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What if… ???

Not Envious JoaynnWhat if God treated you the same way you treated others with animosity, bitterness, resentment, hatred, and disrespect when you get offended, are simple-minded, inconsiderate, unthoughtful, and unloving?

What if God stopped speaking to you, stopped loving you, and looked down on you because you made one mistake, you don’t fit in his circle, or you failed him on a regular?

What if God didn’t forgive you or care about you at all because you’re a hot mess, you’re not worth his time, you’re useless, and don’t deserve his attention?

What if he wasn’t the loving, forgiving, sovereign, faithful, wonderful, marvelous, counselor, friend, he will always be? Think about it and then tell me where or who would you be?

Be blessed! – JD

Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV)

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Hey Part-time Servant of God, Listen Up! I Need Your Full, Undivided Attention!

Leaders JoaynnSorry for the long post…My heart is grieved. Not because I’m sad but because it saddens me when we profess to be Christians and do the opposite of what God desires from us, especially when we place conditions on him when making excuses to justify who we are not in him because we think we are entitled.

If you are in a REAL relationship with God, you will serve him. No ifs, ands, or buts. There is no gray area or middle ground with God. Either you will wholeheartedly serve him or you won’t. When you make the decision to give your life to him, you’re offering your life as a living sacrifice. You will desire to grow, mature, submit, giving your heart to God, be an example of Christ, and love as God does.

There are different ways we serve God but what we are not here for, TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE. Our service MUST be rooted in love. And should be a love-filled response and not an apathy-filled one. Too many times I witness people who profess to love the Lord but are not in the right relationship with him or are living examples of Christ in their actions, words, deeds, service, and obedience to him.

We put God in a box with only enough room to move in our lives as we see fit, when it’s convenient. Yes, we fail God every day and fall short of his glory on the regular but we must be careful when we offend him.

My observation: WHAT SERVING GOD IS NOT,

1) Judgmental, envious, jealous, hateful, spiteful, gossipers, doubters, and lack of compassion for others.

2) Serving ourselves instead of others.

3) Coming to church on Sundays, praise and worshipping but in a split second the moment someone strikes a “my nerves bad nerve”, you telling them what you ain’t gone do if it doesn’t benefit you.

4) USURPING God’s authority. Making deals with God like he’s beneath you because somewhere you were given authority and think your position supersedes his authority.

5) Wanting things to go your way because you think your position entitles you to it but fuss and complain when it doesn’t go as you insist and then tell God, “Okay…I’ll do it even though I don’t want to but…I’m serving you.” Like you’re doing him a favor!

6) Being ugly towards others, not humbling yourself before him when you’re wrong but expecting the highest level of respect because you think you deserve it.

7) Having a title, a fancy car, degrees, big houses, money, want people to look up to you, follow your own instructions but are not willing to take direction or instructions from others.

8) Looking down on others because they are not in your class, or hold the same status, or they merely don’t fit in your “circle.”

9) Not loving the unlovely or serving ALL mankind.

10) Looking for something in return just because you have “selfishly” or “unapologetically” given of your time to God…..and that’s just the beginning of the list of what not serving God looks like.

You may have missed the memo but last I checked, God doesn’t need anything from us. And he certainly does not need our help. If you’re serving God out of obligation and not out of obedience, it’s meaningless and not what God desires. Think twice before you commit to it and check yourself, your attitude, and your ways before you do it. Whomever thinks it’s okay to NEGOTIATE with God is playing a dangerous game with their soul.

As for me, I hold the highest reverence for God and out of my respect for who he is and what he means to me, I work daily to glorify him in all my doings even though I too fail him. If you profess to be a Christian, please stop playing with God and act like one. If you profess to be a Christian and serve God, please stop taking your servant role for granted and act like a servant.

Be careful how you treat God. He will humble you. He can take you from where you are and bring you to the lowest valley in 0 to 60 seconds, taking that which he has given you away until you can be humble.

If you want to be a leader, you MUST be willing to be a servant (Matthew 18:3-4). Anyone who is great or a leader is a servant. In order to be great, you MUST be humble with a lowly mentality, and not one full of pride. If you want to be a servant of God and lead others to Christ, act like one. Thanks for listening.

Be blessed! – JD

Matthew 18:3-4 “and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)

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Can’t See Your Way? Have Doubts? Hopeless? In Despair? What If…Why Not…Will You…Do This?? Trust God When You Can’t Trace Him!

Every Plan Joaynn.pngGod is…..faithful, sovereign, trustworthy, awesome, amazing, good, loving, marvelous, never failing, and more. So if we know all these things which clearly does not cover all who he is, then why do we worry?

