Tag Archives: relationship with god

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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I Thought Of You and Said A Prayer For You Today. I Asked God to Give You Rest. Let Not Your Heart Not Be Troubled. It’s In His Hands. He Will Handle It.

I Thought OF You JoaynnMy heart has been heavy and I still am in shock since hearing of the senseless killings in Charleston, South Carolina that occurred last week. Hearing of all the precious lives that were lost made me weak. It literally brought me to my knees. I fervently prayed. God hears prayers of the righteous. I ask that you do the same.

In the face of adversity and uncertainty, stay strong. My prayers are with the families and victims of this senseless tragedy. All lives matter.

I thought of you and said a prayer for you today. Father I come to you in the name of Jesus not asking for anything and thanking you in advance for everything. Go through every house. Place the enemy under our feet. Cancel every assignment. Command him to flee. Whatever the enemy sends return it back to the sender, unsigned, sealed and undelivered.

The nation is in an uproar. Too many senseless killings. There is too much going on in this dark, cold world. Let there be peace, unity. The Lord is our shepherd. Heal families who have lost loved ones and are hurting everywhere. We need you Lord now more than ever.

God please help us. We are living in the last days. If you don’t know Jesus I pray you seek and find him today. He’s coming back soon. Stay prayed up. Come into a right relationship with God. Be ready when Jesus returns.

Father you know what it is we need. Dispatch your angels. God send healing, deliverance, strength in your provision. Let us not lose trust in Your Divine Providence. Place a shield of protection around us. Let no hurt, harm or danger come. We are covered by the blood of Jesus.

I come against every lying tongue that rise against us shall not prosper. We are more than conquerors. Send fresh anointing as we make our way. Lord Jesus have your way in this place today. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

Father God I thank you, glorify you, and magnify your name. Bless your name Lord. Bless your name. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. #PrayForCharleston #CharlestonStrong

Be blessed! –JD

Psalm 23: 1-6 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (ESV)

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The Minute You Become a Christian, Act Like One. Don’t Be So Religious Only to Fail at Being Religious Because You Lack Being Spiritual

wpid-img_20150311_085818.jpgI’m just a messenger. When God speaks, I listen. I would rather do what God says and have him be pleased at me than to do what others say and have them be mad at me.

God does not decide on or pick a particular person to hear a word from him. His word is for anybody who will listen. God has a strange way of revealing something he needs you to know. Because after all, we can never understand why God does what he do or how he does it. His word shall go forth.

God uses unsuspecting vessels to send a message. Listen for that small voice when He says something. When we have to think or ask, “Was that about me?” The answer should be “No. But if it touched you in any way maybe it was for you.”

Every day we can expect a visitation from God. When he comes we have to have our house in order. When your house is not in order with God, neither are you. No matter how right you are in all that you do, your wrong becomes your right because you are choosing to just be you. Just because you may have weathered the storm doesn’t mean you did based on your own merit. But God may have sent the storm to bring something to your attention that he may get the glory out of it.

Yes, God blesses us at all times. Yet when we choose to not grow when the storm is over, we miss the more that God has for us. His word says he wants to bless us and bless us more abundantly but he wants us to be obedient. It’s not that he can’t do it but it’s because we won’t let him. Don’t be so religious only to fail at being religious because you lack being spiritual. Change your mindset.

It’s one thing to say you’re a Christian and another when your heart is not right with God. God gave us breath. We can’t make ourselves breathe. Just because you are a religious person, being religious doesn’t make you a Christian. Being religious is when we choose to live a life that honors our relationship with God. We rely on His wisdom. We allow his will, and not ours, be done. We are intimately connected to God and our spirit longs for a deeper relationship with Him. We choose to live to please God and not ourselves.

No matter how well we look on the outside, we have many reasons to deny what’s on the inside of our hearts. Actions speak louder than words. Be careful not to let your actions become idols as a result of your rituals. When you say “I’m a Christian” but don’t act like one, you are merely saying to God, I will act like a Christian sometimes but I won’t be a Christian all the time. I will choose when to act like one.”

Yes we can go to church regularly, we can say our prayers night, day, and all through the day, and we can even worship and praise God with our mouths thanking him for everything. All that is good but…when you choose not to commit to an intimate relationship with God and devote your life to his way of life, you make the mistake of living in vain because you are slowing dying a spiritual death when you choose to live without his intervention.

You are a sinner. You are dead to sin. Through faith in Christ, you can be saved and made whole again. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). You are spiritually renewed. Admit you need God’s intervention. When you are saved you are born again. The minute you become a Christian, act like one.

Isaiah 29:13 tells us, The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” We can know a lot about God but not know God personally. “When we claim to honor God while our hearts are far from him, our worship means nothing. It is not enough to study about religion or even to study the Bible. It is not enough to act religious. Our actions and our attitudes must be sincere. If they are not, Isaiah’s words also describe us (Matthew 15:8, 9).

