Tag Archives: religion

No Matter What it Looks Like Before or After the Walls Come Down, Shout!

John 18Life was never meant to be easy. The road less traveled is the road you’ll later find yourself that ultimately will lead to your destiny.

Confidence in your abilities lies in awareness of your strengths and potential that comes from within. Fear and doubt are not an option.

Never question your integrity when you know in your heart you’re doing what pleases God. Don’t compromise your faith to please others. Don’t let failures, disappointments, and past pain discourage you. In preparation for the next level, God uses your past experiences to prepare and equip you.

In the battle, realize who God is. The devil is the master of confusion. He’s a liar. The truth is not in him. What God starts, he finishes. When you’re pressed on every side, don’t look back. When confused, don’t fret. The devil takes joy in knowing this. Let him know who God is.

The enemy wants you to believe your bad days were your worst. The devil’s a liar! God knows best. Your latter will be greater than your past. Put on the whole armor of God. Fight the enemy. Face whatever comes your way. Forget what happened yesterday. God brought you out. Glory!

What God says believe it. His word is truth. Don’t believe lies of the enemy. God is absolute truth. He said it. I believe it. That settles it!

God’s love is deeper than the ocean. It is wider than the sea. God loves us unconditionally. His love goes beyond infinity. It is limitless. He can move mountains. He can heal. There is nothing he can’t do. God is infinite in every way. He’s omnipresent, omnipotent. He’s limitless.

There’s an assignment on your life. Walk in your calling. Represent God. Be the light. Have the right attitude. You’re God’s representative. Make a difference. When God birth something in you, no one can stop the breakthrough!

Don’t wait until things become good and the walls come down to shout. No matter what it looks like before or after the walls come down, shout! When life gets you down and trouble is headed your way, in the midst of your circumstances, shout glory!

Be blessed! -JD

John 18:37 [ Jesus said] “…I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (NLT)

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Do You Believe in Miracles?

Foster Bible Pictures 0064-1 The Water Came on...

Foster Bible Pictures 0064-1 The Water Came on Pharaoh and His Soldiers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t believe in luck. I believe in God’s miracles. God’s miracles are above and supersede the natural. Miracles are performed by God. God’s power is supernatural.

The Bible tells us of many miraculous events. There were mountains on the side where the Israelites seemed to be stuck. God parted the Red Sea. God’s miracle stopped Pharaoh and his Egyptian army. The Israelites made it safely to the other side. The chariots and horses with Pharaoh and his Egyptian army died.

Pharaoh didn’t believe in God’s miracles. He refused to believe in God’s word and his power. His heart was hardened. God performed a miracle. The Israelites were released from bondage. They were freed. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart supplied the way for Hebrew’s Exodus. Indeed.

There was the burning bush. God told Moses to speak to the rock and water will pour out of it. Moses, even though he was disobedient, struck the rock twice and water poured from it. Jesus took two fish and five loaves of bread. More than 5,000 mouths were fed. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. What more needs to be said? This is just a small sample of the miracles God performed. I could go on and on. The Bible speaks of many. What more evidence do we need to believe in God’s miracles?

Miracles are not by chance nor by our will. God uses miracles to bring about his will. God performs miracles to meet human needs for his glory. It establishes the basis of revelation taught throughout Scripture to reveal God’s glory.

Miracles are performed by and originated from God. The most profound miracle is that of creation by God. He is above all things in creation of the world. It is by his power miracles happen in this world. He is the Creator. He makes all things possible. God is over and above all things natural.

We may not see God’s miracles performed today. That can be because we either may choose to ignore them or not believe in them anyway. God does still perform miracles every day.

God performed the greatest miracle. He sent his one and only Son. Who came to the earth as a man and died on the cross for us. The miracle of salvation is all the belief we need. Through faith in Jesus Christ; believe.

I don’t believe in luck. I believe in the miracles of the Bible. God performed wondrous works according to the Bible. Speak of miracles. Acknowledge God, not the instrument who performed the miracle. Remember, God and only God perform miracles.

Do you believe in miracles? When you think of all the miraculous events performed by God, how can you not believe in the miracles of God?

Be blessed! –JD

John 11:40-42 “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”’  41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe you sent me.” (ESV)

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Don’t Hate… Celebrate and Congratulate!

Do you ever think about why people do what they do? Why do they choose to like or not like you? Or even why do most people have hidden agendas or ulterior motives that are not in your best interest but only that which serves best for their interest? Yet, God’s agenda is for your greater good. He loves you forever, for good.

People will come and go. They will change their minds like the weather. They are fickle and fair-weathered. God doesn’t change his mind. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His Word doesn’t change. It will stand forever.

For the past few weeks, I have been in deep thought asking myself questions such as this. In response to people I have encountered who do not share the same bliss. I’m happy and content with the things God is showing me, even when trouble surrounds me. And I’ve decided I can’t let fear of the unknown rule my life, because of negativity or unforeseen circumstances that surround my life. I’m still happy because of it. I choose to be thankful as I walk in it.

I have embarked on a different chapter in my life that I never thought would happen given the circumstances I continue to face. I was so frustrated with all the work it took to get this life-long project completed and my daughter says to me, “Anything worth having will be hard.” Persevere; #‎ButGod. God has been moving me in a direction that I know is only of his doing to make my dreams and the vision he placed inside me come true. I’m grateful to God for my future. Thankful He knew.

