Love One Another

Happy Music Monday friends ❤

My Monday started off quiet amazing. I had a revelation that took a while to finally reach me with all the studying, reading and cramming I’ve put before God. The past few weeks I’ve had 4 papers and 3 tests to complete with an immense amount of course readings to complete, to say I was in over my head would be an understatement. But God, being who he is proved again his great love for me and allowed the friends I’ve made along the way to each serve a way in which to help me complete the growing pile of “To Do” items. These few individuals put their busy schedules on hold to help me. Love in its greatest form, the sacrifice they made to provide assitance.  One, proofreading the other providing references, while another was just an ear to my talking through my next steps. I went from sleeping only a few mere hours a night, worrying, and getting snarky with anyone who stepped in my way to being reminded of LOVE.

I was brought back to the beginning this morning with the most in depth devotion I’ve had since the start of school, where I no longer feared better using my time to finish an assignment or complete a reading. This devotion put everything into perspective, in my self-centred pursuit I was neglecting love. So as I set out to go about my day with this love that was revealed to me the events of my day went from ordinary to extraordinary.

As I left my house and entered the first stop sign I noticed a young girl standing on the sidewalk waiting for any of the impatient drivers to halt and allow her to cross but that didn’t happen so she stood there, sad in the eyes and waited. As I approached the stop sign, I stopped – for the first time in a long time I stopped, I wasn’t worried about deadlines or time but about helping another. As this young girl was passing my car she screamed out “THANK YOU” with the largest smile and a tear in her eyes. I had to hold back a few tears myself as to not spend my entire car ride looking like a big baby.

While driving I was almost hit by another car who neglected to both signal and check their blindspot before attempting to overtake the lane I was in. I gave a gentle honk to let the gentleman know the error in his ways and he made a harsh break in front of me while taking up two lanes on the highway I’m assuming to refocus. I waited while the driver went back into his original lane. As I was driving past him I looked (force of habit) and he looked over with shame in his eyes but I smiled, smiled to let him know I would not curse him or make him feel worse about his error. He smiled back and waved an apologetic wave and we both went on our way.

I continued in reaching the subway terminal to take me to school and noticed the time was escaping me as I waited in a line of other commuters to board the train. That’s when I noticed the reason for the hold up, a lady at the front of the line was having a conversation with the teller and it seemed she didn’t have the funds to continue her commute. In the usual rush of my day I would have squeezed past, showing my metro pass and been on my way, but not today. Today I walked up to the teller, asked for 5 tokens, paid and passed them to the lady. She smiled and I returned her smile with an “we’ve all been there” comment. As we boarded the train and heard there was a delay I almost silently cussed myself for allowing myself to get distracted twice from my usual routine but I didn’t, being late all of a sudden didn’t matter anymore.

As I exited the train and onto the street it was pouring so I opened my umbrella and was about to go on my way when I noticed a girl, shivering in the rain with no umbrella but a book she was using as a shield. We all know that books ain’t cheap… especially course books so I did something some might find unorthodox and offered she shared the umbrella with me. While sharing umbrellas she also shared with me her anxieties about school and I empathized and let her know this journey I was on. One where love became my new focus, not worrying or sweating the small stuff as to miss the bigger picture.

All these strange events in one day and I couldn’t help to be saddened by the reality that I’ve been missing these opportunities to show love. I was too busy focused on myself to realize the love that my commute could offer.

Now, I ask, “what does the word ‘Love’ mean to you?” Love allows us to welcome one another, be subject to one another, forgive one another, serve one another, encourage one another, comfort one another, bear one another’s burdens, admonish one another, stir up one another, and forebear one another (the list goes on).

I urge us all this week to focus on forbearing one another. Let your gratitude for how often God has shown forbearance to you – loving you despite your many sins, mistakes, and weaknesses – motivate you to give other people the room to be who they are, despite all their imperfections. Remember that we are all works in progress. Ask God to give you the humility, patience, grace and humour you need to accept people without judging them, and to encourage them to be themselves around you.