There’s a saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” When I was a kid I used to believe this when people and even those I considered family would pick on me or call me names that would hurt my feelings. As I grew older I found some truth in this but believed in my heart that words can hurt more than sticks and stones and should never be the reason why we consciously inflict pain onto others by saying things that are mean, hurtful or not true.

Our decisions, actions, and way of thinking should reflect God’s character so that when people see us they may see Christ in us. And not see in us who we choose to be when people see us. Refusal to see the error in your ways does not excuse the behavior. In fact it only exacerbates it. How many times do you need to know that God is the great I AM THAT I AM? He, not you, will get the glory out of it.

Take a personal inventory of your life and check to see if something is missing on the inside. Is there a void? Is there a hole in your heart that you cannot fill? Do you believe something inside your heart is missing? As sincere as your religion may be, it is not enough to meet the needs of your heart or fill what is missing. Admit to yourself, I need God’s intervention. Go to God. Seek him. Say to him, I cannot do this thing called life by myself. Lord I need your help. God can fill the void. Change the error of your ways. Live a life pleasing to God. Live out the Fruit of the Spirit. God will be pleased.

When you feel the need for God’s intervention in your life, it is then and only then you come to understand your need of God. The moment you are born again, your sins are forgiven and you have a relationship with God. You are spiritually renewed. Old things pass away. A spiritual transformation takes place. You are a new creature in Christ. You are no longer who you used to be. Be the person God created you to be. I pray this blesses someone.

Be blessed! –JD

Matthew 15:8, 9, 11 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” 11 “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’ ”.

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I’m in the Best Relationship Ever! I’m Never Getting a Divorce. I am in Love With Jesus!

wpid-img_20150212_151310.jpgI’m in an exclusive relationship with the Lord. It is the best relationship I’ve ever had. I am so in love with God. I wouldn’t change it for the world! I’m never getting a divorce. I am in it for eternity.

I get to talk to God every day. I can call him on the mainline at any time and his line is never busy. He’s always listening. He doesn’t send me to voicemail when I call or fail to return my calls. He answers my prayers each time I call.

I can tell him anything and don’t ever have to worry about him gossiping about, judging, or hating me. I’m his treasured possession (Dt 7:6). He cares for me. What a friend I have in Jesus. He’s my best friend. I am very privileged.

God never, ever breaks my heart. When I hurt, he heals my heart. He never makes me cry. When I cry, he wipes every tear away. He fills me with confidence and reassures me, I am worthy. He lets me know, “You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:37). Yes, Jesus loves me!

He knows I’m not perfect. I’m flawed. Yet he still loves me, flaws and all. He never talks bad to or criticizes me. He tells me I’m fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). He loves me. I can fail God every day. In spite of me, he grants brand new mercies even when I don’t deserve it.

I am so in love with the Lord. This is the best relationship I’ve ever had. I won’t let go. I’m never getting a divorce. No matter what, I will remain loyal. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God for the world. I am in it for life. I will say yes to him for the rest of my life.

Be blessed –JD

1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (ESV)

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I May Have Been Through The Storm, But I Made It. I Got A Feeling Next Year is Going To Be AMAZING!

wpid-img_20141229_085324.jpgThis year has been by far one of the most challenging, difficult, uncomfortable yet defining moments of my life that I’ve had in a long time. Nonetheless, I’m grateful.

So many things have happened that left me confused and conflicted. But something changed in the midst of going through it. My walk and my relationship with God deepened. I came to know him more intimately. My faith grew. I had a dream and vision. I stepped out on faith believing God for blessings and miracles! (BAM) I believe something amazing is about to happen.

When I kept going to God in prayer for answers, even though I didn’t understand any of it, he revealed to me his promises. He told me exactly what I needed to know to help me move forward. When he showed me his perspective, it propelled me that much more to walk in my purpose.

No matter how much I tried and wanted to stop doing what I know God called me to do, he refused to give up on me. At times when I wanted to turn back the hands of time to go back to what I thought was comfortable and easy, He wouldn’t let me. I may have gone through some things and many times wanted to give up. But every time I would go through something, I was reminded why I’m a Christian.

When I gave my life to God, in every circumstance I encountered in my life, I realized I couldn’t go back to who I once was. My heart just wouldn’t let me be who I once was. When faced with insurmountable obstacles, it didn’t matter how much I tried to dredge up the old me, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to be the old me. I guess that means I’m growing.

God is always working me. And will use me no matter where he sends me. Regardless of the circumstance, when I sit and take a moment to reflect not on my situation but on how good God has been to me, I begin to think about what I must do to bring him glory.

Know this, while situations may be heartbreaking, discouraging, and sometimes can bring you to the point of death, every day you rise and see the sun shine is God saying, “Don’t fret. I’m not through with you yet. You’ve been through worse. Have I ever failed you? This too shall pass. I’m always with you.”