When God puts something in your spirit instructing you to move, you can’t sleep, eat, or think until it’s done. Just as God will keep prodding you until it’s finished and done. This is where I am today, but sadly I am having trouble understanding or accepting the fact that others choose not to celebrate with me. And instead of congratulating, they are envious and are not afraid to show their true feelings to me.

But I’m not bothered by it, none other. I still love all my sisters and brothers. I thank God for those who left and didn’t believe in me. I give all glory to God, who is elevating me. Thanks to the haters from the itty bitty naysayer committee. Their doubt didn’t stop my destiny. Glory!

Now don’t get me wrong. I still am having some reservations about this entire process. There are times I find myself reflecting on the effects of the order of events. And how overwhelmed I am when trying to comprehend the depth of how I will manage to handle things. It’s a big change. God is taking me to new levels, and as such, new devils. Nonetheless, I’m excited and delighted because of it. God’s got his hands in it.

I am a woman of deep faith but sometimes I struggle with motives and agendas of others. When I share how good God has been to me in spite of trouble. I can see their response to the good news and it will show in their facial expression, their tone of voice confirming their objection. Faces that have no name, but the negativity in their words identify who they are just the same. And in most cases, their actions will bring them to shame.

I may get a little disappointed with how others choose to respond. But I refuse to let it take me off course, even when others lack the ability to celebrate my growth. All I can do is speak the truth about God. And the wonderful blessings and miracles only he can perform. The one thing I am assured of is this. God is orchestrating every event. And no matter how others may view or not embrace the change. It’s all part of God’s master plan. It’s a perfect plan from the master planner. God is handling it. I know what God has set before me and I will embrace it graciously. I thank God for the blessing.

Misery loves company. The enemy delights having you put your life on hold when trying to convince you his plan is better. Trust God. His plan is greater. Even if no one ever believes in you, believe in yourself. Don’t let the doubts of others take you off course of your assignment. God promised it. Don’t let your past dictate your fate. God knows your past. He’s the master of your fate. He’ll erase your mistakes in the past. What you do for Christ will last.

Sometimes it can be hard to understand when loved ones or those near and dear to you don’t celebrate or will ever approve of you.  But you know it is alright because God approves of you. No matter how trapped you may feel or what problems or hardships you may face. Know that God can minister to your deepest needs. Have faith. When things don’t go as you planned, it will work for the greater good according to God’s plan.

God will expose a distorted mind with the wrong motives and a hidden agenda. God’s plan cannot be thwarted. With God there is no hidden agenda. When people leave don’t ever blame yourself why they left you. It wasn’t you. Sometimes God has to move you out of a season for the best reason because he knows what is best for you.

I decided long ago much of worldly behavior is off limits to me. My mind is transformed. I don’t conform to this world. I make decision wisely. Take it from me. Promises are made to not be broken. God’s promise is his word. It’s never broken. What he says, he will do. From beginning to end he’s with you.

I’ve learned God will not bring you to it and not see you through it. It will work for the greater good even when others can’t see the good in it. Just because you’ve arrived don’t look down on others who are still traveling. We all have a river to cross while traveling. Just because you’re better, don’t minimize someone else joy or pain. You never know when you will have to go down that road of sadness to find joy again. You never know when you will have to come back to where you’ve been. When others are bitter and negative, pray for them.

There’s a time and season for everything. Events in our lives are not a coincidence. God allows everything to happen for a reason. So, when others choose not to celebrate or embrace your new beginnings. Thank them anyway because this is just the beginning.

To get something you never had, you have to go through where you’ve never been. And persevere through some things that will lead to new beginnings. Not everybody will celebrate you. Or be there when you’re going through. Some may only want to know you when God elevates you. Discern truth. Don’t get weary in well doing. Don’t give up. For in due season you will reap a harvest if you faint not. Hope in the Lord. He shall renew your strength. Trust in God. He is your refuge and strength.

And for those listening or reading this, change your mindset and your actions too.

Don’t hate… celebrate and congratulate others in the work God has called them to do.

Be blessed! -JD

1 John 3:16-18 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

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Listen To The Cry of A Silent Victim

I’m going off subject again today.
My mind’s scattered. Thoughts are all over the place.
I woke to some disturbing news the other day
And have not been able to sleep or shake it all week.
I tried to put it in the back of my mind, but something is not letting me.

It keeps surfacing in my thoughts so I must release it to clear my head.
Things like this cannot be left unsaid.

My heart is heavy laden.
An innocent teenager took his life the other day.
He sent a message on a well-known social media platform
Earlier that morning, that same day
No one paid attention.
All I could do was pray.

He posted a goodbye in the wee hours of the morning.
So it definitely was not a time during heavy traffic where it could not be noticed.
Sadly, there were many clicks on “likes” by his friends.
I’m confused. Why didn’t anyone see the warning signs then?

He seemed uneasy and restless. He blamed himself for the mess.
He apologized before whatever was planned by him to happen
Clearly during his time of distress.
He seemed unhappy, as tears welled in my eyes.
Then he ended the post and said goodbye.

My heart sank. Tears of sorrow filled my face as I cried.
It took all the strength I had to accept what I knew already happened. He died.
I know he either had parents or someone who cared about him
That could have been notified.
This child was clearly crying out for help before he took his life and died.