Let your love for the Lord transcend into your dealings with others.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). 

This week’s song is Oh How We Love You by United Pursuit ft. Will Reagan

Lyrics:
Father, you love us without measure
Savior, you lead us to life
Spirit, you teach us to listen,
to laugh, to love, to cry
and we feel this ache inside

Jesus, oh how we love you
Jesus, oh how we love you

There’s no other we desire
There’s no other we desire

thousands of songs have been sung
stories of loss and of love
we can’t deny this aching desire to respond

Abba, oh how we love you
You’re our hope and
you are our refuge

Biblical Unity

 

This Music Monday post will be focused on Biblical unity.

I spent (currently spending) this week in Orlando, Florida partaking of Church of God of Prophecy’s 99th International Assembly at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort & Convention Centre where over 135 nations were present. A collective whole all unified in the same building serving the same God. This week was filled with great, influential leaders but there was also another, the presence of the majestic God of the ages, the most pure spirit, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, most Holy, most absolute, most just THAT God was in the midst. Surely the presence of the Lord was in that place, I could feel his mighty power and his grace. With that it was great to receive a word from these preachers on a mission of unity, one that brought an unprecedented yet needed view on the church and unity was Pastor Greenaway as spoken about in this post.

It is amazing what God can do with any vessel that is willing to pay the price of entire consecration to him and his cause. He can use a David and Paul just as he can use a Noah and a John. Each mans work is important as we all complement each other. We are all gifts to the body of Christ. There are many more that God will save and use. People that we least expect will come in and take on leading roles, people who did not even plan to get involved get involved but it is our responsibility that they have that ability through our message of the Gospel.

In Acts the Holy Spirit was pushing the church to move beyond its borders and its narrow confines of its strictly Jewish identity and to carry the message onto the uttermost part. Similar to back then this world needs to be evangelized. Wherever the world wants it or not God will arrange for the Gospel to be expanded and for all men to hear. Sometimes it’ll take angels, visions, divine interventions and occurrences of the supernatural to change minds. This Gospel message must be preached to all nations to realize the people we thought were ineligible God has already qualified them to be participants of his grace. We cannot keep the church kosher, or Jewish, or white, or black, or Southern, or American, or English, or Caribbean or partial to any ethnic group or culture. We must do as God calls, it is still his church we are just passing through but he is the divine order and operator of this organization. It seems the church these days lack the desire to move past culture, ethnicity, and tradition to unify. What we need are bold people, those who are truly religious, devout and careful to realize the presence of God in all nations.

There is too much madness going on in the church today and it makes you wonder if we’ve lost our sense of God. To think, some want to adjust the Bible to support the rulings of the Supreme Court concerning same sex marriage as to appear modern and enlightened. In the words of Pastor Greenaway, we cannot adjust the book; the book causes us to adjust. We can’t fix the book; the book fixes us. We can’t change the book; the book changes us. We can’t judge the book; the book judges us. It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court says, there is another supreme court that is ruled by a man named Jesus. I say this not to be mean to any segment of society but it’s important to draw attention to anyone trying to take out pages of the book and the words of this prophecy. The church should fear God too much to misinterpret the word. We should fear God too much to live as we please and still call ourselves Christians. There is a way that leads to life and a way that leads to death. Some things just ain’t right! Let the church be the church. There is love in the fear of God but there must also be fear in the love of God that’s what constitutes our sanctity. We must say, “I love him too much” or “I fear him too much.” It’s too late for us to try and fit in, we don’t want to fit in we can’t fit in, the world won’t allow us to fit in. The mandate is “be not transformed by the world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds that you might prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” Romans 12:2.

What’s key is that we realize Biblical unity doesn’t mean conformity. We believe in ecumenism but not at the expense of loosing our souls and our ways. We must make adjustments to come together but we cannot come together around falsehood, the world has already done that. We must come together around the truth of God’s word. As Pastor Greenaway put it, “this is not Babylon this is Zion, the habitation of God’s place.”