For everything that has a beginning and an end, there is a purpose. We must be cognizant of God’s presence in any situation to understand, He will fulfill his purpose. When trials come, know that they are to be expected. God has a master plan. Be willing and able. Expect the unexpected.

In the most difficult situation, don’t look to the right or to the left. Look to God. He is a present help. Yes, it will take some time to heal when you suffer and go through, but don’t stay stuck in your misery only to keep suffering. Give everything to God. Let him handle it. Nothing’s too hard for God.

What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, wiser, better. Don’t live with regrets only to miss your blessing. Yes, we’re human and sometimes the flesh will rise up causing us to feel defeated and lost. We can either learn from the experience or choose to stay stuck. Time heal all wounds. Take time to heal. But don’t live bound forever in your refusal to truly heal.

Ask God to give you strength to get through whatever may be troubling you. Go to God. He will fix it for you. People may hurt you but when you know what you know about God, there’s nothing man can do to you to stop him from fulfilling his purpose. God is a heart fixer, mind regulator, a doctor in the sick room. He’s a healer, no matter what ails you. No matter the circumstance, stand! Stand on the Word of God. Put everything in his hands. Life is worth living when you live for God.

I love the Lord! No matter how many times I may fail him, I know I’m loved. I am a work in progress. There’s no turning back. Whatever I go through, I know God got my back.

The enemy may come in like a flood but God will lift up a standard against him. The devil thought he won. Ha! Look at me. I’m still standing! I may have been through the storm, but I made it. I got a feeling next year is going to be AMAZING!!

Be blessed! -JD

Ephesians 1:11-14 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (ESV)

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Have You Checked Your Spiritual Condition Lately?

wpid-img_20141011_195514.jpgDid you know you can have a relationship with God that will last forever? God loves you. Isn’t that great news! His mercy endures forever.

How are you connected to God on a daily basis? What are you doing to maintain your spiritual condition?

Are you where you want to be in your relationship with God? When’s the last time you checked your spiritual condition?

Having a personal relationship with God is not as difficult to find as you think. It really is simple. There’s no mystery to finding it. Here’s a small bit of advice to guide and help you maintain your spiritual condition. Take these simple words with you that will make a difference.

Include God in your daily life, pray throughout the day. Pray without ceasing, read the Word, attend Bible study, and meditate. Get to know him better every day. These things will help you grow spiritually.

Relationships formed on earth are temporary and do not last forever. When you place your trust in Jesus Christ, accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, and ask forgiveness of your sins. You establish a personal relationship with God and have an eternal home in heaven.

Believe it or not, we all suffer with a heart condition. And at times, it can go unattended. We all have a heart condition that needs to be checked constantly. Have you checked your spiritual condition lately?

Don’t allow the death of a human relationship cause you to commit spiritual suicide. Pray. Your relationship with God exist and will survive.

Be blessed! –JD

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV)

 

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Wheat or Chaff? God Knows Best

Matthew 13I was on my way home leaving my sister’s house yesterday when the bus stopped in the middle of the street for some odd reason and was sitting in the street. Before taking off, I heard this voice that sounded familiar and looked up to see my sister’s friend who is also my friend that we call our sister at my sister’s house urging me to turn back around and come back to the house. Of which I did. Not realizing this particular event would be a time where God would send revelation, affirmation, and out of an unusual circumstance will come confirmation.

My twin sister’s husband passed earlier in the week and I had been visiting with her the past few days. Our sister friend had been over to the house the day before and promised to return the next day with a prepared meal for my sister but I had not seen her while I was there and thought she had changed her mind in coming.

I gathered my things and went back to my sister’s house. We sat and talked about odd things when somehow she began to talk about a vision God gave her regarding a business she foresaw and is currently moving forward with. After hearing her wonderful account of God’s promise for her future, we had a long talk about my current business endeavor.

I expressed to her and her husband my fears and the things that are keeping me bound that I feel is contributing to my inability to be confident God is with me in this journey. She began to pour into my spirit affirmation and confirmation of God’s promises in my life. She gave me so much courage, insight, and inspiration in her provision of the tools I would need to get started and even offered to help me along the journey with no expectations or rewards and expressed she is doing it simply because of her love for God and her desire to glorify God.

Then something struck me. God placed her in my path unsuspectingly because there was something he needed to reveal to me. Something he needed me to know. And by his grace I was in the right place at the right time. For which I am thankful.

You see, after careful reflection, I realized after years of trials, struggles, and tribulations, God had to sit me down alone to get my attention before preparing me for the journey ahead. As well as separate the wheat from chaff in order to do his work. He began separating me from things and people that he felt were no longer required in this season of my life in order that I may effectively serve him and live an abundant life.

