Monthly Archives: April 2013

Train Up A Child

While doing some reading a few days ago, I stumbled upon an interesting post the other day that I cannot seem to locate but wanted to say something about it because the subject matter stuck in my mind for a few days and I couldn’t shake it.

The post was in reference to a young lady who expressed her dislike with her mother when telling her to pray about something when faced with a life-changing decision or obstacles that she would encounter in daily life.

It was understood that her mom’s reason for doing this was because it was considered socially acceptable and a natural response. She expressed her frustration and feelings of being ignored when it comes to the fact that her mother is aware she clearly does not share the same beliefs but chooses to do this on a regular basis.

As I am reading this I couldn’t help but wonder had I been in this person’s shoes what would I have done? And while there are way too many variables to deduce why her mother may have done this with the exception of what she noted, I find given the fact had I been aware of my child’s non-belief, I simply would have said “I will be praying for you.”

On the other hand, had this been one of my children, my response would not have been questionable because I would have said the same thing as did her mother, “Pray about it” as well as “I will be praying for you.”

Not because I feel it is socially acceptable as this person believed the reason her mother does this. Nor would I have done this to impose my own personal beliefs upon them or disrespect theirs, but it would have been because I am comfortable and confident where my children are in their spirituality and beliefs. I know my audience. We share the same religious beliefs.

I grew up in a household with my sisters and brother where we were raised with the same faith and religious tradition of my mother and great-grandmother. We attended church and they instilled Christian values and the teachings of God and Jesus Christ. As I grew up, I chose to hold on to those beliefs and felt it was important to my development and future growth which helped mold and shape me into the person I am today.

When I become a mother, I made the decision in my household to instill and practice the same tradition, religion, and values within my children my mom and great-grandmother taught me. Throughout my children’s lives I would encourage them. I believed it was essential to set the foundation for their future development.

With the understanding that as my children grew up, it would ultimately be up to them to choose their own path but would hope that they continue on the path they were raised and continue with the tradition. Because it was clear I could not choose their faith for them, they would have to experience that on their own. And it would have to be based on their belief and not mine. And regardless, I would love them the same and support their decision.

As life would have it, when they became adults thankfully they held the same beliefs and followed the same practice. And as it stands today, we as a family attend the same church and share the same beliefs with the exception of one of my children who have a different preference.

As a parent I feel it is my obligation to guide and nurture my children in their spiritual development. No matter what situation they may find themselves in, I believe it is essential to instill spiritual guidance and wisdom and provide godly advice and encouragement that is in alignment with my beliefs. Of which I do when presented the opportunity. The greatest thing is they don’t become offended by it but they welcome it and oftentimes are in agreement with it. And will thank me for it. It warms my heart.

As Christians, we are given a charge to pray for others. When I express my intent to pray for my children, I don’t look for a response but  work to encourage and assure them God is in control. I strongly believe prayer is the answer and changes things. It is through my faith, dedication, and commitment to God to pray for others no matter the controversy or conflict it may bring. And is something I will continue to do for my children until I no longer have breath.

As I stated before, I am not one to impose my religious beliefs or preference on others because not everyone you encounter will believe in God or share the same faith. Yet it is not for us to judge. However, we are to remain loyal and true to our beliefs. And not compromise our faith to please, fit in, or be accepted by others.

When your offspring come to you and make you aware that their beliefs are different from yours, don’t become upset by it or disregard it. Have respect for it. Continue in your role as a parent to support, guide, lead, teach, encourage, and pray for them. Nurture them. Live by example. Practice what you preach. Pave the way that will lead them to a lasting, loving relationship with God.

“Train up a child. And although they may stray, they will not depart from it.They shall remember the way they were raised. With the hope they desire to live by what they were taught. To walk in righteousness, glorify and give honor to God.”

Be blessed! –JD

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

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Life Is A Mystery

Scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, triptych...

Scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, triptych. Constantinople, late 10th c., crimson ivory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There will come a time in our life where we will sit and wonder had we done things differently? Would our life have turned out differently?

We will ponder on mistakes we made. That left us distraught and dismayed. We will think about decisions that changed our life. Where we may have made things worse, given we had not thought about God once or twice. Or we will dwell on things that turned out as well as can be expected. And thanked God regardless, for the blessing.

We will reflect on things that were done for better or for worse. Good and bad things that occurred we think were either a blessing or a curse. Events that may have lifted our spirits or gotten us down, successful or failed businesses or jobs lost or found. There may have been marriages that are still going strong or may have ended in divorce but as a result helped us grow only to be stronger.