Social media has a massive process of notification for everything:
Mentions, promotional ads, retweets, even notice of ones who are trending.
Even more disturbing is how easy it is
For officials to track and catch potential culprits in a place like this.

But when it comes to things like this, sadly there’s no app for it.
Why isn’t there an alert to track key words of potential suicide victims?
Who may connect to lines to aid in suicide prevention?

My prayers are with this young man’s family.
My heart aches and is torn in pieces.
It hurts tremendously.
Words cannot express the sadness or pain I feel.
I pray for peace, comfort, strength; that his family may be healed.

While I cannot blame social media for the events that have occurred,
I can only hope that in the same way we use social media to spread the word.
Not only of events that matter most to us,
But place a greater significance on things such as this that should disturb us.

Not that we may find recognition or potential success.
But because it is imperative we find a way to take notice of things such as this.
In the hopes we may help save a life.
Assured it is not remiss but will help because of our sacrifice.

This child’s life may have been saved
Had someone taken responsibly and taken the time to carefully read his words
And took heed to his warning.
Instead of ignoring and acknowledging his effort by clicking “likes,”
When he silently cried out for help before ending his life.

Suicide is a serious issue oftentimes I feel we fail at recognizing; miserably.
We don’t take it seriously.
We ignore the warning signs after it’s too late.
If only someone will only listen to the cry of a silent victim before it is too late.

Let this be an example of what we can do
As a society to rightfully help potential suicide victims make it through,
In a platform that gets the most attention.
Use social media to your advantage, to get the right attention.

If we take heed to the warning signs when it comes to saving a life.
We can be the person that may help save a life.
Know that a cry out for help clearly calls for our attention.
Let social media not be just to gain potential followers,
But alert anyone that will listen.
Listen to the cry of a silent victim.

Thank you for listening. -JD

For more information on how you can help someone who may be suicidal on social media, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/Online.

God, I know you’re listening.
Please hear my prayers as I pray.
For the family and friends of those
that lost a loved one today.

Comfort them in their time of need.
Restore whatever strength they may have lost.
Help the family find peace.
Give them hope for tomorrow.
Assure them all is not lost.

God, I know the pain may be unbearable.
And it may be hard for them to overcome.
But I know you can and will help them get through this.
No matter how hard it may be for them. Let your will be done.

To be absent with the body is to be present with the Father.
Though, they will be sorely missed.
Bring the family to a place where they can receive joy in knowing this.
And understand they are in a better place and is no longer in pain.
They don’t have to cry another tear or feel sorrow ever again.

God may the family find rest in your arms.
Hold them safely in your hands.
Handle them with care.
Comfort them as only I know you can.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

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Be Thankful For The Little Things

Beckwith James Carroll Lost in Thought

Beckwith James Carroll Lost in Thought (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon hearing the news late yesterday of a loved one who went on to glory, I took it real hard. I cried and couldn’t sleep. I was lost in thought thinking how could this be? Wondering repeatedly, how could this have happened so suddenly?

We were very close. And oddly all I could think of was how we met. And learned we were closer than we expected. We met at a family home going, and she asked “What are you doing here?” I asked her the same question never once thinking we would be relatives.

Turns out she was a cousin on my father’s side of the family. And from that day on we remained in close contact. I became a part of her family. Through time, we became closer through countless encounters. But I didn’t have any idea I would grow to love this person as much as I did who was once a stranger. Stranger was the fact we worked at the same place and when I learned she was my supervisor, the look on my face… was “Priceless.”

She would give me rides to work to keep from being repeatedly late (ok…so I did have a tiny bit of an attendance problem :-)). But she kept me on my toes. She tried to protect me and my job even when I lacked wisdom to know better. It was as though I found a big sister. An angel God sent to me. And from that time on we remained true friends and cousins, indeed.

At first it was hard to cry when I received the call. But later I was drenched in tears as I began to recall all the wonderful moments we had in our life. So thankful to God I had the chance to see her during my visit home last year. It was blessing. We took pictures that I can still remember her as though nothing changed and she was still here. I had just talked about her the day before as I laughed, recollecting antics I would pull on her. Never once thinking she would be gone in just that short time. My, how we never know when it will be our time.

I woke this morning, tears still in my eyes. I will miss her tremendously but I am glad God placed her in my life. I had planned to see her when I travel home in a few days, which accounted for the reason I didn’t call a few weeks ago and wished her a happy birthday.

Although I did tell her where I knew she would see. I still felt sad because it didn’t come directly by telephone from me. However, I’m so grateful our paths crossed unexpectedly. Who would’ve thought a home going service would be a place for chance encounters. God knew…and I’m so glad I found her.

I’m grateful for the time we spent and moments we shared during her time here. I may be sad and my heart may be full, but it is to be expected, when you lose someone close and dear to you unexpectedly.

Understandably, it’s okay to feel distraught as tears well in your eyes. The beautiful blessing is when you can come to terms with it and accept it as you realize. They may be gone but are in a better place. Be thankful they are no longer in pain bearing heavy burdens in this place.

They are no longer suffering or will ever have to suffer again. The weight of the world have been lifted off their shoulders and they are no longer in pain. They no longer have to deal with the complexities or hardships of the world, but are in a better place with not a care or worry in the world.