I also had to learn in this season that I could no longer live life in the flesh even when warring against the spirit. Something had to die in order that something may live. And it was me. I had to die to my flesh in order that Jesus may live in me. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). And during this time I found that my relationship with God has changed and I am growing spiritually and closer to Jesus.

Yes, I may have gone through trials and mental anguish and I may have suffered through some things but it was during this time God was taking me through a process. My faith was being tested and through the test I had to make a decision to which direction I would go, either separate myself from the things that would separate me from God or God would separate things from me he knew would separate me from Him in order that I may produce the fruit of righteousness in my life and grow spiritually. Assured nothing and no one will ever separate me from God because I live by the Spirit and the Spirit lives in me. I chose to live God’s way and live life more abundantly.

I also believed God needed me to learn to be patient as I waited on him, not get weary in well-doing and do not give up, for in due season I shall reap a harvest of blessings should I faint not. I began to sit in awe and admiration of God thanking him for all I’ve been through, no matter how long I have been going through. As I began to reflect on the many years I have struggled and fought to maintain, I began to think about how awesome God is. He reigns! I concluded there was a reason God needed me to be in the seasons I found myself in at the times I found myself in because it was necessary. It was all for his glory.

We all will go through a season in life that will bring insurmountable challenges we may never understand. Yet hold on to God’s unchanging hands. Trials strengthen you. Tests refine you. Patience is a virtue. When your faith is tested God’s refining you. He’s perfecting the spiritual gifts in you. Trials and tests are meant to challenge your faith. Be encouraged! Challenges are meant to help you grow while you wait. Don’t give up. Wait on the Lord. Have faith. Wait I say, on the Lord.”

Next month will be the beginning of a new season in my life and I am looking forward to what God has in store for me. I love the Lord so much and in all I do I will give him glory! I’m claiming it. I’m naming it! I’m speaking it into existence. God said it. I believe it. That settles it! Thanks for listening.

Be blessed! -JD

Matthew 13:24-3024 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (NIV)

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Don’t Let Your Reality Become the Death of the Gospel – Preachers of LA

Ephesians 2Today’s writing sat in rough draft for more than one week and comes from a heavy laden heart and deep concern with how I feel we have become too casual in our obedience to God and our commitment to his Word. As I go off subject again, please know it is not my intention to offend anyone in light of my opinion but my hope is to share words of wisdom, heed of caution, and a little bit of knowledge. Additionally, please excuse the long post but some things cannot be left unsaid.

I have been looming over this subject the past few weeks as I sat and watched a reality show for the past two weeks, wondering what really is going on, not in the world but with the people of this world. I find the manner we condone behavior that is inconsistent with the Word of God have caused us to become too casual in how we maintain our relationship with God. While making the decision to use this as a means to ignore God’s standards and form predisposed ideas when it comes to unrighteous living. In short, we are committing a grave sin against God. And this by far, in my opinion, is a contradiction to the gospel and in no uncertain terms, is killing it. Simply put, it is becoming the death of the gospel.

For all purpose intended, what I am about to mention is only an observation of what I witnessed on the show and ask that you please don’t take this the wrong way as I am not judging others or the relationship of others because many of us may have experienced this same type of event or events in our lives. So please bear with me.

To my dismay, after watching Preachers of LA, headlined with six mega preachers, some well-known, that include Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Ron Gibson, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney, and Deitrick Haddon, I became a bit disturbed and disappointed by the show and its inability to accurately disseminate the gospel and the lackadaisical portrayal of religious leaders as evidenced by extravagant displays of sparkling jewelry, fancy homes, and expensive cars observed in the very first show.

The show introduced the relationship between Minister Deitrick Haddon and a young lady that produced a child born out of wedlock resulting in the ending of a marriage based not solely on, but inclusive of infidelity. There was backlash from the public and during the introduction the cast member noted he has sought forgiveness and is now working towards redemption and a change of life. He announced the couple is now engaged and working towards marriage of which I commend. However, some parts of the show failed my expectations upon witnessing the lack of respect shown for the former spouse when making inappropriate references to her as if she did not exist as well as issues surrounding the marriage that conflicted with who this person supposedly professed to be Christ.

In the beginning when I opted to watch this show, my desire was to think objectively because I feel with life, there is a lesson and a teachable moment in everything we do and I wanted to be as open to the idea that this show could help someone who may be struggling in the same area where deliverance would be a potential in the saving or changing of a life. There are a lot of negative reviews the show is getting because some feel it clearly teaches against the principles of the gospel and conflicts with what we as believers are clear on regarding the will and the Word of God. I still was hopeful though because I believe everyone should have a chance to tell their story. But how and where we choose to present the information and the platform we use will make the difference in its impact.