What can be said about the life we lived? Will it be a life remembered filled with sadness and tears. To ponder decisions made without wisdom that led to foolish actions. Or decisions that helped us learn from our actions? When faced with adversity, trouble, or strife, is it then we wonder what we did with our life? And ask questions that easily can be answered, had we given God time to send the right answer.

If you were given the opportunity to live life over again, would you do it only to change some things? Would you jump at the chance to correct the things you’ve done? Or would you thank God for the life he has given you and for what he has done.

Oftentimes life doesn’t go as we planned. However, it may be because it was our plan. For at any given moment, for reasons we may never understand, everything happens according to God’s plan. We may not feel there is absolute provision. When looking at our circumstances and indecision. There may be a fear of failure or the ability to maintain. But ultimately things will work for the greater good according to God’s plan.

God has predetermined the plan for our lives. He designed the blueprint that we may have everlasting life. He specifically designed a future for us. He created us to walk in the plan he set before us.

If I were given the opportunity to live my life over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Because it is by God’s grace I lived to witness how he brought me through. The storm and the rain and gave me life anew.

How can I re-live something I never knew would be? How could I possibly re-live the life I never knew that was set before me? Had I not gone through trials and tribulations, I would not be able to rejoice in the revelation. Of God’s wondrous love and how he carried me this far.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I live life with no resentment or regrets. There may be some things I may never forget. But I can’t be upset. I am thankful for every part of what I endured in my life. It was a blessing no matter the strife. I take the bitter with the sweet, the good with the bad. I rejoice knowing my future is not predicated by my past. It is God’s plan to give me hope and a future. Plans by the Creator to prune and nurture. To develop into the person he predestined I would be. To be all that he created me to be.

God knew us before he formed us in our mother’s womb. He set us apart for his purpose. He will groom us. To be used as the vessel to fulfill His preplanned purpose. All things happen in life for a reason. It is for a purpose. God may reveal. It is his divine will. Do the work he has called you to do, live life abundantly in spite of what you’ve been through. He assigned it to you before you were born. Accept the call. Love, obey, and serve God.

Believe that the person you turned out to be, is the person God created you to be. Everything that concerns you will fulfill his purpose for you. Circumstances or situations are designed to perfect you. God will do that for you. Through every experience you face in life. Count it all joy. Be thankful for your life.

Life is a mystery. We will never know all the answers. But if you were to ask yourself this question, what would be your answer. If you were given the opportunity to live life over again, would you change anything? Or would you surrender your will to God and give Him reign? To do what he knows is best. Would you pass the test? Would you change some things to avoid what you experienced? Or would you accept the things you went through as a blessed experience?

To wish you had another life may not mean a thing had you lived it any other way. Embrace where you are today. God has given you the gift of life to freely live. Live and embellish it with trembling and fear. Don’t let it be your desire to change a thing. Instead, accept it as a blessing; cherish it, whatever it will bring. Glorify God. Do well with what you have. Your future is waiting, let go of your past. Had it not been for the plans God had for your life, you may not be here today to witness the life of Christ. Rejoice. Appreciate it. Tell the world what God has done for you while living it.

Jesus’ life was a living example. God didn’t change a thing. Had anything changed, we wouldn’t be here to speak of how we have been changed. We wouldn’t be able to share the gospel of Christ. Had Jesus been sent here to live a different life. Thank God. Don’t regret a thing in your life.

Be blessed! -JD

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

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When Life Is Not A Bed Of Roses

Today has been a peculiar day. My thoughts are all over the place. As I think of those who are struggling with the perils of life and may feel out of place.

The words I’ve chosen to share with you are a bit out of character for me. But I couldn’t help to share with you what I am thinking. I believe the things I speak of are someone’s reality. And an unreality for those who choose not to see but accept life as, “What will be, will be.”

When life changes in an instant and we have no control of it, it can be overwhelming and unclear. The very place we may find ourselves sometimes can be frightening and cause fear. Especially when we are not accustomed to the manner we are required to live. We start to lose sight of the purpose intended and question the reason why we may be there. We start looking at our circumstances that will cause our minds to wander in despair.

We begin to struggle mentally to maintain. We become overwhelmed and our thoughts begin to reflect pain. Pain we begin to feel in our hearts and head that may cause us to feel worthless and ashamed.