It feels strange and while I am lost in thought from the events of yesterday. This is where I am today. It may be hard to take her passing away but I thank God, because my heart tells me she is in a better place. Although I may never see her face again, in my heart the love I have for her will remain the same…forever. I won’t say goodbye. I pray your soul rest in eternal peace until we meet again when it’s my time.

Time waits for no one. Yet I say, “Be grateful for the life you’ve been given. Thank God for what he allowed you to do with what you had while in it.” Be thankful for life lessons that were not happenstance encounters. It was all for a reason. Appreciate the blessings that abounded.

The time will come when life will come to an end for each one of us. Live life to the fullest until the time comes.  Be prepared for when it does. Don’t hold any regrets for what you may not have done. Or the life you’ve lived. Rejoice knowing you did your best to live as God desired you live. We don’t know the day or hour when our time will come. Appreciate the time God allowed you to stay. Cherish every moment of the day.

Give me my flowers while I’m here. Because when I’m gone I will no longer be able to smell or feel them. With every encounter, do your best to be loving and kind. Treasure still moments that travel through space and time. Cherish every memory of time spent with others. Remember them along the road you’ve traveled in the journey and how you blessed one another. Encourage and love all your sisters and brothers. Tell someone you love them today. Share a smile. It may change a life. And will go a long ways.

Be thankful for the little things.

Be blessed! -JD

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

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Train Up A Child

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be blessed! –JD

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

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Life Is A Mystery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be blessed! -JD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be blessed! –JD

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

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Look for the “Test” in Everything

Good and Evil

Good and Evil (Photo credit: WELS.net)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look for the “test” in everything.

Be blessed! –JD

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

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Will You Cry About It or Pray About It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God will never allow you to be tested beyond what you can bear. No trial or tribulation will precede you that he will not give you the strength to endure. For, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

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

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

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

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

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

Be blessed! -JD

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

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What Instruction Manual Are You Following?

One day while watching someone put together an item they purchased, I thought about how there are many things we acquire for personal use that will come with step-by-step instructions we are to follow that will result in a finished product.

This in turn started the wheels turning in my head as I began to compare this with life and instructions God provides that we are to follow to live a fulfilled, abundant life.

I began to think about my experiences and realized that with every encounter in life, we can interpret it as an analogy to what we are to do according to what God instructs. Much like a road map, we are to adhere to every direction so as not to get lost.

When you think of instructions that come with any item, you will notice it comes with a step-by-step process along with illustrations to depict what the product will look like once it is completed.

Oftentimes, if you’re anything like me, many of us will look at the instructions and feel by looking at the picture, believe in our mind we can put it together without following the instructions.

Basically, we are convinced we can bypass steps in order to finish what we think “we” alone can do. However in doing so, we will miss important steps that will result in an unfinished product. As is the same with life experiences and the manner in which we are to live according to God’s instructions.

It is not until we start putting it all together and come to the realization that we messed up because we missed one very important step, resulting in error. Or what I like to call trial and error. As a result, we have to start over again and try to find the step we missed before it can actually be completed correctly.

Sounds familiar? Much like what we do when making a mess of our life based on decisions “we” think are best and find ourselves faced with consequences we suffer as a result of our own doing.

While it may be easy to think we don’t have to follow instructions for righteous living and accept the fact that everything will be grand, only to live at our own risk and suffer at our own expense. It can be that much easier to believe, on the contrary, that instructions are necessary to sustain and avoid unnecessary time wasted and senseless suffering if only we would take the time to read what has been given to us for free; The Bible.

When we don’t follow instructions from things we purchase that are carefully put together for our own use, free of charge, we should not be surprised when the project cannot be completed properly. Which leads me to ask, “How then can we expect to become the finished product of what God has designed us to be if we fail to follow instructions He provide to us for free?” What instruction manual are you following?

The answer is relatively simple. The Bible literally is our instruction manual. And should be one you are following continually.

God gives us detailed instructions that we may live as he intended. He sets the blueprint we are to follow to find success in our endeavors. His wisdom is never-ending. His instructions will guide and lead us in the right direction. Simply put, the Bible is essential to live by. It’s for our protection.

And it does not require much effort on our part. All it takes is setting time aside making God the priority by reading, meditating, studying, and following his Word. As you work to move towards application.

As you study, work to apply Biblical principles to your life situations. As you read, learn lessons from principles embedded in passages. As you follow, apply what you learn by doing as God commands.

The Bible is our instruction manual. Use it wisely. Study it carefully. Abide by it diligently and obediently. Follow the instructions God have set before you that you may live life abundantly.

Be blessed! -JD

Matthew 17:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

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Death And Life Are In The Power of The Tongue

I stumbled upon this article the other day on my tablet and out of my curiosity because of the title that peaked my interest; I decided I would read it.

http://thegrio.com/2013/03/11/fox-news-guest-receives-rape-death-threats-following-gun-segment/

17.-Encourage-sunsetWhile reading, I couldn’t help but feel the depth of my soul being torn into pieces as I tried my best not to let tears run from my eyes, not criticize, nor place judgment on ones mentioned in the article that were making such brutal statements as well as threats to a woman who clearly was a victim not by her choice.

It took great effort on my part to keep my mouth shut and think before I comment or make any statements so as not to offend anyone or come out of character.