It was upon viewing the second show I became confused with the purpose of the show for several reasons but narrowed it down when Deitrick Haddon was in conversation with Bishop Ron Gibson about shacking up with his daughter’s mother and his illicit response after being advised by the Bishop what the Word does not teach when it comes to “shacking.” Mr. Haddon adamantly stated, not verbatim, how frustrated and tired he was of hearing preachers telling him what the Bible says in relation to this and added he did not see where “shacking up” was nowhere in the Bible. I was taken aback. Hmmm….okay. But that doesn’t make it right, Right?

While I believe everyone is entitled to his or her beliefs and I am not one to judge, I believe God is not pleased with us when we use the Bible as a means to justify sin. When you start using the Word to condone unrighteousness and clear intentions to excuse reasons why you have fallen from grace without taking responsibility for your actions but choose to justify it because you say, “ God knows my heart. I’m a man and I’ve make mistakes.” Yet still do things that are outside the will of God and have found the smallest way to change the way you live, then you are only minimizing why you are not doing all you can to be consistent in your obedience to and respect for God. Additionally, in your failure to honor God’s Word, you make the decision to live according to the world’s standards, not God’s. And choose to take your positions or the gospel for granted.

When we take our privileged positions for granted, we lose focus of the true source, God, that motivates our drive and ambition to do what is pleasing in his sight. We fail to question our own integrity and our inability to see sin for what it is and work to change it. In my opinion, this is wrong. It is not what God intended.

The gospel is for spiritual growth and daily living. It is the good news of and from God, taught by Jesus Christ and His disciples. It is God’s message to mankind. When we read the Bible, we will find different names that tell a story with each emphasizing an aspect of the message. But be clear, there is only one authentic gospel. We cannot focus only on one aspect and exclude other forms only to create an incomplete picture of how we are supposed to live. We must be willing to focus on every aspect of the Bible to gain the whole picture of God, his character, his nature, and what he desires.

We should never take the Word of God out of context and use it for our intentional purposes and fail to prioritize God or conform to the ways of this world because of our status or things we have acquired. When we do so, we run the risk of contributing to the death of the gospel and will cause it to become extinct when we fail to rightfully portray God’s character. Whereby, escaping the true essence of what God desires and the power of his Word that we are to live by only to feed into societal beliefs of those who believe it is okay to do so.

Subsequently, it is never in our best interest to neither take the gospel for granted nor question God’s authority because of our failure to acknowledge accountability. The gospel is not something we should negotiate to condone our behavior just because it specifically is not found in the Bible. As a believer, we all know the Word is clear on how we are to live; righteously, and how we are to behave and act; accordingly, and how we are to honor God; faithfully with reverence and tenacity. No ifs, ands, or buts. It is clear.

2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

To go a step further, the Life Application Study Bible notes,

“The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God. It is not a human book. Through the Holy Spirit, God revealed his person and plan to certain believers, who wrote down his message for his people (2 Peter 1:20, 21). This process is known as inspiration. The writers wrote from their own personal, historical, and cultural contexts. Although they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God wanted them to write. Scripture is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing. Its words are entirely authoritative for our faith and lives. The whole Bible is God’s inspired Word. Because it is inspired and trustworthy, we should read it and apply it to our lives. The Bible is our standard for testing everything else that claims to be true. It is our safeguard against false teaching and our source of guidance for how we should live. It is our only source of knowledge about how we can be saved. God wants to show you what is true and equip you to live for him (LASB 2 Tim 3:16, 17).”

Need I say more?

With all things taken into consideration, we are aware that reality shows are scripted and may be appropriate for those who enjoy this type of programming, however, when one chooses to create a show led by religious leaders, it must be consistent with the teachings of the gospel and its principles must reflect the Word of God to encourage and build up the kingdom and not validate unrighteousness representative of inappropriate words, actions, or lifestyles of man formed out of foolish pride.

I take the Word of God very seriously and while I am not perfect, I strive daily to walk in obedience, live righteously, and commit to following God’s commands that I may glorify the kingdom. While I cannot speak for the world, I can only speak for myself and believe when we are representatives of Christ, especially when in a leadership role, we are to be examples of Christ. We cannot do as we please when we become Christians. Every fiber of our being must be in alignment with the Word of God, his character, and his nature. How we act and speak reflects on God. Therefore, we should make every effort to live for Him. There is no middle ground, no excuses, and no alternative lifestyle choices to support reasons why it is acceptable to do what we clearly know is not the right thing to do.

As believers it is our obligation to work to reach the lost but we cannot change the gospel. We are to worship but cannot water down the significance of God’s righteousness. We are to not make a mockery of the gospel to justify sin much like the Israelites who committed the same sins when they chose to forget the anointing, presence, and holiness of God. But we are to lift up the kingdom and rightfully represent Christ.