We begin to feel insecure and feel like we are victims when criticized. For everything, in the eyes of those who criticize and feel we are not doing anything right. We feel as though we are a burden and feel helpless. Even though, we would if we could, change the situation or correct it.

There are ones who may become depressed and begin to feel anxiety. And begin to say things like, “Why didn’t my life turn out the way it was supposed to be? I hate my life. Why am I here? What happened? Why can’t I maintain? Given the life I have lived, I shouldn’t be where I am. Why am I in such pain?”

Self-pity sets in and they begin to ask, “Why can’t anyone understand why I feel as I do? Why do they think they’re perfect but find fault in everything I do?” Or fail to understand there may be something they lack to make me feel accepted. When crushed on every side. It is perplexing.

If only they would take the time to look at the situation at hand. And try to have some empathy or simply understand. The adjustment that person had to make. And avoid making it a one-sided adjustment which may cause someone to mentally break.

Regardless who we are, change will come. It will require compromise. It will impact all parties involved and can be hard. There are sacrifices to be made on everyone’s part. But each person must be willing to make the sacrifice as they go through. And evaluate how they may positively contribute to the environment one will exist, because humility will be required from each of you

Not everyone is perfect, nor is life. At some point and time we all will experience change in our life. When this happens, we must not ignore the feelings of others. We may find ourselves in the same predicament and would expect the same from others.

We don’t know what people are going through. And to live with someone that lacks empathy can be challenging. Especially when one doesn’t like the predicament they now find themselves in.

What we think we become, and what we become we will live. We must not let the mind play tricks and cause us to believe we are worthless or have no reason to live. There is a reason and a purpose God still has us here. There is a reason for everything. Live. But don’t be overcome with anxiety or fear.

We must remember things happen in life at no fault of our own. But God will never forsake us or leave us alone. Everything happens for a reason. Seasons are temporary. They don’t last forever. Make the best of life until things get better.

We must learn to trust God in the midst of our storm. And have faith we will be delivered. No matter the storms, don’t cry yourself a river.

Don’t lose hope. God will not give you more than you can bear. He will supply all your needs even when it doesn’t look like it or you think life is not fair. We live in a fallen world and some things are to be expected. We have to be prepared for the unexpected.

Trust God in the midst of bad circumstances. Remember God is a god of second chances. Stay on course. Have faith. Trust God for everything. His love will overshadow clouds and peace he will bring.

When life is not a bed of roses, don’t overestimate it. Rather focus on what you make of it. To make a difference in the life you live and not what you think of it. Accept life for what it is and think on these things. No matter the hardships life may bring. When faced with uncertainty or change, believe it is for the best. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. Let God handle the rest.

Positive thinking is the key. The right mindset will help you face your fears. Don’t spend a lifetime wondering why or trying to figure life out, only to waste unnecessary years.

Let God be your guide in everything you do. Keep the faith. Remember, God will see you through. God is always with you.

Be blessed! -JD

James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test , that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

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What If It Were a Matter of Life and Imminent Death?

I am not much of a talker but when I converse with others, I find that one of the hardest subjects to talk about with family and friends is death, even though we all know it is inevitable. There are many who are not willing or able to discuss it. But it is something we all must come to terms with.

After watching The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion show on  Katie Couric’s  show, Katie, and hearing of Valerie Harper’s current fight with terminal brain cancer, I couldn’t help but think about what would be the ultimate response to our having to deal with death after being told we had a short time to live.

I was and still am a big fan of The Mary Tyler Moore show and while watching them share memories and seeing my favorites Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel all together, it put a ton of smiles on my face. I did pretty well with my emotions until Katie started asking Valerie questions in regards to how she was coping since being diagnosed and receiving the news.

As she began to speak and celebrate family and friends and express her appreciation of support from the nation, tears began to flow from my eyes like a river in celebration. She was smiling and had this to say, “Don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral. Don’t miss your life while you’re feeling good and can do things… Let it be there and go through it, then move on from it.”

I thought, “Wow.” She is courageous, positive, vibrant, loving, carefree, and upbeat. A wise soul I could clearly see, who felt as though there was not a worry in the world. She’s handling it quite well. I lay in bed and clapped to commend her. I loved her attitude. It was priceless. Her strength was unbelievable.

I began asking myself and ask you too, with death being inevitable, what would you do? If you were told today you had only a few months or a short time to live? What would be your response to the devastating news?