When your situation seems hopeless, the least unpleasant thing happens, and you don’t know which way to turn that may cause you to doubt God, what if you were to stop right in your moment of desperation or frustration and ask yourself, “Wait a minute, time and time again when I couldn’t see no way out didn’t God work it out for the greater good?” What if….why not….will you….do this???

The moment you find yourself weary, discouraged, worrying or concerned about something you have no control over is the moment you need to give it to God, speak out loud or whisper “I trust you Lord,” and leave it there. The God I serve knows all about our troubles. And will answer in his timing. Fear is not option. Faith is. When we put our total trust in him he will work it out in our favor. What I know about God, He can do anything but fail.

Every plan has a purpose. Every promise is yes and amen. Every season has a lesson. Every trial or test is for a greater purpose. So, the next time you are fearful, start having doubts, and can’t trace God, trust Him!

Be blessed! – JD

Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (NIV)

 

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Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Joaynn510

He is Risen! Photo credit: http://www.joaynn510.wordpress.com

Across America this Easter, families will celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Traditionally, commercially you will see Easter eggs. And baskets filled with candy to celebrate the holiday. But let’s not forget the real reason why we celebrate.

This is what the day is truly about – the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day following his death on the cross. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. We are forgiven. He is Risen!

Rejoice! Celebrate not just today. But celebrate every day. It is the day we witness God’s promise of everlasting life. Jesus suffered and made the ultimate sacrifice. Resurrection Sunday – The Day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Be blessed! -JD

Luke 24:46-47 “and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the…

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OMGosh! Guess What? I’m Going To Be a Featured Guest on Royal Pen Network with host, National Best Selling Author Kendra Norman 3/29/18

28958411_10160277308265226_6391235563529175040_nI have been blessed with the astute opportunity to appear as a featured guest Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm (EST) on the Royal Pen Network with host, National Bestselling Author Kendra Norman Holmes. Words cannot express how humble I am God saw fit to bless me with this opportunity to be a blessing to others.

Please mark your calendars, SAVE the date March 29, 2018, and join the conversation tomorrow. Click on the Royal Pen Network link above or below for more details to listen in.

And please share!! Your support will be greatly appreciated. To God be the glory for all the marvelous things he has done. God is an awesome wonder!

Here’s the post from Royal Pen Network’s Facebook page detailing the event:

Royal Pen Network 

On Royal Pen Network’s next LIVE edition, you’ll meet JOY T. DARDEN, a woman who has championed through physical challenges to become a warrior for the kingdom of God. You may not know her by her full name, but it’s quite possible that you’ve seen many of her inspirational quotes posted throughout the Internet… all of them signed simply, “Joaynn” or her uplifting online blog, “Joaynn510.”

Reading her words of empowerment, one might never even guess that she faces the daily challenges brought on by a debilitating disease. The Bible clearly tells us that life and death lies in the power of the tongue, and every day, using her voice and her pen, Joy speaks life over herself and into the hearts of many others who read her frequent posts and blogs.

Tune in THIS WEEK… Thursday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. (EST) as Joy shares the mic with host, national bestselling author, KENDRA NORMAN on Royal Pen Network. Hear her share her testimony and talk about what inspires her to keep inspiring others. She’ll also share details about her book, “Unspoken Testimony Memoir: Secrets of a Southern Girl.”

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN!! Log in at www.blogtalkradio.com/RoyalPenNetwork and listen via the Web, OR dial (929) 477-1993 and tune in via phone for a chance to ask questions and make comments on the air. However you choose to tune in… just DON’T MISS IT! Join us and be PENspired!

Be blessed! – JD

 

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Your Steps Are STRATEGICALLY Ordered by God. Wait, I Say, Wait On the Lord!

Before Elevation JoaynnGod ordains or allows everything in this earth to happen in his timing. There is nothing He will allow to manifest that is not in perfect order according to his Word, his will, and his way, for such a time as this.

God has a set timetable. We may think it’s the perfect time to see the final result when we have completed all the work to get the job done. But then something happens that will cause further delay before we see the manifestation of his glory. We become confused, wondering what happened to cause the delay.

Wasn’t everything in order just the way we planned it? You think to yourself, “I followed instructions to a “t”, dotted all my “i”s. God says, “You missed something.” Now you have to wait longer for the right time to finish. You’re right at the finish line with one foot hovering over it, ready to cross and win the race, but “not yet” gets in your way. In the meantime you become frustrated because of the delay. You start complaining and want to give up. But you persevere, do what’s required, and realize it’s all for a greater purpose. It had to be done. It’s just that simple.