Dear sisters and brothers, take heed. Avoid taking the gospel for granted. Take it seriously. Don’t focus so much on yourself or what you have. Only to forget about the ONE who gave to you what you have. Make God the first and only priority in your life. Don’t put significance on possessions before purpose in your life. Obey the gospel. It is critical. Lead by example and not by distinction. Live the way God intends. Look to God, not man. Let the gospel be your resource and not become your recourse for adaptive living. In the end, you will reap what you sow because God does not approve of unrighteous living.

Don’t let your reality become the death of the gospel and cause it to become extinct in order to fit in with the world’s standards. Don’t ignore God’s standards. Let the gospel be used as a daily resource in order to live by God’s standards. Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Revere God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind. Be conscious of God’s character and His presence daily. Let holiness exude from the inside out every day. Don’t let your reality become the death of the gospel. Work to live each day in alignment according to the gospel.

Be blessed! -JD

Ephesians 2:11-18 “But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways 12 had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. 13 Now because of Christ – dying that death, shedding that blood – you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything. 14 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. 15 He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. 16 Christ brought us together through his death on the Cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. 17 Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. 18 He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

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Don’t Allow Your Circumstances To Change You

The one thing I find that does not change in life is facing opposition or obstacles. Not a day goes by that something does not happen in our lives where we are driven to make a choice either with how we will respond to a situation or how we will behave because of a situation that someone else may have caused prompting an unsolicited response.

Some of us may wake with a feeling of joy, contentment, and accomplishment feeling blessed and thankful God allowed us to see another day. Only to feel lost, broken, confused, and downright sick and tired of being sick and tired when faced with an issue that will affect our well-being or our life because something drastically changed by the middle, end, or few hours of the day.

It took me years to arrive at the place I now find myself being content with how I choose to handle things but I think back on a time when the least annoyance or literal change in my life would cause me to explode, rant, rave, and be in an uproar because of my inability to change the course of action to fit my selfish needs. It didn’t matter who was affected by my decision nor did it matter how I would react. All that mattered is I needed to have my own way. And I would allow obstacles and my way of thinking get in my way preventing me from thinking rationally to make an appropriate decision that would minimize its affects, because of me.

Through time as I developed and matured in my relationship with God, I changed and the manner in how I would respond to situations changed drastically. I accredit this all to God. And while many believe when you grow in age, with age comes wisdom. I am convinced with knowledge of God, when we look to God, come godly wisdom.

Life changes and we do to. But when we learn to accept that which is in our control and leave the rest up to God, we will change for the better too. Emotional responses and irrational thinking will render unfavorable results. Wouldn’t it be easier to respond in a way that will favorably change the outcome and bring favorable results? Instead of  blowing our temper, giving up in frustration, and simply leaving it only to have it come full circle again because we really had not resolved it properly in the first place. We can choose to go to God. Make a decision with a clear mind, seek his direction, find an honorable solution when given discernment and move on, trusting God.

Every day the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. And in most cases, it starts in the mind. We are what we think and we become what we feel when we lose sight of who we are. When we allow our minds to convince us we are above all things on earth and above God and can handle everything that comes our way, we will fail because of refusal to change our mind set. We suffer the consequence even though we could have avoided it. And cause our own demise out of failure to grow spiritually and look to God for wisdom and knowledge in it.

Be willing to change your way of thinking when making decisions in life where nothing is off limits when it concerns your well-being, your health, your children, your finances, and your family. Look to the source, God, for guidance. Choose not to respond to the situation. Suffer not in your affliction. It may seem hard, too much to bear. Know that God will give you strength to endure in your suffering.

You may not understand what you are going through. Regardless what suffering may bring, keep the faith. Trust God to bring you through. In your worst circumstance, rely on God. In the worst situation, trust God. He will bring you through. God promised you.

Everything in the Bible counsels us to trust God in all things no matter the circumstance. Trust in God. Don’t look at your circumstance. “Trust overcomes fear. Trust overcomes depression. Trust overcomes hate.” (1Pe 4:19) You will walk hating everything about your life when you lose sight of God and choose not to change your way of thinking or wait.

Don’t let your circumstance allow you to fear. And cause your mind to convince you to think irrationally out of fear. Trust God in good times and bad, during rainstorms and cloudy days. Even when your money is low and your pockets are full of small change. Trust God in all things. “No matter how overwhelming the situation looks or how it makes you feel” don’t respond out of emotion. Look to God for answers to questions he will reveal (4:19). Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find (Matt 7:7). Don’t conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Ro 12:2).

Pursue knowledge of God to grow spiritually. Change your mindset that you may think clearly. Seek godly wisdom, the Word of God. Rely solely on God. Grow in Christ. Let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts and actions in reveal of the right answers in order to make the right decisions fearlessly. Have the mind of Christ.

Don’t allow your circumstances to change you. Even if your situation may not change, consider it an opportunity to allow God to change you. Your heart and mind will also change. Rely on God. You will never be the same.