What if you had to write your own eulogy for your funeral? What could you possibly say that would make a difference? To someone who may not know how to cope as well as you? Or may be able to cope the same way Valerie’s has, given what she’s been through? What would you have to say about yourself and the life you lived? How would you handle knowing the estimated time your own death was imminent?

I know it’s a lot I’m asking of you because it is a lot I am asking of myself too. But I really would like you to take a moment and think this through. Not for me, but for yourself in the hopes it may prepare you.

As for me, this is what I would simply say, “I lived life vicariously.” Through my relationship with God and held on to my trust and faith. Yes, there were times when I didn’t understand why my life turned out the way it did. I am truly grateful to God it did. Grateful for his saving me from a life that could have been worse, had I continued to feel sorry for myself and lived in misery. I’m thankful. I don’t have any regrets.

I would want to be remembered not for what I’ve done but for what God allowed me to overcome. With the hopes that my life was a reflection of inspiration and encouragement, to know that a life well deserved was a life well spent.

Don’t ponder on things you can’t change. Instead live and rejoice because of things that didn’t remain the same. In the face of death, take Valerie’s advice. Don’t give up on life. Only to make matters worse because you’ve been told you will leave before you expected. Remember, death is to be expected. And we must be prepared for when the day comes. Live your life to the fullest and thank God for the time you have been given until it does.

What if it were a matter of life and imminent death?

I say, “Don’t fret.” Don’t hurry what will happen and live with sadness, bitterness, and regret. Take each moment as it comes and be thankful for it. We all are one breath away from leaving this earth. Embrace God’s gift and make it all worth it. Thank God for healing. Thank him for strength and courage to make it through. Thank him the time he has given you.

Until that time comes, continue to build a relationship with God. Stay committed to reading God’s Word and applying it daily that you may live life abundantly and overcome. Meditate. Be patient while you wait. So that when your time comes, no time will have been wasted.

Be blessed! –JD

2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”

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Praying and Thinking of You

In my experience, I have seen numerous events like 9/11 attacks that have caused the nation to grieve, and in time recover and find healing and peace. Nothing will ever compare to it. But this past week has been overwhelming. To see and hear breaking news reports every day has taken its toll on many, including me. It has been a dramatic, draining week. With news reports that have either startled or disturbed me. It is has been devastating.

It began on Monday with the Boston marathon explosion and as a result of the deadly attacks, three people were killed and 176 wounded. Then there was news of a poisoned letter sent to the President, the Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed at least 14 people and parts of a community is now missing, and a powerful earthquake in China that killed 156 people and 5,500 injured with a number of people still missing.

With the week ending in a shootout and firing of explosives where more victims were hurt or killed, and lock down of a city in the attempt to capture those who were responsible for Monday’s Boston marathon tragic event. Innocent lives being taken, many critically injured or wounded and still there’s an unspecified number of people still not accounted for in many events that have been reported.

In all my years, I don’t recall ever having witnessed such chaos and confusion seen consistently as I’ve seen this past week. Sadly, we don’t what will come next or what will happen in the coming weeks. All we can do is be prepared mentally and not react to what we continue to see. The best response is to pray for the families hurting, the weak and the weary, and ones grieved.

Pray for loved ones, lost ones, and families across the nation. They are going through a difficult time. Make a faith declaration. To show your trust and faith in what you believe; God, even thought we cannot see Him. Keep the victims and families who have experienced tragedy in prayer every day. God will make a way.

Unfortunately, the events sadly may now lead to fear and avoidance for some, where many may become afraid to leave their homes. There are some who now do not feel safe and are afraid to return to the place they once felt safe. The place they called home before the earthquake. There may be a rise in the incidence of people who may begin to avoid crowds, minimize or change they way do things in the wake of what’s happening now.

Sadly, tragedies have occurred that will hurt generations for years to come but let it not put fear in our hearts because of what others have done.

However, let this be a time where we reinforce our values and things we hold dear and near to our heart. To live in peace with one another in spite our feeling overwrought, in light of the world that seems to be ripping apart.

Guard your heart. Let God be your guide. Avoid anger, temptation, and pride. Do as God’s Word instructs, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Strive for contentment no matter what others do.

In every situation no matter what you may face, keep your mind and thoughts in the right place. Don’t give up. But continue to run the race. Praise God no matter what you may face. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4: 8).

Keep the families and victims in your thoughts and prayers. Pray that God comforts and strengthen them during their times of despair.

As for me, please know we are praying and thinking of you. May God bless you.