If you were to think about a time when you were working on a very important project and YOU thought everything was in order, things were going just as YOU planned, then out of nowhere a major obstacle got in the way requiring more work YOU did not want to put in. But you had to complete the task, regardless of the delay to reach the final outcome. “Not yet” had to happen before you reached your next level of destiny. God knew it even if you couldn’t see it.

Delayed is never, ever denied. God is developing you in the process. Whatever concerns you, he will perfect it. So if you’re impatient while you’re waiting for that dream or breakthrough to manifest, wondering where is God, and you think it’s taking too long. Wait for it. It’s coming; done decently and in order, exactly as God promise.

Be blessed! – JD

Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (NLT)

 

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Calling All Prayer Warriors, Please Say a Prayer

Our Thoughts And Prayers Are With You #2I know this picture looks familiar but with all that is going on in the world with yesterday’s senseless tragedy where 17 innocent people were killed in Parkland, Florida, I couldn’t help but share a revised copy of this post again today. In remembrance of those who have lost loved ones, to let them know we’re thinking of and praying for them.

There are times when I can’t look at the news and find myself far removed from things that trouble me. But yesterday was a day I couldn’t help but hear and see news of yet again unspeakable tragedy that took the lives of innocent people in Parkland, Florida. Now my heart is saddened and my soul has been stirred and shaken.

Once again tragedy has struck and taken lives of the innocent. God, I know I mustn’t ask when it all will end, because some things will continue to happen because of the fallen world we live in. I can’t keep up with all that’s going on in the world. The best thing I can do is pray for the loss of innocent souls. As well as those whose mind may have left momentarily because of the enemy, who may have convinced them only to confuse them that their life and the life of others needed to end.

Father, please forgive them for they know not what they do. Father, I ask that you cover them because of what they unknowingly may have done to hurt others and disobey you. I pray for the families who are now left behind bewildered and distraught, trying to figure out what happened to bring about this tragic time.

My prayers are with the victims and families of senseless tragedies and violent storms that continue to occur across the nation. God send strength, comfort, peace, and healing in light of devastation. Jesus, be a fence. May the blood of the Lamb protect them. I pray for strength of families who have lost loved ones, no matter the circumstance which they’ve lost loved ones. God calm the troubled waters of those who will cry endlessly, because of pain felt so deeply. Heal the hearts of those who may feel distraught, because of a void that has left a hole in their hearts. Peace be still. Heal their hearts.

God I know you are healer. You are a strong tower. You are God Almighty in every waking hour. Surround the homes of every family and friend. Dispatch angels of mercy to cover them. Your grace is sufficient no matter the tide. Let the hearts of those affected by tragedy be healed in the face of those who have been hurt, who are lost, or who have died. You are God all by yourself. For every family across the nation you are a present help. This is my prayer I pray. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Here’s a candle and a comforting scripture to let you know across the nation we are saying a prayer and thinking of you. We are praying for you.

Calling all prayer warriors, please say a prayer. Light a candle. Let them know God is there. Say a prayer for every family and victim across the nation everywhere. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matt 18:20). God hears the prayers of the righteous. May the peace of God be with them.

Be blessed. –JD

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (ESV)

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Hey You. Yeah You! Who Does This Remind You Of? Stop…Look…Listen!

Eye On You JoaynnWe are a peculiar people, designed by God to fulfill the assignment he predestined for us. Oftentimes, life has a funny way of revealing what we miss in the very things we hope for never understanding the purpose God intended. Especially when we want something so badly and in most cases get exactly what we ask for.

We find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, facing obstacles beyond our control, and nothing is going as “we” planned. We begin to look at our circumstances and not fix our mind on things above, only to have things go to the left or to the right and ask God, “Is this from you?” But know this, no matter what it is we may ask for without God, wherever we find ourselves will be the very place God wants us to be that he may be glorified.

Yes, we will run into obstacles that will cause us to rethink our decisions and become doubtful. We will even encounter the enemy who wants nothing more than to frustrate our purpose and cause us to give up. We start telling God things that are not true like “I want to be like everyone else and not have to be at war with the devil on every level.” We struggle in our faith walk forgetting, EVERYTHING we do in this earth has a divine purpose. It is never about us. God will get the glory. Even though we asked for it.

When faced with the unknown, stop trying to figure out what went wrong. Don’t ask God, “Why me?” Ask him, “Why not use me?” Move from the “Why me” way and forge towards the “God use me” way. Wherever you are, God will use you to fulfill his intended purpose, no matter what. It just may not look like it because of what you may be focused on. Believe me, in time it will happen.

We can never understand why things happen the way they do or why unpleasant things are happening to us. Get this, it’s simple. It’s not about us. God wants what’s best for us. No matter the obstacles, do good, get better, and do your best. Let go. And let God handle the rest.