In order for unity we must pray. We must pray at all times like Cornelius in Acts 10 who prayed and was heard. We must pray for Canada. We must pray for America. We must pray for Donald Trump. We must pray for Obama. We must pray for Hilary Clinton. We must pray for Paris. We must pray for Orlando. We don’t have to agree but we do have to PRAY for those not prey on those who don’t know the Lord. We must come together in prayer for that’s where great power lies. We are on a mission and that mission only works once we unify!

We cannot unify if we focus on the racial and cultural differences. God said it’s time to break down the walls, “we can no longer be divided by culture and race and nationality and politics and denominations and other superficialities” Pastor Greenaway says. Jesus is neither white conscious nor black conscious or brown conscious but he brings all to the consciousness of life and Holy living. Jesus is white and Jesus is black and Jesus is brown and Jesus is yellow and Jesus is Caribbean and Jesus is Northern and Jesus is Southern and Jesus is from the West and Jesus is from the East. Jesus made all from the same blood, black, white, yellow, brown, it doesn’t matter. ALL are welcome in the body of Christ and we, as Christians must unify despite race, culture and gender. We must be in charge of tearing down walls and keeping them down. The desire is that every nation has that fear of God for God so loves the world and if God so loves the world then we as believers must love the world including all people of the world. We as Christians cannot be racist, there’s no such thing it’s not possible that the love we should have within us is subject to colour and if it is we must re-evaluate the love within us. For this reason, we cannot be driven by race, culture or nationality in fact that’s not how the book ends. In Revelation 7:9-11 we read “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.” We read that all nationalities, all tongues (languages) stood before the throne to the same God and worshipped! We must find that very same unity. God is a big God and he expects a big church with every man, woman and race coming together to worship him.

This week’s song is I Know Who I Am by Sinach (theme song of the National Assembly 2016)

Lyrics:
We are a chosen generation
Called forth to show His excellence
All I require for life, God has given me
And I know who I am

I know who God says I am
What He says I am
Where He says I’m at
I know who I am

I’m walking in power,
I’m walking miracles
I live a life of favor,
‘Cause I know who I am

Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I know who I am

I am holy, I am righteous oh…
I am so rich, I am beautiful

I’m walking in power,
I’m walking miracles
I live a life of favor,
‘Cause I know who I am

Take a look at me, I’m a wonder
It doesn’t matter what you see now
Can you see His glory?
‘Cause I know who I am

Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I know who I am

Lord, Give Me You

Welcome to another dose of Music Monday this week is a little different so I’ll call it Makeover Monday because it involves a complete transformation.

This entry had been inspired by a very good friend of mine with whom I have gained wisdom with and have grown in Christ with who told me I’ve changed.

This person was right, my relationship with God has changed, I stopped reaching out to him and as a result my other relationships faltered. I’ve been neglecting my relationship with the Lord and as a result all my other relationships were struggling to make it past the cordial greetings.

It took this week for me to loose almost all my relationships to find Jesus there, arms open with a smile on his face for me to finally understand. My relationship with Him sets the foundations for the others.

People are relational beings. We have friends here and there, we have family members and relatives in a lot of places. We have our best friend, close friend, tight friend, our squad – you name it. Some relationships can last long – even a lifetime.

There will come a point in time where the tides or our humanity will push us to misunderstanding, arguments and disagreements. We all make mistakes and sooner or later we will disappoint. Even the closest relationships are not exempt from this – all relationships go through hard times.

And then it all boils down to a choice. “Will I choose the relationship over what has happened?”, “Will I accept the apology and overlook the offence?”, or “Will I choose to end the relationship and close the door?”

A happy ending must include an ending
Our idea of a happy ending is a never-ending, ultimately joyful relationship. But sometimes that is not what God has planned for you. If God takes away a relationship in your life do not view it as a failure on your part: it’s not you, it’s God.

Sometimes it ends because it’s not meant to be: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24) and other times it ends so it can begin again. He wants you to learn from it and make the right decisions about what has happened and then He will be the one to give the relationship back to you if He so desires.