Not to mention after watching the video on guns and rape, I got an immediate headache but couldn’t say a thing because it was another issue I didn’t have time to address.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”And if we are not careful, words can be a death sentence to some unsuspecting soul who undoubtedly did not ask for the humiliation, disrespect, or harsh judgment at their expense.

For those that know me know I am against gun violence and am a strong opponent of various gun control/gun violence laws. And whenever I read or hear anything that addresses the issue of guns, I feel compelled to speak out.

While I have expressed my views in the past, I don’t have time to reiterate my views on the subject matter in creation of this post.

What I will say though is, I must agree with the young lady in this video segment that “Giving every woman a gun is not rape prevention.” I believe guns will not prevent rape or violence. They will do the opposite and increase more violence. And I will leave it at that.

There are a million things I can say right now, but the only thing I wish to state here is this:

There are people in this world that can be so cruel without thinking about the impact their words have on others and oftentimes, don’t even care what it does to the person’s self-esteem, let alone their character. Then I ask, “How?” “How can someone be of this nature and not have an ounce of empathy or respect for people who are victims at no fault of their own?” But find it okay to tear them down instead of build them up? I don’t understand. Am I missing something?

I had to take a moment to express my thought about people who I find, either, do not have a heart or are just mean-spirited without a clue. Who most likely need help or are hiding some deep-rooted issue they are oblivious to. It is so sad.

It saddens me when I hear people speak about their experiences of abuse of any kind or victims of rape who survived and are now courageous enough to speak about how it literally destroyed and/or changed their lives. All while trying to pick up the pieces to find some normalcy as a result of the traumatic event. As such, I commend them because I believe they are victors, not victims of their circumstances. They overcame. They survived to tell about it.

I also get perturbed when I hear people making unwise statements like this, “They deserved it.” “They were asking for it.” “It was her fault.” Again, I ask, “Really?” Why would any person believe it is okay to say things like this without questioning their own integrity?

My thought: We all at some point will encounter some form of abuse, be it physically, mentally, verbally, even spiritually. And while many of us may never know what its like to be the victim of rape, keep in mind that it can happen to anyone. But let’s be clear…. it is never the victim’s fault.

We must be careful with our words and what we choose to say to people or about others. We all have a cross to bear and should never minimize what others are going through or what they have to deal with. We don’t know what burdens they bear or how they are managing to get through the unpleasant situation.

We all are a victim to something in this life and we all will have a cross to bear. But what we must realize is, just as it can happen to them, there may come a time when it can happen to someone you may know or love. Don’t be so quick to judge.

Please be careful with your words. Let your actions be an indication of not who you are but who you desire to be in the lives of others; a blessing and not a curse. Don’t tear down, but build up. Don’t bring hurt or harm, but protect.

Jesus did. Why can’t you?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Choose your words wisely.

Be blessed! –JD

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

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Why Is A Virtuous Woman The Ideal Woman?

Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the ideal woman who we mistakenly. Think is a woman who is, servile, completely domestic, and retiring. Oh… How untrue. The Bible says a virtuous woman is one who, is of strong character and great wisdom. She is an excellent wife and mother who care for her husband and children. She is a woman of great strength and dignity. She is a woman with integrity.

I couldn’t help but share my thoughts on this ideal woman because it is a good example of what we should strive for, to be, the ideal woman we all can be. As we have reverence of God and live for him daily.

So to answer the question, “Why is a virtuous woman the ideal woman?” Here’s my belief on why I believe. What the Bible tells me.

A virtuous woman exemplifies elegance, grace. She’s a woman of character. She knows her place. She’s confident of her worth; Far more than rubies. A virtuous woman is far beyond her years in wisdom. It’s not about her physical appearance but what’s in her heart. A heart filled with a reverence for God.

She’s described in Proverbs as a woman with outstanding abilities. She may not be one woman, but a composite portrait of ideal womanhood. She’s a woman of many skills. Not to please others but to fulfill…the commands of God. She’s a wife and a mother. She has a love and compassion for others.

She lives for her home and family. She cares about those in need. She’s self-disciplined. Her tastes are exquisite. She’s refined. She’s one of a kind.

She manifests the grace of hospitality. She’s orderly. She ranks highest in all her deeds. She’s the epitome of a woman of virtue and dignity.

She is a woman that we mustn’t imitate but instead be one who demonstrates. The inspiration that we may be, all we can be; phenomenally.

She is virtuous not based on her appearance or what she does. She is virtuous because of her strength of character. She fears the Lord. She is ideal. Simply based on the role she fulfills.

We can’t be just like her, but we definitely can learn from her. Exude integrity, strength, and dignity. Live for your home and family. Be self-disciplined and orderly.

Let the Word of God serve as an example of who we must strive to be. Much like the woman in Proverbs who is all God made her to be. She’s a virtuous woman, wife, and mother. She serves God by serving others. We can all learn from her as we help one another.

Sacrifice for the sake of others. Have their best interest at heart. Be godly. Serve with compassion from the heart. Be a beacon of light. Let the love of God shine through. In the eyes of others who see you. Be the virtuous woman God designed you to be. Be of noble character and integrity.

An ideal woman, A virtuous woman, Indeed.

Proverbs 31:10-12 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

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Affirmation is God’s Confirmation

Rejoice in the Lord. God created us in his image. Our souls reflect his intentions. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. It cannot be refuted. Act responsibly. Embrace your uniqueness.