Be blessed! -JD

1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (ESV)

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Pray, Stay Connected

Prayer is the pathway for a loving and working relationship with God. Through prayer, we grow in our love for him and our knowledge of God. Prayer is our direct line of ongoing communication with the Father. It never stops; nor should we. Keep the lines open between you and the Father. We are privileged. Pray without ceasing.

There may be some painful parts of your past you wish to forget. It was good you were afflicted. God allowed it that you may be blessed.

You may have been hurt by ones who walked out of your life. God allowed affliction to remove ones he knew were not meant for your destiny that no longer needed to be a part of your life. When God allows affliction, promotion will follow. Painful lessons are necessary. It’s required. You may go through some things. Life may not seem fair. Know God is with you. God’s there.
Run the race. Stand on the promises of God.  You will find deliverance. You will make it there. Trust in God.

God will supply all your needs. God knows what it is you need. Jesus tells us not to worry about the needs that God promises to supply (Matt 6:25). Don’t worry and allow it to disrupt or ruin your life.

Worry can affect your health and can consume your thoughts that will impact you negatively. It will disrupt your ability to sustain and live freely. You will become stagnated in productivity.  It can affect how you treat others. Negativity will hinder your ability to prosper.

Discern the difference between worry and genuine concern. “Worry immobilizes, but concern moves you into action (6:25).” When you know what you can do, that’s in your control, and what you are capable of doing, do it. Take action. When you know what is not in your control, what you are not capable of and cannot do, give it to God. Let him have control. Let Him do. God has all control. Do your best. Let God handle the rest.

Pain can hurt and negatively affect your life. Worry can disrupt your life. Don’t let it consume you. God is with you. The Lord will provide. God is Jehovah Jireh. He is our provider.

Prayer is the key. Faith unlocks the door. Cast all your cares upon the Lord. Don’t worry about a thing. Don’t let your past hinder you. Give it all to God. Surrender. Trust in God’s will for you.

Pray, stay connected. Talk to God all day. Release the pain that has you disconnected. Praise God, no matter your circumstance today. Give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. There’s purpose in your praise. Praise God for all he has done, what he will do, and what he is going to do!

Be blessed! –JD

Luke 18:1-8 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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Look For God In The Midst Of Your Pain

The Lord is My LightI find that as humans, we all are afflicted with something that will bring pain in some way where we will suffer be it physical, spiritual, or mental, acute, chronic, temporary, permanent, incurable, or curable.

Pain comes in many forms and can be experienced in the loss of a loved one. The effects of grief may cause failure in our ability to overcome. It can come from an injury, an illness, or a health condition where symptoms may never cease. Or from a heart that has been broken into pieces. There’s no getting around it. We are not exempt. However, some of us will give up while going through and hold contempt. Or some of us will persevere and relent, when experiencing a painful event. It’s all in who we know and whose we are. It will depend on our relationship with God.

Much like Jesus, who suffered both physically and spiritually, yet persevered. He still served.  His suffering was nothing in comparison to the price he paid when he carried our sins and died to pay the penalty for them. Yet he served. He didn’t let that stop him from fulfilling God’s plan.

One of my greatest passions is being a voice and advocating for people in pain. Yet one of the hardest challenges I face is being able to lend my efforts as I would like to. Oftentimes, giving up and losing the perseverance to stand. As such what I’ve found as a silent advocate is my message sometimes fall on deaf ears.

I know you’re saying, “It sounds like an oxymoron to be a ‘silent advocate.’” And when I look at it, it does. But what it means is, in my heart I advocate while at the same time my family helps with efforts to lend my voice that sometimes is bare minimum in comparison to what I see in most people who advocate for a cause. This is primarily because of my limitations but I still fight when I can as I can.

Did you know there are 116 million American adults that suffer from chronic pain (June 2011 IOM report), of which I am one of them.

Throughout this particular season in my life, I have encountered some of the strongest people whose plight is acutely worse than mine but I’ve witnessed their drive and tenacity to reach their God-given destiny. They’ve beaten the odds and lived to tell their story. As well as found success in spite of their situation. Sadly, I was not one of those people.

After a 9 ½ year long battle with unresolved pain issues taking its toll on me, I had come to the conclusion that my life was over. At the time, I was ready to begin a new journey after finishing grad school but found my life changed in a matter of a split second. I thought it was shattered because I had hopes and dreams and found myself giving up all because of one dramatic change. The devil is a LIAR! My God reigns!

It was in this instant I woke up to my reality as I said to God, “I know this life is not what you have in mind for me. I know this is not the life you promised would be.” I cried out to him, “Lord I know this season I’m in is only temporary. You know the burdens I carry. I know I am not here to live a substandard life. I know in my heart you have a better plan for my life. I ask that you show me what it is I can do, to make a difference and glorify you.”

I told him, “I know there are people in this world in much worse shape than I, who have stood the test of time. And if they can do it so can I. Use me Lord to do thy will. Not based on my circumstances but because of my circumstances let your will be done.”