What to do when doors are closed
I’m a very relational person. I love talking with other people and making new friends – sharing stories and insights. Sure I’ve made friends here and there but I’ve also had times where the relational door was closed and I was locked out.

Just this week my family and even one of my dearest friends told me that they were closing the door on me. It was emotionally devastating for me. I had to go through a time wherein I so desperately held onto God.

My quiet time doubled. I sought God and desperately talked with Him all the time. It was a very intimate time between God and I.

See, I had two choices. The first was to take the pride road – I could’ve focused on the closed doors, the rejection and told myself “I don’t need this anyway.” Right there and then I knew if I made this choice and walked on this road, my relationships would end and there would be no room for repair.

The second choice was to follow God’s example to, “love unconditionally.” This choice would involve a lot of humility – being already rejected and still following the choice that would glorify God and repair broken relationships takes swallowing the huge pill called pride.

Closed doors can only be just that, closed doors to the unknowing eye but I realized this week that even if doors are closed on us in relationships, God can open it up in His time and in His ways. Yes these doors appear to be locked but ultimately God holds the keys.

God can change hearts. God can open doors. Trust in Him completely. You need that relationship with Him in order to be given a true example of unconditional love to carry that into your other relationships.

For this reason it is important – PIVOTAL even that we first mend our relationship with God in order to maintain the ones he’s put in our lives. We must cry out GIVE ME YOU to the Lord.

This week’s song is Give Me You by Shana Wilson

Lyrics:
Give me You.
Everything else can wait.
Give me You.
I hope I’m not too late.

Lord, give me You.
Lord, give me You.
Lord, give me You.
Lord, give me You.

It’s me oh, Lord.
I’m on my knees.
Crying out to You.
It’s me oh, Lord I’m on my knees.
So, give me You.
Give me You..

**P.S This week was a hard one and it left me both certain and uncertain about a lot of things and it might reflect in this post so forgive me if this is not one of my bests

xo

What Does it Really Mean to Love?

This Music Monday is a special one to me, it’s the day my beautiful cousin starts her new day as a wife to a wonderful man of God so with a beautiful wedding yesterday and a new marriage today it’s only fitting to dedicate this week’s post to love.

What does it really mean to love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8King James Version (KJV)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

The question posed above is how the world likes to question love, without acknowledging the true source of love, GOD. This is the reason the growing statistics of failing marriages… God isn’t in the mix. Let’s rephrase this question, [What does it really mean to love like Christ?]. You can’t get to the wedding day, the marriage, the anniversary without loving like Christ.

Put those cosmos, magazines, and self-help books down because there’s a greater source to guarantee a prosperous love life… the Word and no I didn’t miss an L, Word not World.

5 Ways to Love like Christ:
1. Forgive: Forgiveness is a choice and not a feeling, which takes time. One of the hardest people to forgive is ourselves. When the wrongs we committed can’t be justified in our minds; our hearts hold us accountable. But Jesus has already forgiven us and if He forgives us for every sin we need to forgive ourselves so we can forgive others. Forgiving ourselves is the first step. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
2. Sacrifice: This world would love for you to believe sacrifice is the weak way out. That we must hold on to what we believe and not rest until we get what we want. This is all so wrong. Putting our own needs, desires and wants aside to focus on other people’s needs and wants is so crucial in a loving relationship. This can be as simple as allowing someone to go ahead of us in line or giving another driver room. “Therefore, I urge you, brother and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)
3. Pray: PRAYER! PRAYER! PRAYER! Can you tell that I see this as a very important step?! Praying for not only yourself but people is an act of unconditional love. Especially when praying for our enemies. “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
4. Share the good news: Christianity isn’t a secret club. It isn’t exclusive to the rich and famous. To love is to go and tell the world about Jesus! We won’t always feel comfortable or accepted; but it’s about sharing the message and hope of Jesus Christ for the purpose of reaching souls for the Kingdom of God. “He said to them, ‘Go into the entire world and preach the gospel to all creation.'” (Mark 16:15)
5. Be humble: Humility teaches us off our own minds and from holding a first place position. Being humble requires saying no to pride that wants to over-ride our “Christ-like” attitude. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

With all couples following these few steps above the worsening statistics of marriage could make a dramatic turn for the better. But, it’s not only the marriages that have a new gloss to them but the wedding itself.