Say Amen! It’s God’s saying, “It is done.” It is his  promise to us. It is a declaration of Affirmation. Of what’s to come.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Therefore, I urge you… Appreciate what God has given you. Rebuke negativity. He’ll see you through.

Accentuate the positive. Affirm the obvious. When you consider all things that may come your way. Know the audience you may encounter every day.

Acceptance isn’t necessary to feel like you belong. It isn’t required when someone doesn’t feel you fit it with the norm. Who says you have to be accepted to feel worthy of others? God says love all your sisters and brothers. Your basis for acceptance shouldn’t be based on whether people accept you. But rather, based on the fact that God accepts you. Be it broken or wounded spiritually. God accepts you unconditionally.

Alone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re all by yourself. You can be alone and be content with yourself. As long as you got Jesus, that’s more than enough. As long as you have a relationship with God you’re not alone when the road gets rough. God is all you need. Alone with him is time well spent indeed.

Acknowledge the right to be who you are. Aspire to be who God says you are. Approval of others doesn’t make you a superstar. You don’t need others to like or approve of you. Absolute faith in a higher power will acknowledge God’s strength in you.

Available in your service to God is all you need to be. Serve in your assignment to meet the needs of the people. Of a dying nation who are lost without God. Pray for them. Walk in your anointing and bring others to Him.

Able is what God is to me. He will do exceeding and abundantly. Above all we could ever ask or hope for. Praise the Lord! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Honor him in praise. He reigns.

These are words I chose today to motivate you. That affirms your confidence in God’s protection for you. This is an expression of who you are to the one that will matter to you. We are children of God. Our covenant is with Him. We are not alone but accepted by Him. To do the will he predestined and preplanned for our life. Approval by God is the only binding spirit that should apply in all aspects of your life. When you put God first in all you do. Accentuate the positive and he will carry you through.

The gospel is for everyone. Be who God has designed you to be. You are made fearfully, wonderfully, and uniquely. God will lead you at the appointed time, to share the Good News universally amongst all mankind. Embrace your uniqueness. God’s affirmation will confirm His truth. You can be all that you can be in Christ Jesus, for he is the one God sent for you. In order you may have everlasting life. Live not for others, but live for Christ.

All hope is not gone. Look to God. He will never leave you alone. Give God proper due because he will provide for you. Jesus is the Son of God. Believe in the one who he has sent. He will reward you for your faithfulness.

Remember. Others can’t define you. God already has. What you do for Christ will last. Be who God created you to be. By His grace, in Christ, live abundantly. Appreciate God’s creation in admiration. Affirmation is God’s confirmation.

Be blessed! -JD

2 Timothy 1:12 “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

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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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Please Excuse Me For Being A Parent

I apologize for the unintentional, possibly overbearing thoughts I share on the subject of mothers and children. But out of my compassion and concern for parents like myself, I can’t help but speak on the issue I find myself constantly encountering when I speak to other parents as well as what I see within the environment I exist. Please excuse me for being a parent.

It saddens me and shatters my heart to pieces when I hear about the treatment mothers experience from their children. Mothers, regardless of what they’ve done or didn’t do or who they are, they don’t deserve to be neglected, unaccepted, or disrespected. Please excuse me for being a parent.

I hear too many stories about how children choose to ignore, criticize and even disassociate themselves from their parents out of their stubbornness and foolish pride. Oftentimes I see children of today’s generation who lack respect, honor, and value for their parents. There is a great disregard for the role a mother plays in their lives as shown by the way they manipulate, humiliate, abuse, and take them for granted.

God used mothers as angels in the giving of life. We are to nurture, guide and protect our children. No matter what we may be faced with, and I know from experience we have our own struggles, we do our best to console the emotional state of mind our children will experience and not control the decisions they will make. It is never our intention to hurt or harm. So please excuse us for our prayers to keep you safe in God’s arms.

When children see us they think we are invincible. Yet they don’t realize our lives aren’t simple either. We carry heavy burdens when we observe our children’s lives not going the way we would hope. We ache inside our hearts when disappointment or a travesty occurs. Please excuse the attention we give that you feel you may not deserve.

We become consumed with a desire to help even if it’s only to share an encouraging word, constructive criticism or a thought that may bring healing. We try our best to do this in love. Sometimes we fail miserably but it’s never intentional. We make mistakes. We are human too. Please excuse us for caring about you.

We hurt, we heal. We get torn down but we stand the test of time. We go through a lot but we are survivors. As Christians, we are more than conquerors as the Bible tells us, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37. And it is because of him we live.

This in turn led me to think when someone asked me, “If you could turn back the hands of time would you do things differently?” I answered “Yes, there are some things I would change.” Then they said, “But how would you know you were doing it differently if you didn’t know what it was you were doing?” Me: “You’re absolutely correct” because life isn’t that simple.

We wouldn’t be able to do things differently if we relived our life because we wouldn’t know what to expect since we haven’t lived it yet. We still would be inexperienced with not a clue as to what life would entail. We would have to live and then learn from our experiences. And with the help of God, we will make it to the point we, as mothers, are now. Please excuse our diligence in seeking God because you may not know how.