As I turned over and mediated on my petition to God, I fell asleep and hours later, woke up with a strange urge to do something beyond my understanding not knowing how it would be accomplished. All I know is God revealed it to me and told me the pity party was over. He said, “The time has come as you asked to be used. Rejoice. This is Good News.”

“Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow. We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks build our character.”

Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

That same day I gathered all the strength I could and discussed with my sister the story I later shared with American Pain Foundation (APF) three years ago in submission of my story after completing an advocacy survey. I told my sister that after we submitted my “Share Your Story” God had given me a revelation. I wanted to help people in pain even though I wasn’t sure how it would be accomplished. My sister assured me it could happen with God and family as my source of support.

With the help of my family we took the first step as they helped put together my story “Joy” and submitted it to APF Action Network. A few weeks later I received news that my story had been accepted and would be featured on their Action Network site under Voices of People with Pain. This in turn set the foundation of my advocacy efforts. The story can also be read at http://action.painfoundation.org/site/PageNavigator/Voices_of_Pain

I was overjoyed and excited in spite of strife. God changed my life. He set the foundation for greater things to come even when I had given up and thought I was done. This is where it all started although the organization ceased last year, this is where I still am in my commitment to serve Him, as I advocate for the rights of people in pain. I am still fighting for the proclamation.

And it didn’t stop there. God showed me what great courage and perseverance will do even in times of despair. Approximately two years later I learned APF was holding a campaign called “If I Lived in a World with Less Pain, I Could…” during September Pain Awareness Month. In an effort to secure a first-ever presidential proclamation proclaiming September National Pain Awareness Month, applicants were given the choice to submit a short story or video of what their life would be like if they lived in a world with less pain.

I thought, “This would be the greatest opportunity to share with others my testimony. Not literally, but what I believe we as pain sufferers experience and are afraid to speak. So, I immediately went to God. I told him “I really want to do this. I really would like to be a voice, in way that would truly make a difference. Please God, I know you’re listening. I ask for discernment and wisdom be it your will that you may guide me to make the right decision that I may fulfill…your purpose.”

I called my sister again and told her what I desired to do but I was waiting on God for confirmation that would lead me in whatever he willed I do. God sent the answer by the time she arrived home and with the help of my family, September 2011 they created this video. I was elated. I only wanted to be a voice. God helped me overcome barriers. In his still voice, he said to me, “This will be your voice.”

The video represented my message to PRESIDENT OBAMA of what MY WORLD WITH LESS PAIN would be like. I felt it was an opportunity to bring national awareness to the “hidden” epidemic of pain (APF) so that those who suffer with pain will have a right to effective care and treatment; because “pain” is not just an individual or local problem.

It is a national healthcare crisis. It does not only affect pain sufferers but it affects families, friends, associates and anyone who is connected to its world. Even though it may not directly affect every individual; the physical, financial and emotional affects can be devastating to the pain sufferer and the families of those who will ultimately suffer. I believed with the help of a nation, we all could make a difference.

Within a matter of weeks, again to my surprise, APF chose my video the second week of the campaign and featured it on their Facebook page. I thought, “This is all God.” He is using me in spite of me to help others who suffer so their voices can be heard.

I thanked him over and over again. I know he sent this new journey in spite of my pain. I truly believe this will be the cornerstone of the new road I will travel in this “new” journey of my life. As I become a voice of reason and a voice of hope for many who suffer from pain of any type.

I say all these things to say this: Although it has been a long and hard journey towards the road to recovery, I wanted to shout to the world what God did for me. He set my soul free. I professed all my troubles to God. I spent time in prayer when things seemed hard. I surrendered my will to him. I prayed and asked Him. Much like the same as Jesus said to him, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

I will follow your example Jesus. I will persevere. I will sustain. I will pray to the Father through my trials and pain. He did it for me. He can do it for you too. Here’s my suggestion for you. Tell me what would you do?

What you say? Do you believe Jesus will make a way? Do you believe He will take all your pain away? Do you believe he will set you free? Free from a life of pain, worry, and misery. What do you believe?

Do you believe God orchestrates things with your best interest at heart? I do. His Word I will never depart. For it is this I believe. I will receive all that God has promised me. I will not get weary in well-doing. I will run and not walk. God will give me the desires of my heart.

This is my platform. God gave it to me. I will use it to encourage others to stay strong in spite of me. In spite of the diagnosis, condition, or symptoms that come. We can be the one that God will use to inspire and help someone.

Look for God in the midst of your pain. God doesn’t change. He is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever more; he reigns. We all can make a difference in the lives of others if only we believe! We can change the world if only we continue in our efforts to make a difference. And we can live life to its fullest in support of others when fighting to bring awareness that they may persevere to the next level. Be blessed! –JD

1 Peter 2:21 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”

If I Could...I Would

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