The primary difference between a Christian wedding and non-Christian wedding is Christ. Christians who marry are making a commitment to Christ, as well as to each other, and that commitment should be obvious to everyone who attends the wedding. In a non-Christian wedding, the couple—particularly the bride—is usually the focal point. In a Christian wedding, Christ is the focal point as seen last night from the non-secular, non-alcohol, and prayer filled wedding.

Let us change the way we look at love, weddings, and marriage xo
This week’s song is Love by Kirk Franklin

Lyrics:
Patient love, kind love, sweet love, kind love
Patient love, kind love, sweet love, kind love
Patient love, kind love, sweet love, kind love
Patient love, kind love, sweet love, kind love

Love, a word that comes and goes
But few people really know what it means to really love somebody
Love, though the tears may fade away, I’m so glad your love will stay
‘Cause I love you and you show me, Jesus, what it really means to love

Patient love, kind love, sweet love, kind love
Patient love, kind love, sweet love, kind love

Love, a word that comes and goes
But few people really know what it means to really love somebody
Love, though the tears may fade away, I’m so glad your love will stay
‘Cause I love you and you show me, Jesus, what it really means to love

The nights that I cry, you love me
When I should have died, you love me
I’ll never know why you love me
It’s a mystery to me now I’m glad to see Jesus

When all hope was gone, you love me
You gave me a song that you love me
Now I can go on ’cause you love me
It’s a mystery to me now I’m glad that I can see Jesus

The nights that I cry, you love me
When I should have died, you love me
I’ll never know why you love me
It’s a mystery to me now I’m glad that I can see Jesus

What it really means, what it really means
What it really means to love
Patient, patient, kind, kind, that’s love, to love
Patient, patient, kind, kind, that’s love

Set-up to be set-FREE

Jesus can’t be kept down! Hallelujah

Happy EASTER Monday 🙂

If none of the previous Monday’s have proven exceptional, today should.

This Holy Weekend of Good Friday, and Easter Sunday has been amazing, what a great reminder of agape love!

Jesus was dead and buried, with a big stone rolled against the tomb, and the Pharisees came to Pilate to ask for permission to steal the stone and guard the tomb. Pilate responded, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can” (Matthew 27:65). That they did.

They gave it their best but it was hopeless then as it is hopeless today and will always be hopeless. Try as they may, Jesus cannot be kept down. They might have buried him, used physical force, academic scorn, or political harassment. For this reason they thought the tomb was sealed. But it never worked. He broke out.

It’s clear that he was able to break out freely because he wasn’t forced in. Despite what some may think, Jesus voluntarily offered his life. He knew from the very beginning he would be betrayed but that didn’t stop him from choosing Judas as one of his 12 disciples. Jesus chose Judas, “Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor” (Luke 6:16). He knows we are going to sin and be traitors but he chose us still, “He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him” (John 6:71). No one can keep him down because no one ever knocked him down. He stepped into the tomb, and when it was time he pushed the stone away so we could see what he had done. Jesus lets himself be defamed, harassed, scorned, shoved around and killed so we can meet our God in heaven.

I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again (John 10:17-18).

Let us not feel condemned by the cross, that’s not the purpose. The cross does not convict; it cares. Let not our sins or mistakes keep us from God. My wonderful youth Pastor, Stephan Wright, who I’ve quoted in previous posts put it simply; we are being set up to meet God, like the woman in John 8 who was caught in the act of adultery by the scribes and the Pharisees. The way in which she was caught, no male present and at the scene does prove a bit strange almost like she was set up. They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus. Although embarrassed and exposed her set up was made so that she could meet God. Her set up saved her. Our mistakes, our traitors, our enemies will lead us closer to Christ because our sins exposed are opportunities to meet God on another level.