Be blessed! – JD

Psalm 139:16-17 “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! (NKJV)

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s! Thank you God for blessing us to see a new year. Satan you have been defeated! We made it. 

As we go into the new year, let us reflect on how good God has been to us, never failing us no matter what we’ve been through. 

Let this be a time for new beginnings, new connections, new expectations, new endeavors, new vision, and new hope. 

Be bold. Be intentional. Whatever you are believing God for, speak it into existence. Name it. Claim it! Just because it didn’t happen last year doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. Delayed is never denied. Seek God’s will in all you do. Start renewed, refreshed. 

Let every endeavor be an opportunity to glorify God. Expect blessings and miracles. May the year bring prosperity and peace. 

Happy New Year’s! 

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

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Say What? The Devil Is Threatened. You Have Been Considered. Get Ready!

Move Forward Today JoaynnThere’s two days left. God is having a conversation with Satan you know nothing about. Two days left. It’s enough time for anything to happen. God is still working things out on your behalf. It’s going to work out in your favor. The devil is threatened. You have been considered. Two days left. God is aligning things properly for a greater purpose. There’s a shift going on. It’s time for you to pursue your calling.

When the two days are over your name will be great. Everything you’ve gone through will make perfect sense. His Word released it. It has already been established. Get ready! It only took three days for God to take Jesus through hell and back. What God starts he finishes. Two days is enough for God to do the impossible. He specializes in the impossible.

Imagine this. What would be your response if this were you and you added your name to the question God asked Satan when he said, “Have you consider my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil (Job 1:8)” What would your answer be? Would you be delighted God counted you worthy?

Satan met with God on several occasions concerning Job. God talked about how good his servant Job is. Job was tested several times. He lost his wealth, his family, and was afflicted with sores. His wife told him to “curse God and die.” Did he sin against God by cursing him? No he never did. Did he give up? No. He worshiped and blessed God. Satan tried his very best to make Job sin. Job didn’t give in to his evil devices. God blessed Job because he didn’t curse him. He gave him more than he had before. Follow Job’s example.

No man can curse what God has blessed. Satan cannot do nothing to us without God’s permission. He puts limitations on him. And even though Satan is accountable to God and God knew his intentions were to attack Job, would you trust that God is and will always be in control?

Think of a time when you lost everything you possessed; material, relational, financial, mental, and spiritual and you felt you were under attack. But you started looking at your circumstances and not the real intent behind Satan’s motives. You missed the most important point. Don’t blame God. He is not your enemy. Satan is.

See, Satan wasn’t after Job’s possessions. It was simple. He attacked his motives. He wanted to prove that Job worshipped God not out of love, but what he could and had given him. It’s easy to follow God when things are going well. But God wants to know if you trust him when things are not going good.

Job feared God. He shunned evil. He lost everything. He lamented over his loss to three friends who falsely accused. him. He knew nothing about the conference God had with Satan. Yet he never lost faith in God.

You may be in a dry season and all year long you waited for something to happen and nothing has gone the way you wanted. It feels like you’ve given it your all in return for nothing. You haven’t heard from God. He’s quiet and you’re still waiting on something. It’s just a test. Press your way through. Keep praying, meditating, reading the Word. God got you.

The devil delights in destroying the workings of the mind. An idle mind is his workshop. Rebuke that spirit! Think outside the box. What you think is who you are. Shape your life on good thoughts. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Learn from Job. All things are possible. You can do this!

Be blessed! – JD

1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, that He considered me faithful and appointed me to service (Berean Study Bible).

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Stop Believing the Lies of the Enemy. Tell the Devil, Get out of here with that mess! I’m too blessed to be stressed!

Too Blessed JoaynnHave you ever noticed when you take your eyes off your situation and look to God, how things begin to work out in your favor unexpectedly, and you are at peace?

There will be times when nothing is working as you expect. You change your mind in an instant. You become discouraged, frustrated to the point of desperation. You want to quit and give up, forgetting God is faithful and will do just as he promised.

You find yourself trying to work things out on your own, instead of trusting God’s Word, in his timing it will work for the greater good.

You start having doubts. You don’t feel like doing a thing, let alone put any effort into what you know God has already prepared you to do. You start looking to the right and to the left, focused on what is in front of you and not what’s above. God says it’s not over until he says it’s over.

See, the enemy plays tricks on your mind and wants you to change what you know about God and make you believe nothing He says is ever true or will work out as his Word promise. Don’t believe that mess. The devil is the father of lies! He a liar and the truth ain’t in him!