Much like our children who are in the same place we once found ourselves. The only difference is we have lived the life they are now going through which in essence is a blessing. And they don’t even know it. Please excuse us for trying to be a blessing.

We are born, we live, and then we die. We learn to relinquish foolish pride as we go through life. As we learn to live. Then we learn to share what we’ve learned with our children who will now live the life we once lived. Excuse our innate nature to only want what’s best for you. Please excuse the unconditional love we have for you.

I hope that this will be my final thoughts on the subject but I know with life and children ever evolving, it probably won’t. But I hope that one day when children talk or react to their mothers, they are careful in what they do or say, because we are not promised the next hour or the next day. Please excuse our tenacity as God makes a way. As he listens to our prayers and you are given another chance that day.

We all are here on borrowed time. Learn to treat your parents with love. Learn to be kind. Thank God, for letting your mother stay. That they may guide you on the way, to wherever it is you may be going. As each day God gives you breath to see a new dawning.

Mothers are a treasured memory. Honor them today and every day. Remember if it weren’t for them you would not be a part of that memory if God hadn’t let you stay.

Please excuse us for being parents with a heart filled with love. Please excuse the manner in which we love… you. We are here to guide you. Don’t ever take for granted our kindness for weakness when we do… the very best we can to make life easier for you.

Be blessed! –JD

2 Corinthians 10:12-14 “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we shall be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,

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If You Believe

When you see a person with a smile on their face every day even in times of despair, it’s the measure of their faith in God that works within.

When you see a person who constantly has love in their hearts and encouragement for others, it is the love of God that resides in their heart.

No matter the circumstance, their hope is in the Lord. Not in what you see, but in what they believe. They have faith the size of a mustard seed.

They trust God completely with everything. Their confidence shows in the blessing God brings. For they know nothing’s too hard for God. They are hopeful in the Lord.

This is the attitude we should have every day. Regardless, of what comes what may. Our love will show in all we do. The love of God will shine through. And we too can bear fruit.

The branch cannot bear fruit in itself, unless it abides in the vine. It is divine. Jesus is the vine. We are the fruit. Abide in him and he will abide in you.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is in the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

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Be An Example

We see many examples throughout Scripture of the Bible where God repeats himself over and over. He may say a lot of things in certain places. And he may say little things in other places. But what I find interesting is how He presents things in certain sets of numbers; particularly my inquisitiveness in the number three.

Do you ever notice how the Bible illustrates several places where God denotes things in “threes?” Better yet, how he says things over and over with different events in different parts of different people lives? It’s as though there’s something he’s trying to say even though the characters in Scripture change. Yet His Word doesn’t. It stays the same. It is complete.

Can’t help but wonder, is there a reason why God does this? Is there something we need to pay attention to? Yes. And Yes.

There are many examples I can reference but because there are too many to narrow down to list, if we were to take a look at small sample, what do you think it will tell us?

What significance do you think it will bear? Do you think the little things will outweigh the bigger things we see there?

For example:

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

  • On the third day the earth was created (Gen 1:13)
  • During the next three days, God filled the earth with living beings (Gen 1:2)
  • On the third day Jesus rose again (1Cor 15:4)

The word of the Lord came to Isaiah, “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, I will heal you.

  •  ‘On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you from this city from the hands of the king of Assyria…’ ” (2Kings 20:5-6)

And then there’s the knowledge of who God is. We know God is one person manifested as three divine persons. He is the Triune God. He is “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus’ words affirm it in Matthew 28:19.

  • Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19).

This is the spoken word of God.  And when God repeats himself, we are to TAKE NOTICE because it is IMPORTANT.

Now does it mean a lot of what God says, we are to internalize to change the behavior or does it mean a little of what He says, we must adhere to? In my opinion we are to do both because both are important in order to bring glory to God.

This is what I find to be true. I believe all things in the Bible, whether big or small, is significant. However, as it relates to the number three, this is my interpretation. Three symbolizes the will of God. The number three is God’s completion. When God repeats himself, there’s something he wants us to get. When God notes something in three, it is his final say. It’s done.

As such, when we speak of God, I find sometimes when sharing the Gospel, people tend to say a whole lot about God without saying enough about Him. It can be meaningless if we fail to edify the Body of Christ.

And then there are times when some say very little, but the meaning in their message can say a whole lot when it transforms lives.

Then does this mean we should say a lot or should we say a little? Well, in my opinion, we can do both as long it serves the right purpose; to lead others to Christ.

I am a very detailed person. When I speak it’s like recalling times when writing term papers in college that began with a thesis statement, the body, and drawing a conclusion. Mildly put, “I’m longwinded.” And if you notice, it is in threes.

Many times I have a lot to say but need to start from the beginning before getting to the point of the matter. Much like what I do here.

And then there are times when I have very little to say but the message is of great significance especially when I share the Good News about Jesus Christ in the hopes of leading someone to a life with him.

I’ve learned many times we don’t need to say a lot to profess our knowledge of God or to share a word about his truth. Oftentimes I feel as though it can be done in three simple words, “God loves you. God is love.”

We can demonstrate God’s attributes in three words, “God is omnipresent. God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is Sovereign.”

And when we simply want to assure someone of God’s love, his provision, his protection, and who he is, we can tell them in four words, “God cares for you. God will bless you. God is Jehovah Jireh. He is your provider. God is Jehovah Nissi. He is your banner. God is El Shaddai. He is God Almighty.”