Be blessed! -JD

Isaiah 40:28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With You

As I prepared to rest from a long day of tests, my soul cried out praying for rest, divine healing, and comfort when hearing of today’s tragedy of those affected by the explosions at the Boston marathon.

I couldn’t help but think here we are faced again with yet another senseless act affecting the innocent. And assured with current events, we are living in the last days as evidenced, by threats and rumors of war, pestilence, famine, and earthquakes, unexplained natural disasters and an increase in things that don’t make sense.

And while we may never understand any of this, we mustn’t be blind to the things we see. We are to be prepared and draw nearer to thee.

My first instinct was to pray immediately, as I turned off the television because the media has a tendency to overdo reporting events such as this. And it only frustrates the real intent.  I prayed out to God and said unto thee, “Lord, please have mercy on the nation. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone and those affected by today’s Boston marathon tragedy. Jesus, be a fence.”

I quietly said to God, “The world is in need of fervent prayer not only today, but every day. As the enemy continues to make his way, into the lives of innocent people only to fulfill, what you have presented in your Word that will be fulfilled.

I don’t have a lot to say. I only ask that everyone keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers. Please pray. There’s so much going on in the world today. And sadly, is something God’s Word tells us must occur even though we continue to see it every day.

Jesus is coming back again one day. Be less concerned with the date or when. Rather, be prepared when he comes again. Be consistent as you live God’s way. Thereby, no matter what when He comes that day.  In glory, he will claim you as his own. Don’t waste precious time looking at other people to blame. Look to God. Glorify his name.

Until then, know that there is no pain God cannot heal no sorrow He cannot comfort. God is the Father of mercies and of all our pain, sorrow, and comfort. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).  Boston, we are praying for you.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims of today’s explosions in Boston and the nation. May God send comfort, divine healing, and restoration. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

Be blessed! -JD

Matthew 24:3-6 “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming out of the end of the age?”

4 Jesus answered “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”

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Take a Look Around and Tell Me What Do You See?

English: A homeless person's shelter under a f...

English: A homeless person’s shelter under a fallen Willow tree along in New South Wales, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a look around and tell me what do you see? Do you know what life can be like for someone living in agony? But still thank God for the life they live? And they are appreciative? They are still able to maintain not because of what they see. But because even during their affliction, they still may bring God glory.

Stop and take a moment and observe the place in life you’re in right now. Ask yourself, if anything, what am I thankful for anyhow? Do you see anything that may be amiss? Or do you feel uncomfortable, sad, or is it heavenly bliss?

When I look around where I find myself now. I see people in a hurry, really going nowhere. I see homeless people that have nowhere to go because the home they once lived in is no longer there. I see people sick and in pain, lonely, have lost loved ones. I see people hurting because life to them is no longer fun. I see those that are lost, in search of answers, and can’t find their way. I see people struggling day to day. Just to make it through the day.

There’s someone having a hard time living with a sickness or a condition where they cannot care for themselves, let alone live with someone else. Or have to live in a place where someone has to care for them. And basically have no control of their life but still they win because they are still living.

Take a look around and tell me what do you see? Do you see a life that may not be what you want it to be? And find yourself in a precarious predicament. Only to feel you are spent. Since nothing’s going right according to you. But to God it is right where he needs you.

Be thankful. Don’t take life for granted. Even if you are living a life you are not accustomed to, don’t let it take hold of you. Even if you don’t agree with what’s being required of you. Don’t complain about it. Or even be mad about it. Instead, praise God. Be glad about it. Because life happens and we don’t have any control over it. And although we can take charge of it, remember God is in total control of it.

We may complain about things we don’t have or because life is not going our way. But remember, in the life of someone else it could be worse than we could ever feel on any given day. There is someone, somewhere, who right now is in the fight for their life. They are not living in paradise. As they struggle to stay alive.

Needless to say, once we die. We are taken away from this earth permanently. We won’t ever again have an opportunity, to live life abundantly. One God gave us for free. We won’t ever wake again. To make the best of a life we once took for granted.

Thank God wherever you are in the face of adversity. Take it all in stride with humility. Humble yourself. Know it is part of God’s plan. Everything we encounter has a purpose and is better than. What we can imagine. Don’t despair. It is a privilege to be there, where you are. Be thankful to God that he brought you to it. Make the best of it.

Take a look around and tell me what do you see? Even though life may not be what you want it to be. Remember there are so many people that are much worse off than you or me. Count it all joy!