Even in the dark of the tomb Jesus is at work, let us work even in the darkness of pain, misery and all that life brings.

We are part of his story, just like without Judas we couldn’t celebrate the resurrection of Christ. There is nothing we can do to avoid God. You can’t earn his love. His unconditional, DYING love is what will always keep us. There is a God in heaven who loves you not because of the good decisions but because of the bad because although we love him, he first loved us.

Ten Gifts of the Resurrection (@JohnPiper)

  1. A Savior who can never die again (Romans 6:9)
  2. Repentance (Acts 5:30-31)
  3. New birth (1 Peter 1:3)
  4. Forgiveness of sin (1 Corinthians 15:17)
  5. The Holy Spirit (Acts 2:32-33)
  6. No condemnation (Romans 8:34)
  7. Personal protection (Matthew 28:20)
  8. The Lord’s coming (Acts 17:31)
  9. Salvation (Romans 5:10)
  10. Our own resurrection (Romans 6:4)

The Lord is risen indeed!
This week’s Music Motivation is The Anthem by Planetshakers

Lyrics:
By his stripes we are healed
By his nail pierced hands we’re free
By his blood, we’re washed clean
Now we have the victory.

The power of sin is broken,
Jesus overcame it all,
He has won our freedom,
Jesus has won it all,

Chorus:
Hallelujah
You have won the victory
Hallelujah
You have won it all for me

Death could not hold you down
You are the risen king
Seated in majesty
You are the risen king

Bridge:
our god is risen,he is alive
he won the victory, he reigns on high

Falling in Love with Jesus

Happy Monday 🙂

In the Gospel passage, Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Jesus was testing Peter to see if in fact he is a rock in which the church can be built. So there is good reason Jesus asks Peter this question three times – one for each time Peter had denied him.

Today Jesus is asking, “Do you love me?” I suspect most of us are not prepared to answer that question, because we fear, if we answer honestly, what we may have to say. Many of us are not sure we love Jesus. We are not sure we even know what such a love entails.

“Do you love me?”

The question cannot be avoided. You hear of many men that successfully avoid answering this question to their mates but those in the ministry certainly cannot avoid the question.

To fall in love with Jesus is frightening. You have, I suspect, fallen in and out of love a number of times. Falling in love has the frightening effect of one’s losing control of oneself, with the result that you need up making one disastrous decision after another. So along the way we develop self-protective strategies to avoid the costs if we are again tempted to fall in love.

Yet Jesus asks you, Jesus tempts you; Jesus means to seduce you to fall in love with him – not for his sake, but for your sake and the sake of his sheep. In John’s Gospel and the passage from Acts we learn that to love the Lord requires loosing control.

Thus, to serve the Lord means to lose oneself. It will mean finding joy in the work you’ve been given. Though it is often tiresome your work is characterized by joy because we cannot imagine anything better than serving the One we love.

To love Jesus means week after week you look forward to engaging the Scripture in preparation to preach God’s word for God’s people. To love Jesus means we will suffer for Him, face judgment for Him and die for Him.

Let’s see falling in love with Jesus as the best thing we’ve ever done for in His arms we feel protected.

Let us look forward to every week with Jesus, starting with this week for He is our first love!

This week’s song is Falling in Love with Jesus by Jonathan Buttler

[Verse 1:]
Falling In Love With Jesus
Falling In Love With Jesus
Falling In Love With Jesus
Was The Best Thing I Ever, Ever Done
[Repeat]

[Verse 2:]
In His Arms I Feel Protected
In His Arms Never Disconnected (No No)
In His Arms I Feel Protected
There’s No Place I’d Rather Rather Be

The Pressure’s Off

Monday already?!

Welcome to another Music Monday 🙂

Help me change Monday’s into a day to celebrate. A new week beginning, the old week is now behind us. This Monday I want us to get rid of last week’s pressures and hold on to the truth that God is a loving God.