Be encouraged today. God will make a way out of no way. Your gift will make room for you. Don’t concern yourself with matters that do not concern you. If you are passionate about something, no matter how many obstacles you face or opposition that gets in your way, as long as you still have a passion for what you are passionate about, keep doing what you love to do. Persevere. Don’t give up. Whatever you are believing God for will manifest in the supernatural. Keep your eyes on God. Let him do his job!

When the devil starts talking trash in your ear tell him, “Get outta here with that mess. I ain’t hearing it. I’m too blessed to be stressed!”

Be Blessed! –JD

1 Thessalonians 3:7 for this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and suffering we have been comforted and greatly encouraged about you because of your faith [your unwavering trust in God—placing yourselves completely in His loving hands];” (AMP).

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Happy Thanksgiving! Give Thanks to the Lord. For He is Good. His Love Endures Forever!

God we give you thanks on this day and every day for everything you have done. God we remember. When there was not enough, you were more than enough. Your grace saved us. God we remember.

When our pockets were empty, there was more month than money. You met every need. There was no lack. Your grace was sufficient. God we remember.

When our burdens were heavy, you carried them for us. You delivered us. God we remember. We will never forget the wonderful marvelous things you’ve done for us. On this day, we say, Thank you for your faithfulness.

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always (1 Chr 16:8-11).

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Be blesssed!

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord. For he is good; his love endures forever. (NIV)

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October Breast Cancer Awareness MonthPlease forgive me for such a late post but I made it with two days to spare before October Breast Cancer Awareness Month ends. Many across the nation launched campaigns and walks where everyone was invited to participate and show support during the month of October to increase awareness. The National Race for the Cure and Susan G. Komen 3 Day “For the Cure” are to name a few. There a number of resources, referral agencies, and support groups available to provide emotional support in the journey.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). While breast cancer in males is rare, let’s not forget to honor and show support for them as well, who either have been diagnosed, are going through treatment, or have survived breast cancer.

There are also male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in men who join together globally to establish the third week of October as “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week” (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Please show your support.

“If you learn that you have breast cancer, you may find it helpful to talk with someone who has already been through breast cancer. The American Cancer Society has a Reach To Recovery® Program,” which is “available in most communities, and is one of many programs that may help you. This program can put you in touch with a woman who has been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. To talk with or receive a visit from a Reach To Recovery volunteer, call your local American Cancer Society office or 1-800-227-2345” (You are not alone: Getting emotional support).”

With early detection, treatment advances, screening, and increased awareness the incidence of death rates have decreased since 1989 (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). Any woman at or over the age of 40, I strongly urge you to make an appointment to have a mammogram. Develop a plan. Get tested early with mammogram screenings. Early detection can help with early prevention. Regular checkups will also aid in early prevention. It can save a life.

Each of us either know someone who suffers from, lost the battle with, or is a survivor of breast cancer. Celebrate loved ones, relatives, and friends who have lost the fight as well as those who have survived. As well as those who are going through treatment. Show your support in honor of those who lost their lives in the fight and are no longer with us. Honor those who survived the fight and are living testimonies who have overcome and are still with us. Please know that you are not alone. We are here for you. You are more than conquerors. You won. You are a breast cancer survivor.

Donate your time. Volunteer. Simply wear pink or a pink ribbon during the month of October. Together we can make a difference.

As for me, I wear pink for someone special to inspire hope and love. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join in the fight, be a source of support, empower, and inspire.

Be blessed! -JD

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October is National Domestic Violence Month. Join in, show your support, help end Domestic Violence.

October Domestic Violence Month-Forgive me for being so late in posting this. Late is better than never. Thankful October has not yet ended.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m in! Join me and show your support and help raise awareness to end domestic violence. Take a stand. Be a voice. Send a strong message. Wear PURPLE. Abuse is NEVER OK! It will not be tolerated in our communities. *National Domestic Violence Awareness Month*

Because of my own personal struggle with domestic abuse, I am passionate about this cause and believe it is important we come together collectively as a nation to bring a greater awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence that need to be addressed to help end it and bring hope to those who have fallen prey to it. Be a voice for the voiceless. Silence the voices of those who either oppose or deny the seriousness of domestic abuse and violence. Take a stand. Make all things purple. Use a pen, drink from a purple cup. Or simply wear something purple.

If you suspect someone is being abused or you are the victim of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) and don’t be afraid to speak up even if it may be uneasy for you. Seek help. It’s available. Someone is there to help. Someone will help get you or someone you know to safety.

Let’s join forces in honor and support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and let the world know Domestic Violence will not be tolerated in our community, our schools, our homes, or workplaces.  We are in this fight together. Be encouraged! Thanks for your support!

Be blessed! – JD

#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #showyoursupport

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I Am #MeToo. Are You?