Be blessed! -JD

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

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Look for the “Test” in Everything

Good and Evil

Good and Evil (Photo credit: WELS.net)

In every aspect of our life, when making life-changing decisions, it will require the ability to use good, sound judgment.

Using good judgment will require a healthy state of mind and a willingness on our part to think through issues that will end in positive results. This in turn will allow us to make choices based on what is right and oftentimes prompt us to evaluate the consequence that will be associated with the event.

When we are young, we make rash decisions based on thoughts before considering consequences of our actions. As we grow older, we still may incorporate the same process but will find after numerous failures, we come to the conclusion that if we “should of, could of, would of”, maybe it would have turned out differently. With an afterthought, when faced with idle time to think, “I wish I would have chosen to do it differently.”

Oftentimes, I wonder why is it, when we fail to use sound judgment and suffer because of choices we make, we choose to blame the world for our mistakes. Instead of making a conscious decision to look at ourselves before trouble sets upon us. Only to be held accountable for our actions while taking responsibility for what we’ve done.

I had to take a hard look at this before coming up with what I believe happens. And this is what I think:

When we think irrationally, what we think may look good on the outside will not be good or even feel good on the inside when faced with reality. Irrational thoughts provoke irrational behavior that oftentimes will produce severe consequences.

Yet I am a firm believer it doesn’t take rocket science to know the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. However, the most difficult part of distinguishing the difference is when your judgment is clouded by other forces of nature. Be it as the result of someone you may love and have placed as a priority in your life or a job or something of material value that will take precedence.

As such, we then find ourselves faced with consequences that may render us helpless. And we give control to others while being forced to think about what just happened. We pay a dear price.

With age comes maturity. As we mature, by experience, we gain the ability to discriminate between right and wrong. I call this discernment. We generally recognize truth from deception. And sometimes can be shaped by our limited perception. Spiritual discernment on the other hand is a gift from God. It is not flawed.

It’s not something that we acquire instantly. It takes time and experience along with hard work and dedication, constantly. It comes specifically from God. It allows us to understand that which is not visibly apparent and oftentimes can be hard. It gives us the ability to accurately perceive opposing spirits to determine what’s right and what’s wrong. It helps us choose the right course of action with the help of God.

To fully understand the gift of discernment is to be able to determine the process by which we will apply deductive reasoning when making decisions or weigh evidence that will produce answers in our best interest.

1 Corinthians 12:10 tells us discernment is a spiritual gift. Hebrews 5:14 teaches that it must be developed by constant practice. It is having the ability to be consistent with careful observation between good and bad people and things. We look for the “test” in everything.

But we must not judge based on what we see. We must have a clear conscious of that we don’t see. John 7:24 puts it precisely, Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” Judge based on reality.

In your mind, conceptualize things based on the element of what you are faced with. Logically consider alternatives and likely consequences. Weigh heavily potential risks when making hasty decisions. This will help clarify clouded judgment and wrong intentions. And will point you in the right direction in the end. And help you make the right decision to avoid losing it all in the end.

Be it general or spiritual, discover the gift of discernment. Make good, sound judgment. Use your gift wisely. Let the spirit lead and guide you. Reject impure thoughts that are evil in nature; coupled with actions that may deter you. Only to be caught up in a compromising situation you find yourself in. One you clearly may not have been in. Had you used good, sound judgment.

Words of wisdom are usually given by the wise. We mustn’t ignore them when refusing to swallow our foolish pride. God’s Word instructs us wisely. Listen. It is godly.

Humble yourself. Get it right. Use the gift of discernment to do what is right. Be clear. Ask yourself this with the life-changing event, “Why am I doing this?” “What results will come from it?” “Will it be pleasing in God’s sight?” And if the answer is no, then it isn’t right.

If it is yes, the answer will come readily. It won’t take much to differentiate. The right or wrong decision you choose to make. The decision that will ultimately change your life based on what you don’t see. And will be the right decision based on what you believe; God.

Look for the “test” in everything.

Be blessed! –JD

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.”

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What Seed Are You Sowing?

There are days when I find myself asking “Why?”
Why must people hurt others with deception and lies?
What makes a person do such a thing?
Knowing how much heartbreak and pain it can bring.

What is it we are not sure of when the Bible tells us this?
God is not mocked in that he cannot be deceived.
For whatever a man sows, he shall also reap. (Gal 6:7)

We may fool ourselves when we hit or miss.
And for our actions, think we will not be punished.
Regardless what we may think, we cannot fool God.
He will not ignore what we have done.