Right now, at this very moment, you’re walking one of two paths through life.

Either

  • You’ve decided that what you most want is within your reach, and you’re doing whatever you believe it takes to get it

Or

  • You’ve realized that what you most want is beyond your reach, and you’re trusting God for the satisfaction you seek. You want Him. Nothing less, not even His blessings will do.

If you’re walking the first path, your life is filled with pressure. On this path you see no way to step off the treadmill. You do everything you can but it’s never enough. The pressure is still there.

If you’re walking the second part, you have hope. You know with God there is no pressure and when you work side by side with Him you can rest.

No pressure. No guilt. Just love.

There’s a new way to live that takes the pressure off. Join me as together we search for it.

This week’s song is “Pressure” by Jonathan McReynolds (YES, I love him)

Lyrics:

I, I can’t even turn on my phone
Without being reminded of the lie
That I am alone and broken, unsuccessful
I, I can’t always talk to my friends
‘Cause they’ve got expectations
That I may or may not be living up to
I really need to rid myself

Of the pressure, pressure, pressure
To be someone else that the world has made
Jesus take from me
All the pressure, pressure, pressure
To be someone that you did not create

Help me be me
And only see you
Let me decrease
And glorify you

I, I thought my intentions were good
Just act like a Christian should
And hope someone watching would approve
And be inspired
But you’re not feeling my show
Then how far could I go
Before all of my accomplishment
Go down in fire

Just cause of
Of the pressure, pressure, pressure
To be someone else that the church has made
Jesus take from me
All the pressure, pressure, pressure
To be someone that you did not create

I just wanna live
I just wanna live for you
Nobody else, but you

God’s Love

Five, that’s the number of failed relationships I’ve been in. If I knew what I know now the pain of feeling unloved would have never been a determining factor for my meaningless relationships. God’s love is greater; His love is always there.

With all that’s going on in this world, from hate crimes to a changing legal system I’d like to remind us all to love. I find many of us are struggling with learning how to love as Christ does, even if it’s towards ourselves. Proverbs 17:17 convicted even myself because within this verse, it states, “a friend loves at all times” and many times we choose who to love, when to love, how to love but it’s given to us in His word. For those wondering what loving like Christ entails cited below is what the Bible has to say:

It’s sacrificial.

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

It’s forgiving.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

It’s everywhere.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11

It’s rejoiceful.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

It’s caring.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 

It’s unbiased.

Who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?” Job 34:19

It’s not partial.

“Who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?” Job 34:19

It’s merciful.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

It’s giving.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

It’s perfect.

“No one has every seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12

It’s eternal.

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:26

It’s slow to anger.

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

Therefore brethren,

I urge you all to love for it reads that, “anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). In allowing God to change our hearts love will come naturally. His outstretched arms on the cross should be a reminder of His love for us, it tells just how extensive (wide) it is.

If you’re ready, ready to start seeing the world through lenses of love read this quick prayer:

“Father God, I come into your presence so aware of my human frailty and yet overwhelmed by your love for me. I thank you that there is no human experience that I might walk through where your love cannot reach me. If I climb the highest mountain you are there and yet if I find myself in the darkest valley of my life, you are there. Teach me today to love you more. Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child. In Jesus name, Amen” (http://www.beliefnet.com/Prayers/Christian/Guidance/A-Prayer-for-Resting-in-Gods-Love.aspx#)

Peace & Love.

Dear Mirror

As babies we are fascinated with our bodies – we can all attest to admiring ourselves in the mirror or maybe just checking out our toes like “wow, there’s so many of them! And they fit in my mouth.” As children we did crazy things, riding a bike down the hill with no hands attempting to defy gravity, just having fun and not thinking much about our appearances.

Somehow on the path of growing up instead of appreciating how strong our legs are or how hard we can kick a ball we fret about how short our legs are or how they “jiggle” when we kick a ball.