We can use five words as the undisputed truth of who is God. I believe this sends the greatest message. God is “I AM that I AM.”

Needless to say, I can go on and on about numbers but what I want you to know, whether we speak a little or we speak a lot about God, when we share the message about Him, we are to make it clear. It must be the truth.

It doesn’t matter how much we say. But what will matter is what we say. Because on any given day, his message can mean something entirely different depending where your life is at that moment on that day. So whatever he says is for a reason. We can’t minimize why he says what he do. We must adhere to the lesson. The lesson he’s trying to send to you.

Remember there are countless times when Jesus says, “Verily, Verily” or “I tell you the truth” in the Bible. They were small words that held great significance. He spoke truth. His words were fact.

Much like us, when we speak about God, tell the truth. Saying a little can mean a lot. And saying a lot can sometimes mean a little. It’s all in how you use your words to tell the story.

As you share your message with the world, don’t worry about big or small. But rather concentrate on how you can honor God with your thoughts. Be an example. Have the mind of Christ. Be like-minded and be the light as you lead others to Christ.

When you produce what it is you want to say, make this your declaration that day and every day:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Be blessed! -JD

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What About The Children?

I heard someone say, “When children are young, they love us. When they become adults, they judge us.”

As parents, we make mistakes but we should not be held responsible for them the rest of our lives. I believe, no matter what, this is what children must adhere to.

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

“This is the first commandment with a promised attached. To honor your parents is to speak well of them and politely to them. To act in a way that shows them courtesy and respect (but not to obey them if this means disobedience to God). Follow their teachings and example of putting God first. Parents have a special place in God’s sight. Even those who find it difficult to get along with their parents are still commanded to honor them” (LASB – notes Exodus 20:12).

And this is what we must remind ourselves of every day even when they grow old, become adults and move away; because one day we will be grandparents to, our children’s children we are to guide too.

Children are blessings.
They are precious gifts sent from God above.
Cherish their presence.
They are for us to nurture and love.

Remember it is up to you.
Make your child’s life worth living.
Lead by example in the things you do.

Lead them in the right path.
Influence them in the right ways.
And they will remember it all their days.

Teach your child to follow God’s commands and laws.
We must not withhold it but discipline them in love.

Even though it may seem unpleasant
Let the punishment fit the crime in their defense.
Administer it to commensurate with the offense.

They may stray from the Word as they get older.
But your guidance at some point will carry them over.
They will have no choice but to come back to it.
The very thing of God you imparted them with.

No matter how young or old, direct them to God.
Teach them about God and his truth.
Teach them how to obey and follow his rules.

God instructs us how to discipline.
The Bible says it is what we are required to do.
We are to impart God’s wisdom and truth.

We have a responsibility to one another to approach in love.
Children are to respect and love their parents in spite of.
They are to honor in spite of unfairness.
We are to care and love them in spite of disobedience.

Remember, children are God’s reward.
They are precious gifts sent from God above.
Savor every moment that you can.
Cherish and embrace them.
Put their lives in God’s hands.

My 6 year old grandson said “We all have guardian angels. They take care of us and they actually watch whatever we do. And they go to their guardian place to protect us because they are right behind us regardless whether we are good or bad. They are our guardian angels.” He is a wise young man. In the words of a proud grandmother, I say “Amen.”

Children are wise beings and are very sensitive to their surroundings. They can sense when something is amiss. They are sensitive to negative bias. And can be influenced by it. Foster an environment that influences positive, not negative, behavior. It can lay the foundation for positive or negative development in a child sooner or later.

Make it “About the Children.”

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

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With Opportunity Comes Accountability

I notice with every encounter I experience, God presents an opportunity to do his will. I find the minute I connect with someone, my mind begins to fill with thoughts of what I can do to be a blessing. Better yet, what can I do to glorify God.

We are vessels of Christ to be used for God’s purpose. We are here to serve a purpose. We all have a gift to share with the world. In any given situation, the best thing we can do is look for God in it. Our mindset will be like the mind of Christ. God will influence our behavior. 1 Cor 2:16

“The sanctified mind discerns the real beauties of holiness, but the power of discerning and judging about common and natural things is not lost. But the carnal man is a stranger to the principles, and pleasures, and actings of the Divine life. The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will.” http://mhc.biblecommenter.com/1_corinthians/2.htm

When trials come, take it as a divine intervention where God is protecting and pruning you for the promise. It may not be what you want it to be but it will be what God has designed it to be. It will work for the greater good.

“And we know that alll things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” Romans 8:28-29

To believe in God’s provision is to trust he will provide no matter the circumstance. God works on your behalf even when you can’t see him in it. All things will work out for your good. Trust him. Believe in his Word.

We can use failure, obstacles, and even successes to impart wisdom and knowledge. We can use circumstances to bear witness to others of God’s mercy and grace.

Let every encounter be an opportunity to be held accountable to God’s standards as you impart God’s wisdom to others. For it is God’s wisdom we are gifted with. And it is God’s wisdom that is the answer to life’s circumstances.  Be a witness. Allow God’s Word to guide you.

God’s wisdom is infinite. It is available to you. Let it drive your thoughts, your actions, and all that you do. Use every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. After all, we are all sisters and brothers… in Christ Jesus.

Be blessed! -JD

James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

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