We are not exempt when we impose our foolish will.
There will be a consequence.
Our behavior will not go without punishment.

Remember God is all knowing.
Nothing can be hidden from his sight.
He sees and knows all our wrongs and rights.

Ask yourself this.
What kind of seed are you sowing that you may be blessed?

Are you planting seeds to please God that you may reap?
Blessings of God’s joy, love and peace?
Are you planting right to receive a harvest in the afterlife?
An eternal reward; God’s gift of everlasting life.

Or are you planting seeds to please your own desires?
By doing the exact opposite of what God desires you to do?
To only reap what you planted; the seed sown by you.

“For as he thinketh in his heart so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)
It is the things he will do as his thoughts cause him to be.

In the end, we all must give an account to God for what we’ve done.
We will account for our conduct in this world, whether right or wrong.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Co 5:10)

Let the Word of God be your conscious and your guide.
Plant the right seed that you may reap good fruit in the tree of life.
Live to please God. Sow good seed.
Plant acts of kindness and good deed.

So that your efforts are rewarded as you prosper and grow.
Fruit of the Spirit can be an example you follow
To determine what kind of seed you are to sow.

These are the attributes of a true Christian life.
And are the fruits that we are to produce in our life with Jesus Christ.

What seed are you sowing?

Be blessed! -JD

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.”

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It’s Me Lord and I Simply Want To Say

A Simple Thank You Lord,

filled with a breath prayer simply to say,

Thank You God

for making a way.

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Say A Prayer

When I heard news of the death of Roger Ebert I couldn’t help but share a thought and my prayers with the world as I lay bewildered, surprised. I began to think how soon our lives can be taken as quickly as we are given life.

Roger Ebert was a favorite of mine. And my heart skipped a beat when I heard he was gone in just that short time. He had just announced yesterday he was taking a “leave of presence” after learning his cancer had returned. And today his presence is gone and he will never return.

We never know when our time will come. Death waits for no one. As quickly as we breathe, it can be our last breath. Even when we think God is not through with us yet. When he says it’s our time. It’s time. When he says it’s done. His Will will be done.

It’s no longer “here today, gone tomorrow.” It’s “here today, gone today.” We must be ready when the time comes when we are taken away. Prepare every day. Live as God desires, the way he has designed for you to live. Seek him, find him and know him before he takes the life he has given. Be ready.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may be recompensed for the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Say a prayer.

The world lost a legendary figure today. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers and pray.  I will lift up the family and friends of Roger Ebert as I pray.

“Father, I thank you for your Sovereignty. You are full of grace and mercy. God, guard and heal the hearts of the family. Give them strength and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Comfort them in their time of sorrow in the loss of their loved one. Watch over them. Keep them safe in your arms. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Be blessed! -JD

John 14: 1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

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Will You Cry About It or Pray About It?

1 Peter 1 Verses 6-7 #1Have you ever thought, why is it so easy to witness to others about Christ with the goal to uplift, encourage and inspire but feel, when you find yourself in a sea of brokenness, you are the hardest person to receive the same inspiration or encouragement because you feel God is not answering your prayers? Do you ever wonder why that is? What do you do? I ask myself the same questions I am asking you.

Life brings about change. And sometimes when we find ourselves in a situation that we either have no control over or are uncomfortable in because it is necessary based on our circumstance, we either have the choice to cry about it or pray about it. Which one will you choose?

No matter what situation we encounter in life, sometimes God’s answer is “No, not yet.” Or it is “Delayed but never denied.” Yet it is never “No or never.”

God has a reason for our trials and tribulations. We are not immune to it. There is a divine purpose. Yet we are to be held to a standard to obey and be patient while we wait in it.

When I would wait, I remember distinctly when God would present answers to my prayers and I would choose to ignore his leading, taking it upon myself to follow my own lead. God would always be there as this would happen time and time again. But out of my stubbornness and pride, I would choose not to listen and would turn my back on him. And then would have the audacity to question his plan and require more proof that it was in fact his answer before I would accept it.

Until one day I had no other choice but to go back to him after I would suffer consequences that were beyond belief all while taking responsibility for my actions. As I would lift my eyes to hills from whence cometh my help and see. God come one final time and say to me, “My dear child. I am a God of many chances and my desire is to save you. I only want what’s best for you. I love you.”