Ladies and gents, it’s time we take back that mirror.

It’s time to tell the mirror we are children of the most high. We are to tell the mirror, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14)

I can say this because I’ve been there. Let me take you back a few years ago when I was eating dinner with my then boyfriend and I ordered a burger with fries, not the usual girl eating a salad combo. If anyone really knows me, they know I’m a sucker for burgers. They could possibly be the best darn food in the world, okay… maybe I’m exaggerating a little but they are pretty awesome. As the food came I wasted no time, I started on my fries because I have a weird thing about eating fries first, you may say weird I say genius haha. Once the fries were over and done I took a bite of my burger, just one bite that’s all I was able to get to when my then boyfriend made a comment about my eating habits being like a man. I was very disturbed. That’s when the waitress came over, they always have the “perfect” timing, and asked how we were enjoying everything, I told her we were ready for the bill and when she noticed my untouched burger, with the exception of the small bite, she asked if I wanted a take out container, “no” I responded. My date paid and we left. What’s crazy is that he didn’t even seem to realize what he’d just done. We went back to hang out with some friends and while there I rested my legs on his, and then he began to squeeze my legs and said “I love your chunky legs.”

I’ve always considered myself a healthy eater; I didn’t eat pork and watched my daily intake, not obsessively but well enough. I was a happy size 6. I ate out only twice a week so I saw no problem in indulging in a burger when the occasion presented itself. But, that night something had changed. The relationship ended, and thank God it did but that’s when my new obsession with weight began. I went from 3 meals a day to just 1. First it wasn’t intentional, I was just working so much early morning and late nights that by the time I got home I only had time to scrimmage a little snack before bed. That’s when the compliments came rolling through about my new look, I loved the newfound attention. I was now eating ice as a supplement for food, imagining it being a juicy burger while maintaining the one meal a day. My mother was worried, rightfully. She’d make me lunches for work and search my lunch bag when I returned to make sure it was being eaten and it was being eaten, but not by myself. She was still concerned but no longer had proof that my food wasn’t being eaten by myself so she let it go, thank God. That was what I wanted because it wasn’t like I had a problem I’d keep telling myself, I wasn’t forcing myself to vomit or binging in my room behind closed doors. I had just limited my daily intake. But that’s no different.

I’d been so busy working that I’d missed many weeks of church (this is also the time when I swore God off as previously attested to in Confessions of a Church Girl) so when my day off finally came I was dedicating it to sleeping in but my mother had different plans. She picked an outfit for me, set it on the bed and left me to get dressed. I took the outfit and laughed at her sense of style, put the outfit on and walked downstairs to meet the family for church. By the time I hit the bottom step my mother was in tears. She no longer recognized the girl that was in front of her. She brought me to the mirror and had me take a real long look at myself in the mirror. With sinking cheeks, deep collarbones, and a sunken rib piercing stomach I realized I had a problem.

From that day on I was committed to making a change. It wasn’t easy. I weighed around 100 pounds and was weak in body, but with God and my family I was able to make it out of that mess. Philippians 1 verse 12 reads: “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” This is the goal I have in mind, some may say I’m crazy and maybe they’re right. I’m crazy about Jesus; I love Him and have a goal in mind, to use my story to bring others to Him. Although you may be wondering, what does an eating disorder have to do with God, well everything. When we know we’re loved we won’t go to the extremes to make ourselves loveable, love is given… it’s free, Jesus paid the ultimate price/sacrifice we don’t have to suffer.

If you are falling into the same issue or feel pretty close remember the God loves you – because He made you. And even more because He died for us. I realized some time ago that my body was no longer just skin covering muscle covering bone but that it was a vessel and God wanted to pour His love into me so I could pour into others. We are not just physical beings. We are spiritual.

I know it’s not easy when the world tells you that you are what you eat, or what you weigh, or that you need to be more muscular. The world weights with numbers; the Lord weights with grace, and you owe Him nothing, friend. He has paid it all. He wants you to rest and trust Him. He’s got you covered.