I Am Me Too- JoaynnLet’s talk about this #MeToo hashtag viral sensation. First and foremost I would be remiss not to acknowledge the true person behind the ‘me too’ movement, Tarana Burke who planted the seeds for the movement in 1996 when working as a youth camp director. She is the Founder and Director of Just Be Inc. (http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml). As noted on the Just Be Inc. site, her organization “is a youth organization focused on the health, well being and wholeness of young women of color.” As then program director for Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity, the goal of Burke’s program was to empower young women of color.

After bonding with and hearing the story of a young girl who asked to speak with Burke privately after an all-girl bonding session event hosted by Just Be Inc. that left her horrified, Burke wrote on http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml, “I will never forget the look because I think about her all of the time. The shock of being rejected, the pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again – it was all on her face. And as much as I love children, as much as I cared about that child, I could not find the courage that she had found. I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain.”

“I couldn’t help her release her shame, or impress upon her that nothing that happened to her was her fault. I could not find the strength to say out loud the words that were ringing in my head over and over again as she tried to tell me what she had endured… I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.” Ms. Burke said she never forgot the look on the girl’s face after hearing her story. A heartbreaking, sad unforgettable moment…This for me was more than enough reason to start a movement. To read the full story go to the Just Be Inc. link mentioned above.

Essentially, this is what started the ‘me too’ movement – “to help young women of color who had survived sexual abuse, assault and exploitation.” It has now become an online hashtag viral sensation and every women who has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted have joined in making a statement to let the world know, #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor. Ms. Burke I applaud your drive and tenacity to make a difference in the lives of young women of color. Kudos!

When I first stumbled upon the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter a few days ago, I was curious why I was seeing just these two words from so many people (men and women alike) without an origin or explanation behind its meaning. It was not until I clicked on the hashtag on Twitter and discovered Alyssa Milano’s tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet – ‘Me too. Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.’”

As of October 19, 2017 ABC News reported Alyssa Milano’s ‘Me Too’ tweet has now garnered “1.4 million and counting tweets included the hashtag, along with more than 13 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook” (http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/alyssa-milano-metoo-campaign-vocal-stops/story?id=50582023).

Being the person I am, before becoming a part of this sensation, I did some research and realized after taking a deep look inside myself and thinking of the countless times I too was a victim, I found #MeToo is who I am too.  It hit too close to home. It was personal. And now I desire change that goes far beyond what we see with the hashtag itself. My desire, ‘Me Too’ becomes more than a viral sensation but an entry point to healing at a deeper level than what we’ve seen in society with other movements that gain maximum exposure after going viral but we never see or hear anything about once the hoopla goes away.

Let’s have a discussion, critical dialogue and a real conversation about its effects, what we can do to end it, continue to increase awareness, and what programs we can develop on a larger scale to include collaborative efforts with Ms. Burke’s organization and others like hers to empower not only women of color but those who have been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault and are afraid to come forth out of fear of retaliation.

Let’s build a community of safety in the creation of safe houses for survivors and non-survivors to go to for ongoing support. Let’s establish a platform with someone like Iyanla Vanzant and Ava DuVernay to reach the masses on a continuous basis and not drop the ball after getting the attention and exposure we desire only to “make a statement.” Let’s design programs to empower, inspire, and influence survivors and those that haven’t to encourage and motivate them to reach their fullest potential.

Let’s reach out to and join forces with Tarana Burke and her Just Be Inc. organization as well as similar organizations to create change. Let’s join forces with Alyssa Milano, and others, who wants to fix the problem and asks others to reach out to her for suggestions to help grow the #MeToo movement. Let’s flood their inboxes and social media outlets to make a difference. Let’s be a strong voice and not stop until we are heard. Let’s get involved and show the world how we will be the change we want to see. Let’s do this!

As for me, I am #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor!

Be blessed!

Signed,

#MeToo

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The Next Time You Decide To Complain To God, Be a Faithful Complainer and Not A Grumbler!

Faithful Complainer JoaynnWhat do you do when God has given you everything you asked for and after you received it now you wish you had never asked for it? He took your little and made it much and now you are complaining it is too much to handle.

You prayed and asked God to enlarge your territory that you may have a greater INFLUENCE in the world, INCREASE your area of influence to reach the masses to share your message, and INCLINE your heart toward his statues and not toward selfish gain (Psalm 119:36), according to his will, that you are content with what you have. Look at God! He answered your prayers.

God gave you a platform to share your message with the world. He gave you gifts to inspire, influence, and serve others. You are sought after by many across the nation to share your gift of speaking at various events. Then something happens. In the process you find your time is stretched beyond what you can imagine. You become overwhelmed and start grumbling and complaining.