“Although I will never turn my back on you, it is ultimately up to you to seize the opportunity I present that will help you grow more in the image of my Son and believe that it will work for the greater good not because of what you’ve done. But because of whom you will become in the image of my Son.”

In that moment, when God would send confirmation of his will, as I am face down looking at the bottom of the well, where I would find myself lost and broken, I would ask God to forgive me. With an understanding that this specific opportunity may never come again and it would be in my best interest to listen and take heed to his instruction.

Sometimes God will allow suffering in trials and tribulations so that we may rejoice because it is where we will learn an important lesson.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again, “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.” All which in the end will prove our faith in God. Take note. It is where God will demonstrate his love for us as we declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). He will never give us more than we can bear.

When God speaks we must have discernment to recognize his voice and not ours, and submit every area of our lives to his will. Yes, God is a god of many chances. But if we miss the chance to seize the opportunity when he reveals it, we ultimately will miss the blessing.

Therefore, when you find yourself at a crossroad in the midst of inspiring and encouraging others, let it serve as your inspiration and encouragement too.

While the choice to cry about it may seem easier to do, and in some cases, will be okay to do because we only want to release the pain that prevents us from following through. The best thing is to pray about it and listen for the voice of God to reveal the right answer in spite of it…the circumstance.

God will never allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear. No trial or tribulation will precede you that he will not give you the strength to endure. For, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

As for me, in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will make my requests known to God. I serve a mighty God! Devil, you’ve been served notice! You have no authority. I command you to return to the place from which you came and leave me be.

In the midst of my trials I will wait. No matter how long it takes.

I may shed some tears. I may cry about it. But I won’t ever stop going to God about it. I will pray without ceasing. I will run the race. No matter the difficulty, testing or trials I may face. God will send the answer. God gets all the glory. I thank him for opening doors for me. With God on my side, I will have victory.

Will you cry about it or pray about it? Which one will you choose?

I say, “Cry your last tear. Pray your way through. God has a greater reward for you. It will work for the greater good that it may fulfill. The divine purpose; rest assured of our faith that it is real. God’s Divine Providence will produce results to accomplish his will. Pray while you wait. Let the test become your testimony and become a testament of your faith.”

Be blessed! -JD

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award 2013

20130215045341As if this day couldn’t get any better, I received some exciting news that I have been nominated for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Looking for reasoning to a complicated world at http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/

This is my first time receiving such nomination and may not get this right. However I am very humbled and would like to take a moment to send a warm “thank you” to Looking for reasoning to a complicated world for the nomination.  Such a humbling experience. Thank you!

Every day, I wake up with a new revelation from God confirming the assignment he have purposed for me. All while sending affirmation that I am doing as he desires in spite of the adversity I may encounter . I thank Him.

Now I have to follow the rules as noted below in this particular order but if I err please know it’s not intentional. Here goes:

Rules: 

I now have to say 7 things about myself. Then nominate 15 people for the award.

7 things about me:

1.) I love and am in love with God.

2.) I am a twin.

3.) My two grandsons are my world. I am loyal and believe family and true friends are very important to me.

4.) I am very passionate about individuals who suffer with chronic pain or have been diagnosed with a chronic illness.

5.) I am an active, vocal, yet “silent” Chronic Pain advocate.

6.) Music is my number one passion.

7.)  I desire to visit Israel one day and have put it on my vision board to travel with my church next year.

Now for the hard part.

I can appreciate and have a deep love for the expression of art in any form be it poetry, music, art, dance, writing, or by voice.  So I took the liberty of using this as part of the basis for my selections below:

15 people I would like to nominate:

Living Simply In Abundance

W.H.A.T.!™

We Live By Faith

Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

Mustard Seed Budget

Live your life for God

Eva Santiago

The Lady Journal

Gladiola Photography

Looking for reasoning to a complicated world

HarsH ReaLiTy

hastywords

Ray Ferrer – Emotion on Canvas

“TAP YOUR NEIGHBOR”

Canadian Hiking Photography

Happy note: At the time of this post, I had not yet notified any of the nominees I listed above of the nominations because I was still trying to figure out this award recognition process and found the rules to be a bit time-consuming that took more work than anticipated or is required. And needless to say, I was a bit confused and didn’t manage to do it properly.  I’m still new at this, so forgive me.

Nevertheless, I wanted to acknowledge those I feel inspire and encourage my presence here. So if nothing else, the above list is my way of saying “thank you” for your inspiration and words of encouragement. Hopefully, I will get it right the next time.

Be blessed! -JD

 

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