seek Christ in a quiet place.

Thought: Jesus prepared for 30 years and taught for 3. How are you preparing yourself for the work ahead? You may not be able to go on a sabbatical but do you daily seek God in solitude so that he can refresh and renew you to go out and do HIS work?

Prayer: Abba Father, forgive us when we not only allow this world’s craziness to cut our time with you but also forgive us for not seeking you first. It is in our desire to seek you first that our discipline of solitude in renewal will increase. Guide and strengthen us, in Jesus name. Amen 

The prostitute

The prostitute

Our past can truly haunt us!

The decisions and choices we make sometimes create a domino effect that allows us to feel lost and hopeless.

I was reading the bible about Noah and Daniel and for both, the bible stated that God called them righteous. My thoughts then ran to “Wow, if only I could live up to that as well.”

Which led me then to explore women of faith. In reading the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11, I was left in wonder when the only named woman was Rahab, a harlot.

The Word

Rahab was a prostitute of Jericho and this is her story:

 

“Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.”

So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.

When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.” So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.

She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.” “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Joshua‬ ‭2:1-21‬ ‭

Rahab the prostitute- Godly Woman 911
Understanding

When the Israelites captured Jericho, Rahab and her entire household was spared.

But Rahab’s story doesn’t end there.

Rahab married and gave birth to Boaz. Boaz married Ruth and became the father of Obed, the grandfather of Jesse, and the great grandfather of David.

So Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute became part of the lineage of King David and Jesus! ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1:1-16‬ ‭

Rahab’s insights (Joshua 2:9-11) confirms that she was a woman of faith. According to rabbinic tradition, Rahab was one of the four most beautiful women in the world and was the ancestor of eight prophets, including Jeremiah and the prophetess Huldah.

Isn’t God amazing. He uses the least of us for great and mighty things!

Reflection

Thoughts: God doesn’t label us. He infuses his wisdom and allows us to carry out his will. Don’t let your past or previous choices stop you from doing God’s will.

Prayer: Abba Father, you alone know our hearts. May we be joyfully obedient to your will and release past chains that may be binding us. Amen

May God’s grace, mercy and love be with you.

 

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My mama didn’t raise no quitter!

Have you ever read a story that left you mystified? The Bible is such an amazing book filled with not just stories to entertain but words that carries strong emotions within us that leave an invariable lesson and teaching in our own lives today.

The story of Paul and Barnabas is truly amazing and resonates strongly within my life.

Imagine getting the beat down of your life! People who just treated you like a God has suddenly turned on you and started throwing stones at you. Leaving you for dead!

“In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” Acts‬ ‭14:8-20‬ ‭
Path - Godly Woman 911

Isn’t that mind blowing! Paul leaves no commentary here on how he felt… He doesn’t go to a healer… He doesn’t take days off… He doesn’t quit!

He just got up and went back into the city and then the next day he walked 60 miles to another city…. 60 miles!

Let’s be honest with ourselves… How many of us would have done that?

Paul realized that “My life is not my own”…

Thought: Time is short. The harvest is plentiful and workers are few. When the Devil knocks you down just get back up and keep on going. Don’t quit!

Prayer: Father, forgive us when we open the door for the evil one to cause us to complain or just quit your work. Strengthen us Lord and grant us thy faith. May we obey your will joyfully in all storms of life. Amen