You say to yourself, “I have all these things to do I asked for and not enough time to do it in. I have a meeting at 9, two clients at 10, notes to put together for my next speaking engagement. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done.” But…you have everything you prayed for. God gave you the desires of your heart and now you feel it’s too much.

So what do you do in the midst of grumbling about that new job you were blessed with, discontent in spite of favor bestowed upon you to grow your ministry, complaining about serving and the amount of travel you have to do to spread the gospel and you hear from God and he ask you one question, “So what do you want me to take away?” How will you answer God? Will you doubt his power, declare he’s not able, faithful, or good by telling him what you want him to take away? Or will you rejoice in all that he has given you and trust he has counted you worthy of his calling or believe he knows exactly what he’s doing?

Remember Adam? He was the first complainer. And had the nerve to blame God when asked about his sin. God commanded him, …”you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16). When God asked him if he had eaten from the tree of the knowledge, he never said “yes.” Instead he complained and blamed God and Eve for what he did. He told God, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (3:12). He blamed God and Eve for his failure.

Moses had complaints when he met God at the burning bush (Exodus 3-4). And what about Job? He didn’t do anything wrong. If anybody had a right to complain, he did. Job lost everything, was anguished, and had no problem telling God how he felt. He didn’t mince words. He was honest and wasn’t afraid to take his complaints to Him. Job suffered because of his righteousness. He complained to God but he never sinned against him or charged him with wrong. Follow Job’s example. Be a faithful and not a faithless complainer.

Stop questioning the goodness of God. Stop grumbling and complaining when he grants you the very things he knows you are capable of handling. Be a faithful complainer and not a grumbler. Rejoice. Thank God for all that you have. And the next time you decide to complain to God, do it in a way that honors him.

Be blessed! –JD

Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine pas lights in the world,” (ESV)

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When You’re In a Season of Waiting, Don’t Question God. Do You Trust Him, Even When It Feels Like Your Prayers Are Not Being Answered?

Greatness JoaynnHave you ever noticed how when God takes you to the next level, in the beginning and sometimes even during the test all is going well. But as soon as the season is over and you’re on your way to the next level, you meet with adversity that is even greater.

The enemy comes in like a flood, trying to confuse you and make you lose your witness. He’s a liar and the truth ain’t in him! It’s a test. God wants to know if you trust him. He wants to know if he gives you little can he trust you with much. If you are faithful over little matters, he will give you more matters to manage. God is faithful. He will do exactly as he promised.

Every prayer may not have been answered. You may not have all you want. Thank God for what you have. He’s all you need. He’s more than enough. Your faith will be tested. God already knows what he’s going to do. He predestined it. He wants to see what you are going to do. Don’t miss it. Have the gift of discernment in everything no matter how great your breakthrough because you never know who’s watching you.

In order to get to the next level you must pass the test or you can’t go to the next level if you don’t pass it. Study to show yourself approved by God (2 Tim 2:15). Be the light at all times. Don’t fall prey to the tricks of the enemy. Don’t look to the right or to the left. Look to God. He got this!

Be blessed! – JD

Ephesians 1:11 “In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will,” (AMP)

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I’m On My Way Up. My New Website is Up and Running! Here’s To New Beginnings. Thank God for My Village!

Me 9-2017It takes a village to raise a child. I also say, “It takes a village to help you reach your destiny.” With the help of an amazing web graphic designer Adrian Bostic of @Bosgraphdesign who also designed my cover for my book, my website www.JoyThomasDarden.org is finally up and running along with my Facebook page www.facebook.com/JoyTDarden!

Adrian did an excellent job on both designs and I am forever grateful. Praise God!

Boy, I tell you, when you know God has placed something inside you and you follow his order, taking one step at time, persevering and never giving up no matter what obstacles you may face, you will see the manifestation of his power and his glory.

Once the web designer finished building my website on the back end, I had to take full rein. After going in make additions on the back end, of which I clearly am not qualified to do or have ever done since my other blog is totally front end work, I was totally overwhelmed, exhausted, and extremely frustrated.

When I managed to complete the daunting tasks necessary to present the site as it is now, all I could do over and over was quietly send up a few “breath” thank you to Adrian for a job well done! But God! It took me every bit of three days to finish. I researched and researched and found every answer I needed to make it a success. 

My website and Facebook page are still in the beginning stages and there is still much more to go. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will be my website. But I will take my time and move as God lead me.

When I began this season, I remember I asked God to stretch me. Be careful what you ask God for because you just might get it. Well, he did, and it wasn’t pretty. I thank God for the village of family, friend, and my dear sister friend Johanna for encouraging me and inspiring me to not give up when it seemed too hard.

Thank you Johanna for a profound statement you made the other day that stuck with me and helped me realize how God was stretching me, pulling me towards my destiny one way and I kept pulling myself the other way because I wanted to stay where I am, comfortable and complacent.

I’m getting out my own way and will allow him to elevate me. Sisterhood and family are two of the most precious gifts a woman can ever want, have, or ask for. I thank God for my village! And while I am not sure where he is taking me with this ministry, what I am assured of, he will equip me with all that I need to fulfill his purpose that I may glorify him.

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (ESV)

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So You Say You Know About God, but Do You Really Know Him?

Especially For You JoaynnTo say you know God, know his Word, know what he desires from you to please him, and not do what he desires is to not know him but only know about him when you choose not to walk in obedience and enter into a relationship with him.

It’s easy to profess “I know God” “I love God”, “I know the Word of God” “God is good” when things go the way YOU expect. But do you really know him or only know about him because of what you profess? Genuine love reflects God’s love. Your life will reflect the love of God in your heart when you choose to keep his commandments and live by His Word.

For every occasion in life, many of us have an agenda we wish to accomplish. There’s something we want to do and we will make plans to do it. But we must always be reminded God’s agenda is not our agenda. Yes, sometimes things will work out as we plan and some things will not. In reality, it’s not supposed to. If it did when would we need God? I’m inclined to think never.

When faced with situations that are beyond our control yet are resolved because of decisions we made without God, don’t think it was because of you it worked out. It was all God. His grace was sufficient, in spite of. Don’t let your circumstances call for desperate measures in desperate times, or cloud your judgment and cause you to make decisions outside of God’s will, without God. Let him do what he knows best.

If you were to sit down and think about why that thing didn’t work out as you hoped, do you suppose it was because God allowed it to show you who is in control? Do you ever think maybe it was to get your attention to something he needs you to know about him to show his power?

Remember this, God is in control; not us. It is grace that works in and through us, not in spite of our weaknesses, but in and through it. God is working things out in our favor. It is a testament of our faith. Wait on God and let him do his work.

Wake every day with great expectancy from God. Allow His will, and not your will, be done. Get out of your own way and make room for God to do what he knows best. Don’t get it twisted. When things go right and you say, “That was God.” Yes it was but it was not by your agenda. It was his!

Be blessed! – JD

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (KJV)

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You Are an Unlikely One, Chosen by God. Stop Trying to Walk in Someone Else’s Anointing and Walk in Your Own!

Not Their Anointing JoaynnGod uses the most unlikely people and circumstances to accomplish His purpose. You can be used by God. Follow your calling. He will get the glory. Trust in Him.

If you were to reflect on your life and think about how God used a broken vessel like you to accomplish his purpose no matter what you were going through, would you believe you are called and anointed by God? Would you believe your calling is your calling, your anointing is your anointing, you are an unlikely one to be used by God?

Get this, your gifting is your gifting. You have been chosen by God, to do a work in a special area that is not meant for anyone else. What God made specifically for someone else will not fit you. Stop running after gifts that are not yours. Walk in your own anointing. No one can lead in the specific area God has called you to lead. No one can do what God has called you to do. Stop trying to fit in with the rest of the world only to be like them.

Remember David? He was chosen by God to fight Goliath with the gifting God gave him. Saul tried to give him his armor, dressed him in his own tunic, put on a coat of armor on him, and a bronze helmet on his head (1 Samuel 17:38-39), but it didn’t fit. Why? Because it was tailored to fit him and not David.

After David fastened his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, he said, “I cannot go in these because I’m not used to them (17:39).” So David took it off. He took the very things he was familiar with to fight the way he knew how; a staff, five smooth stones, and his sling in his hand (17:40). With his sling and one stone he killed Goliath.

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. David used the things God equipped him with for the battle. David was not Saul. Therefore, he could not use the armor Saul gave him to fight the battle. It was not the right fit. He was not called to be a soldier. He was God’s chosen shepherd. He was anointed as the new king over Israel.

In order to fight like who he was called to be, he had to wear the clothing God gave him to complete what he was called to do. He was also an unlikely one. He was a murderer, betrayer, liar, and an adulterer. Ahh…he was not perfect. He was an unlikely 15-year old shepherd boy, chosen and anointed by God. He was a man after God’s own heart.

God doesn’t want your skills, or need to know how many degrees you have, or is looking for what you have done. He’s looking for an ordinary person to make a difference for His Kingdom. He chooses, not the best ones but broken ones to do his will. Don’t compare yourself to others. He anointed you for a special purpose. Be the person whom God has called you to be. Be used by God, just as David the unlikely one.

Be blessed! – JD

1 Samuel 16:11-13 “So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.” (NIV)

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